Twelve days till the vernal equinox. I think. The light's coming back. It's been about a year since I quit smoking. Still several inches of snow on the ground but I dreamed last night of a flowering plum, an erupting column of small pink blossoms. Goldfinches this morning were still stripping seeds from last year's Agastache foeniculum, which always makes me glad I don't give-in to the pressure to "clean-up" everything in the fall. In any case, as always, I find myself moving very slowly. In thinking about latent heat and lingering summer sun versus the fleeting and reflected light of late winter despite the same day length, I remembered scratching out the following journal bits last fall. Since I last posted in September, it seemed appropriate to pick up there.
Here I am, a stick of incense, Tara, good stuff, bouncing between my lips. You do strange things after you quit smoking. I admit it’s been a while—6 months!--but I would still kill you and your sister’s chinchilla for a guilt free smoke.
This fall, the light is the thing. Shouldn’t be yet--it isn’t fall, but the low angles know. There is a way to worship light, with closed eyes and cold feet, stars bursting on retinas. With wet, shining black stones, bluegill farts and first cups of coffee, weathered, first-cut lumber and fish shadows. Long shadows of ash handles, wheelbarrows and the legs of a child, their slightly darker, gray silhouettes over gray gravel crunching, rolled sock tops and bowl cuts, there in the light it will be burned forever. The thin, long shadow of my brother, purposeful in jerky human gait along that pea gravel driveway. Watching the glow from behind the blood veil.
Being pushed by this low angle light, bent over and forced close to the earth. There's that sense of stretching out, of grinning, feeling the whole infinite spread of Earth. The sudden, tattered vent feathers of a chipping sparrow, filtering the sky. It is the fall light and the butterflies have gone. It is the time of tiny birds, the fast hot, searing hot hearts, the three toes and the goofy beats, it is time for them to move on. I love it, don’t get me wrong. It is the light of wheat-sheaf Jesus and assorted martyrs, of mothers and manna--heaven-based bake-sales raising money for new harp strings. This is the light from which her neck hairs were woven. The cave light. The light in the womb of no beginning. The pressed curls and nostalgic dew, suddenly rising heat revealed in the sun. But, this too is just the light of a disinterested sun. The light of a gaseous body so far away, it strikes us at a funny angle from time to time and masquerades as God. I do wonder sometimes what was our first God. What was the first concrete abstract worship we committed? Would it have been tipping our face to warmth or smelling the quick-green rush of Earth? Would it have been a full belly or blood-filled loins? I don't know, but I wonder a lot, when it was and what we were loving more than ourselves or if it was just ourselves we've been loving all along. Don't know.
I have a problem with the present, I know. I have a problem. I wonder sometimes if this nostalgic malaise, if this love of things I have known might prove fatal.
That’s the danger, I guess, the danger in knowing, the danger in loving. It might kill you. How will you move on, how can you? You leave behind mysterious pink organs unknown to science. You leave behind honeycombs woven of fish scales shining in dust and draped in daisy chains of cracked coffee cups. You are a blue tile sunrise alive with yellow powder, sweet jasmine powder and lime green polyester, and purple vinyl shoes, too tight, and there again, it was almost fatal. Here comes the earth and here comes the quake and, less distantly, here comes the hot smoke of incense in my eye.
The things I’m in love with are legion. My god, I can’t count the colors and the herbs and the wrinkled petals of crepe, the chevroned grasshopper legs and the soul-chaffed wood and the eucalyptus smoke and the lines that anchor your eyes. What am I supposed to do with the wet wool and the snail slime and the thrilling underside of a displaced alley brick? I even love that hair on your coat from the cat I’ve never met, and how couldn’t I love you for it, and I haven't even met you but I love the bend of your teeth in your sudden smile and bark of a laugh. That’s the steel, the stone, the silly girders. My world and its slightly unconventional building code, its everlasting bricks. All tumbled in a heap.
So much for random thoughts from last fall. I want to look forward to Spring, but this year it feels like waking up before you've had enough sleep and you know you're going to be too fucking tired to do anything well. Anyway, we'll see.