Monday, April 18, 2016

The Block (On Writing)

The way forward's been dark for some time.

Many years ago, back when I had faith in things unseen, I had a dream in three parts. (I thought then it was a dream about wandering in the desert, judged aberrant, unworthy, and that God would find me after years of thirst to take me to the promised land.)

First, a dream-baby. I ran with her through a desert gouged by deep holes. I kept dropping her, over and over, as I ran from something unseen.

Then, a kite festival. We flew wind-borne men, not paper and string, in joyful colors -- sinew and skin stretched over a latticework of bone.

Finally, I stood surrounded by darkness. A wind picked up that tore away everything I held dear. My family, friends, pets, job, money, home, jewelry, clothes. It ripped away my driver's license and social security card, my birth certificate, my wedding ring, my name. I lay naked and curled at the bottom of the dark for a long time.

Meanwhile, the world went on.

Still, something called to me, winging silent through the dark. I followed, lonely and faithless.

This lasted almost two years.

What I didn't know was that by listening and moving, just one foot in front of the other, laboriously, I was walking the faithway into myself.

And one day I sat in front of a blank page, cursor blinking, and I wrote:

[allow it to suck. Here, words. Now, words. Go ahead and suck....]

And the next day I sat in front of a blank page, cursor blinking, and I wrote:

[What is the point? Magic. Lightness of being. The sound of dancing, spinning, singing at the sky. Flow. That's the point. Is this hard? So breathe. What is the point? Enjoying the movement and flow. The sound of the keys going, the music of them. The feel of the story scrolling out under your fingertips, like a dance. So what is success here? It's the feel of the dance, and you've already entered it. You've already succeeded, you're breathing and feeling the sound of the breath in your nostrils and the words in your head. So try hard. Dance hard. That is success. And if you fall? IF YOU FALL you fall. And you've tried hard and you've felt the dance in your fingertips. Kiss them. They get you fucking far, lover-creator-mine. You are amazing.]

And the day after that?

I looked back and saw the Block, how big it was, and how far it was behind me.

Yours (still walking away),


Monday, December 28, 2015

Gracie, kitten and old lady cat, photo taken 6 days before her death

Gracie died today of complete and acute kidney failure. Eric went with me to euthanize her. I cherish that kindness. She drank pond water, the last thing she wanted, she craved it, stumbled for it around midnight in a blind rush, head first, on wobbly, failing legs. The only thing she'd drink. She loved flopping on the concrete walkway. She loved sunlight and tall grass and chasing treats when she was not generally being a sofa lump, as cats tend to do. She loved best in all the world just being held. She was always greedy and overweight. She charmed even dog folk. She was a zealous purrer. She purred hard for 15.5 years. She moved homes 10 times. She bullied dogs and loathed cats. She loved me, or whatever cats do. I loved her very much. My heart is strong enough to hurt. Death came fast for her, and she didn't suffer long. This morning I sat and held her and told her how beautiful she was, how perfect she was, how I was so glad to know her. What a good and perfect, holy friend.

Eric R and Eric S walked with me to bury her under the oak tree on the hill, which turned out to be a rosewood.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

On Sabbatical

You also deserve to say "Enough."


Photo credit: Eric Ruljancich

Friday, June 12, 2015

A Walk at Night, In the Galiuros

Fewer words now. Fewer dreams, too. The fears encroach as shadows and questions, unknowns to
blunder into like chasms that open between cliff faces, difficult to see -- and difficult to fall into unless one is going blindly down canyon. Or into the night.

At night there is clarity of mind. I begin to breathe and feel the long day. Many long days exhale, exhume themselves and take shape as I hike up the road. They are crisp and sad-looking, like old garments hung on clothes hangers. They do not fit anymore. Not here, in the crisp cool evening by the mustard tufts and lavender, by the volcanic tuff and scraggly, wind-thrashed juniper. Old days gone by. They can be learned from, can't they? And mended and tailored to fit this night.

Nothing dramatic here. Just a friend in pace with me. A trust that is born of familiarity, broken trust, and redemption. Perhaps that is the truth in the long-ago love of mine that was named God. That we are all of us looking for redemption. Not because we have all sinned, no. But because we have all lost ourselves and, on going finding, have hurt each other. That is the longing. Forgive me. Accept me whole. Love me whole.

I walk up into these hills to a quiet saddle. The wind has gone to rest. Stars are out. A first quarter moon spreads its sallow lonely stain over the surrounding constellations. I do not know them. But I can love strangers, too.

Moon, forever chasing the path of the sun, never to catch her.

"I trust you," I tell my friend, who may be asleep for all the sleeping bag stirs. How did it happen, this intimacy?

Sometimes, a meteor falls through the sky and I am full of breath at the wonder. I squint and follow a satellite's turning -- brightening, fading journey -- ever, always. And I close my eyes, remembering the way the upper canyon, west of us, looked after the rain event came and shredded the path, boulders pulverized to chalky dust. Wasteland. And pockets of new growth, as slender and secret as shut eyelids, returning -- ever, always. I let go and my spirit goes to rest with the wind, to seek after what cannot be found.

Fewer undertakings. Fewer words. But there is quiet trust and love here. And redemption.