A doozy of a day

Whilst the Pineapple Express raged its warm wet flounce on the land for a week, we tucked in close to home. The cat woke me early in the darkness, weaving insistent trails across my throat: letmeoutletmeoutletmeout.

And so I did and so he went and so the morning soaked through the last dry bits of soil and the water rose in the furrows of the fields and around the stones in the drive down to the barn, in all the low places. And it was well toward noon when I knew that if the cat was able, he would have made it back to shelter by now. There was a sort-of dreadly fear inching up through the morning rituals, and I kept opening the door and calling out into the grey, and then my calls took me down the long-puddled road to the barn and out along the perimeter of fields, scanning for specks of orange, down in the ditches where the wind’s trash floated in the reeds and thick water.

The feeling came upon me, although my mind retained its logical sense of the situation, that Tiki was not sleeping out the tail end of the storm under a particularly dense bush or tucked withing the steel circle of a pipe, that if he could have come, he would have – and the logic was what led me to the loss. And once I was at the loss, it moved into me quickly. i found myself sobbing and keening behind the windshield at an interminable light on the Burlington strip, swearing at and protesting the universe. All my old bets with God are off during these moments of test.

Until the framework shifts internally and test becomes surrender and I do, finally, give the pain up to wonder, give the love out for the universe to hold. For it constricts the breath to try to hold, to conserve myriad magnitudes of overwhelm – the revelation of feeling – in such limited form as everyday thought patterns allow.

I greeted the day’s end out at the end of the driveway, where the sun set in a clear span of sky and all the long furrows of the fallow fields reflected its final glow, row after row of long orange puddles. I made a prayer of thanks for such a trusted ally as companion during this handful of years, and I felt run clean by the day’s sobbing – my eyes new and soft, in limbo.

Any true connection makes a new love, and the more belief and softness paid, the stronger it resonates withing each partner, like a purr fed into, like a shimmy in perfect synchopation, like the movement itself will break the old form open. The universe is the only vastness that can absorb such a hum, and turn it inside out, to feed the chi that life thrums on.

The night came, and I met a new friend for a walk along the swollen creek. We squatted on the maple leaves glued to the sloping stones and watched the river pool like a slow wrath bubbling up to the surface. Moonlight muffled in the tail guard of clouds from the storm – the world gone black and white,the sound of liquid falling amplified by sheer vloume.

There are cords and there are bonds. The cords we wrap around each other’s ankles unawares, they lay out like traps only mostly you trip yourself up with the same unworkable story over and over again.

The bonds they work reciprocal, we forge them with each other through mutual effort at reconciliation, forgiveness, trust, belief, and love. The love we build to place among the stars.

We came back from out night walking and my phone was lit up with a mesage from Matthew, who was calling to tell me that Tiki had walked right up as he arrived home, was fine, would see me soon.

Just like that, the heart eases its great welling, lets the momentum check and resumes its course of grounding that current into the Other. You pour the love back in – unless the bond is interrrupted, you pay in over and over again. You choose to feel with and to be moved. A surrender, not a test – or a test of surrender. Such a ride.

A Last of Her Kind Kind of Story

Back in the, wide old open world,
back in treefelling marsh dyking days
when the wilderness was close enough
to touch each and every one of us,
A girl grew up in a new white farmhouse
born perhaps, in one of the rooms,
and grew to be a woman as her father
raised up apple trees, and chickens,
and claimed the wetland in between the bays
in the name of scythe and plow.

The island began to feel closer to shore, though
the winding track through the furrows of February mud
made the crossing seem as from one world to the next.
Samish Island to Edison must have at first
been a matter of slough waters and reed grasses plying
the sides of boat or canoe, the beaches distinct. And then,
as this Girl’s father helped to carve out a shallow,
fertile patch, it might have been a long morning’s ride
by cart and horses into town, two bends in the road,
nestled against the winding new banked slough.
And as she passed through school and the first war
was still the Only, she learned to keep a home
for her father – the ledger, the taxes, and she learned
the birds from her windows, and she taught in turn,
down at the school. And she kept books on any manner
of subjects, and she kept patterns for clothes, and curtains
and there was a drawer full of stereoscopic images
from Japan and from the West.

And she lived her whole life in that place and watched
the apple trees begin to turn again toward the earth
and the herons and eagles raise their fledglings
in the surrounding sky, and the track to town
became a road, and the people who came out to the island
planned to stay, and made civilized sidewalks
down along the beach, with flagpoles, and baby strollers.
And at Christmas her friends sent her letters, with
Haiku jingles about the Last War, in three line stanzas
that bubbled with a sort of frantic good cheer.
And she never married, and so she kept keeping house
for her father, as he grew old and died perhaps,
in one of the rooms. And she read all the time
about Europe and yet she never left the island.

And there is one photo of her from when the Gulf War
was still the Only, and she looks great still, in her 1970’s
suit, and I wonder what it was like to be her –
to span such a length of landtime and wartime and mindtime –
to fashion clothes with fabric from the millinery
In Edison, and to keep the old wood stove in the kitchen,
and a pot of tea ready steaming perhaps; the last of her kind
really, on an island full of old stories.