“History is not so much a matter of what is remembered or repeated as of the things we prefer to leave unsaid.” – Peter Kingsley
I approach writing seriously but lightly, with the playful edge of deep vulnerability. I don’t concern myself too much with the shells of words that can never contain a roaring ocean of life.
I ride the feeling to the edge of the cliff, trusting my mind is good enough to follow. Sometimes I fall off the cliff and die unceremoniously. Sometimes I spread my wings and fly.
What I’m exploring here is a matter of life and death, it’s true, though the language is soft and velvety, unthreatening for the most part to the human character. In seeking to bypass my own defenses sometimes I think I bypass yours, too. Sometimes I think we fall in love with each other among these lines.
When I write I am stripped naked, to glow like a moon under a bright midday sun.
Everything I have been taught is a partial explanation.
It takes work to shed the concrete with which I have paved the mind, and to allow the soil to breathe. Often it proves almost impossible to let go of the ropes altogether, and engage with life directly and at face value.
Some people reading what I write understand what takes place here, in these few words. Others, even when I am explicit about my practice still regard the whole affair as an appeal to supernatural forces, or as just beautiful flowery writing with rich symbols and metaphors for consumption, entertainment or comfort.
So here it is again: my writing is an invitation into a process, during which we explore together a more vital way of looking at things. I can’t know what it does for you unless you tell me, but I see what it does for me and to me and from me, and that gives me an idea. I glow like the moon, skin shining under a bright midday sun.
Why do I have the need to tell you all this again? I suppose because I feel it is time humans become conscious of the ways in which we constantly enter into a dance of co-creation with everything. Now there’s the real responsibility and challenge: to reclaim one’s world and tend to it. To become a living being among living beings in a living world. To acknowledge that mind and nature, body and soul are not separate, are not distinguishable. My heartmind, these fingers, the keyboard, these words, and your screen, eyes and heartmind exist along the same plane, and together we are the flickering flames that light the world ablaze.
The other day in the post office I asked you for your pen, but you did not look me in the eyes.
I smiled as hard as I could, hoping my friendliness would seep through the fabric mask and make my eyes glimmer with kindness, but you did not look me in the eyes.
I said “thank you, Sir”, but you never did speak to me, or look me in the eyes.
I felt a tension, an unbridgeable chasm. I know, this interaction could have been deadly a few decades ago…
The chasm exists like a vacuum of air between us. It is not ours. We belong to it.
Here we are, in the post office among other people; little flies caught in a web of history.
In that vacuum between us it is absolutely silent. The messages are not carried along. The human connection is lost.
I feel so sorry, so sorry for our loss.
Power over is unsustainable, because it is never enough.
I am never enough, you are never enough.
Hope: this is not God’s law, capital t Truth. This is about relationships, the whole of existence is. And relationships are amenable to restoration, healing, amplification.
Can we change the context to one that is closer to a heartbeat?
How to approach, ever so gently, the frog of things which have been left unsaid, so that I don’t scare it away into the bushes?
While the times are calling us toward generalisations, I feel that what is needed is the detailed texture of unique, embodied lives.
Will you share your stories with me? Can I share mine?
I am not scared of these times, at all. I have faith in my ability to learn. I trust the integrity of you and me. I trust the integrity of life.
I was enjoying your songs today: frog songs, wind songs, human songs, love songs.
Life, I love you. Distance is good, silence is good. Touch and sunshine and wind are good.
Being alive is not mere irritation – it is an exploration of imagination, an explosion of the unimaginable into the imaginable, a sprouting of the ineffable into the tangible, into the possible, the Here.
A walk in the neighborhood under a massive canopy of trees, soft grass underfoot and there she is: a pregnant, full-bellied moon. Our Lady of Humid Dusk and Mosquito Bites. Louisiana. Mother of Crawfish, Sister of the Order of the Pecky Cypress. I adore your birds, I adore your insects, invasive and native alike, as I cannot tell the difference. I am utterly mesmerized and terrified by you – you are the pinnacle of my life, better than any college education I could ever have obtained. Your weather patterns are as real and terrifying as they are humbling and restoring. Your strangers are bold and have nothing to lose. Your history is deep and painful, like an old battle scar. I know nothing, I know nothing of substance at all, and I bow before your blood.
Everything I write is lies – my words cannot be true against the orange of a bayou sunset. My expression cannot be as comforting as a cup of milky chicory coffee; everything I write is longing.
I can never be your child, but I am the child of the one whose child you are also. My Lady of cast iron pans, bless this boudin. Bless these people. Inseminate their hearts with clover and coneflowers for the bees. Blow a breeze of longleaf pine thoughts their way, that they may become woodpeckers, and grass, and little sparrows in the grass. And the fire that brings the death that brings the life again.
I love you, Life. You are miraculous and generous with your offerings. I am dazzled by your greens. Please accept me as your eternal witness, eternally yours until death shuts down the myriad open electrified palms that wave at you from inside and outside this body – only to activate fresh ones that feel the world anew.
I don’t even care, I made a staghorn fern friend today. That other beings exist with which to share this world with! That I can be in the presence of one big flow of ideas, opening in careful florets in the backyard!
This is how we make love, one okra plant at a time.