The dogs pulled what appeared to be a camel spine from the neighbor’s compost this morning, fighting over it while I stood waiting on the road. After a few minutes the younger dog won and stayed in the yard to gnaw in bliss. The older dog and I went out in the fields, taking it slow. Why not? We all have to eat.
About where in a few months a small stand of cattails are going to sprout we stopped. A quarter moon barely three fingers off the horizon was floating over the airstrip, and as I stared at it seemed to change colors, morphing from a moldy green to a soft yellow to a hard clear blue. “This is either the beginning of salvation or all the hallucinogenics I took so many years ago are kicking back in,” I thought to myself. And unable to choose, I just enjoyed the show. When it was simply a white moon again lightly blurred by mist we turned back. It was as always time.
I am upsetting people these days, which is regrettable – beyond regrettable in some cases – and also testimony that no “salvation” at all is underway. Particularly vexing is my insistence that we are not bodies at all but spirits – these frail fleshly containers merely bad ideas that will disappear when we embrace our true selves, giving up all need for the limits of form. And yet in the interim they can be so much fun, as last night in the dark sword fighting with all three kids for a good half hour. Why not play?
Also good – I am going to say this – is the nearly unbearable beauty that our body allows for, opens us up to. I spent almost an hour the other day watching ice melt, water literally transfiguring itself via sunlight, rendering a world of pebbles underneath it almost too beautiful and rich for words. This is what so tormented Emily Dickinson I think, the idea that Heaven couldn’t possibly top this, not if you were paying attention. Who’d want it? What did she say in one of her letters? Something along the lines of, we learn heaven by loving one another. Anyway, the gist is that Heaven’s here, interiorly, and God, too.
Which ought to make me ecstatic or at least attentive but the morning reading was dull. The words sort of stuck on the page like blocks of wood. The dogs didn’t want to come in and once in wanted to go out. The tea was bitter, my nose was stuffed, and everybody was tossing and turning, mumbling in dreams. Not until I was driving south to teach did a few words begin filtering in to help me make sense of any of it. And even they were a poor crust, dooming the holier loaf.