Sudden Brilliance Burned A Trail

Forty three years old . . . I love the odd numbered years, odd numbers of all sorts, and also winter. Following the dogs through the woods stopping now and then (here and there) to listen to the brook or stare at the stars through gaps between trees. Wanted to write “there is no other life” without feeling sappy or like just copping Blythe translating Basho. Better sometimes to walk without a notebook, or let go entirely of this need to communicate.

Yet what joy there is out there, in the quiet and solitude, and how gentleness expands with the desire to share. Conflict floats away and the mind does indeed step easily outside the body, going just ahead or off to the side. Very little is required. Came home to pray and drink coffee before writing and remembered the morning Henry Dassati showed me a prism in second grade. I held it to the light and the sudden brilliance burned a trail through my brain I have never stopped walking. “I am the light of the world,” etc. etc.

And what joy – and light – there is here, too – writing at my basement desk, cold but smiling, wondering when the mice will commence their games on the cement lip of the foundation. Or perhaps they’re already asleep. What lives they lead, fixed with an intensity I can barely imagine let alone contain. The snow sparkled so bright and blue where the single streetlight touched it I wanted to stop and stand forever in admiration, but you have to be in motion for the full effect. Later I paused on the stairs to savor the quiet and an 18-wheeler went by on 112, roaring in the night.

And recall just now teetering on the old bridge, staring into the black water of the brook where I thought I saw the reflections of stars. But the harder I looked, the darker the water got, and whatever streaks of light I saw seemed made-up, false credentials for the mystically-inclined. Spiritual aggrandizement ever the risk of one who seeks to teach. What did Leonard Cohen say last night? “I lost the way – I forgot to ask for directions.”

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