Spring in its wettest of wet stages, and Lent nearly over, season not of repentance but forgiveness. Or that is the reframe I attempted. And did it work? Mostly I worked, pumping out words at such a pace I barely remembered an hour later what I had written. And yet and yet, as Hayden Carruth once wrote, a lovely phrase a propos of just about everything.
Slogged through the field yesterday, drinking hot tea in the pouring rain at 3 a.m. Went as far as I did mostly because the older dog was up for it. No wheezing, no limping, just the old gambol that for so many years defined him. We can do worse than offer our dogs gifts like that. The younger one took an hour to return home, coming in just as the sun was beginning to turn the sky gray. Whole house smelled of wet dog, but it was oddly pleasing. Consider the wet dogs . . .
What better gift to offer ourselves than to relinquish judgment? That dubious effort we dress up as wisdom? Sometimes at night when the house is quiet and I am sitting still and doing nothing in particular I realize how busy my mind is defining and deciding and judging and tallying and that I can simply let it go and right away it quietens, slows, a trickle played out and indeed seems almost grateful to be able to rest. As if that – rest – were what it’s really for.
And then – this is the story of being human really – I try and cling to it, hold onto it fiercely because I can’t allow it to be taken away – It’s mine! Mine! – and then it is gone. The chatter escalates to a crescendo, judge and jury screaming for attention. In Kindegarten once I was asked to draw a picture in a bucket of water and I did, I drew a house with two brothers outside it holding hands, and when the teacher came over and said what a beautiful drawing I felt like I was made of glass, a prism through which white light exploded into all its radiant members.
Or so I say, being wordy, and sometimes not much else. It is still cold in the basement where I write, pinkies going numb first, then the ring finger, et cetera, while the rocks I collect on my walks and stack beside a photograph of J. collect dust, apparently unconcerned with any change in circumstance.