Friday, October 08, 2010

The Timeless Trash of the Sea

Somewhere, the ocean
crashes back and forth
like so much broken glass,
but nothing breaks.
Against itself,
it is quite powerless.

(Chase Twichell, “Inland”)

Later in the same poem, Twichell says,

The timeless trash of the sea
means nothing to me.

She's lying, of course, and so am I; but you can understand the yen to escape altogether from the endless noise and fret, the grind and backwash of all those thoughts: so destructive to everything but themselves. The one thing you can't think your way out of is thinking. “Against itself, it is quite powerless.” Just so.

If I ever have the time, I'd like to try to bushwack my way all the way up the Breitenbush. On the map, it looks like it comes straight down from Mt Jefferson – that most beautiful and difficult of Oregon's mountains. Of course, as Clausewitz will tell you, the map is not the terrain.

Ravens. Oh, ravens. What a reproach to me you are! I've forgotten everything I ever knew that was worth knowing.

Well, well, start again. Easier this time.

Over at One Word, Zhoen wrote: Make the people around you feel loved. If they don't feel it, you're doing it wrong. Now that's a nut with meat inside it. Crack that, if you can.

I'm still subscribed to the KCC mailing lists. I still lurk, and watch the stuff go by: the requests for prayers for failing parents, for the dying children of friends, for aging cats; the building of the Goldendale retreat center, the planning for the new urban center; the news of our exiled lineage in India. The gears spin but the teeth don't catch. I say a few om manis for the kids and the cats. I don't know what I am, or what I'm doing. I'll never be comfortable with costumes and regalia, with pomp and ceremony. All those pieties. If you're going to observe pieties, surely they should be those of your own people? But of course, that's the problem, we have none, we're Americans. But you can't borrow other people's pieties. That's not how it works. The whole point of pieties is that they're not chosen -- they're given. And if you were given nothing, that's just your cross to (not) bear.

Enough! Or too much. Time to do something. Time to make someone feel loved.

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