Tuesday, February 08, 2011

The Right Shop

After six months of being in a bad mood, it's probably time to consider the possibility that what I have here is not a mood to be shaken off, but a new mode of being. At any rate, any time I hear myself saying impatiently, “just get over it, Dale!” I can be confident that I'm trying not to see something that's plain before my face.

Night before last, unable to sleep, I sat up in the bed, murmured my refuge prayers, and meditated twenty minutes. The covers before me lay in a long pale question mark. At the corner of my left eye was the green spark of the clock on my side; at the corner of my right eye was the amber spark of the clock on Martha's side. Time's wingéd chariot. Not just drawing near: signaling to overtake.

. . .

Could the whole project be a wash?
In God's heart, regret bloomed hot
and a tempest of sorrow rained down

Still, some simple sweetness in us
roused divine compassion like milk
found favor in God's tired eyes.

Rachel Barenblat, “Postpartum,” 70 faces

In our end is our beginning. It is too easy to say such things, to forget the rancid backwash of the flood, forget the children terrified, terrified now and terrified forever, the certainties -- that houses stand still, that clean water comes out of the tap -- never to be regained, not on this earth, not in this life. Still, pick your way along the ruined levee, through the sodden heaps of mildewed clothes, barbed with flakes of broken china and glass. Of course God has a temper. Artists are like that. So are fathers. The wind comes again, gently this time, carrying morning.

. . .

the quickening breath,
the rapid heartbeat
as blood blossoms through the body.

How one woman
might turn to another
and with untried muscles, smile
before straightening her shoulders
and moving forward, slowly,
to enter the strange, mercurial light.

Michelle McGrane, “The Art of Awakening,” The Suitable Girl

Once again, a soiled and tired gray dawn, but the sky lightening at the horizons, pouring silver through the black ribwork of the firs. Smoke from chimneys draws the light down over wet asphalt roofs, and spray from the passing cars draws it up into the laurel hedges. There's no escaping the light: even at a whisper, it echoes and rebounds from street to wall, sings under the car tires, and worms its way under my fingernails.

If you're looking for anarchy, brother, you've come to the right shop.

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