Thursday, September 01, 2011

Cardboard Boxes and Postponements

There is no waiting for the clouds to lift, no break in the rain to be expected. We turn with one shoulder the pivot, drawn toward earth, and the other pulling to the sky, fixed to our own skeletons. If we wait for the ergonomically correct moment, we'll wait forever.

No. Heave with such muscles as can get purchase, and hope.

A fleeting wish for a cigarette. I've smoked maybe six cigarettes in my life: the last one must have been ten years ago. I think the wish is gleaned from watching people smoke: the smell of the leaf, the flare of the match, the first breath, and then the shoulders settling as the whole nervous system resets, and north by the compass becomes north by the map again. Those mirror neurons, as convenient as DNA for tale-spinning: we're going to be heartily sick of them soon, and wish they hadn't been discovered, no doubt. Their only larger significance is rhetorical: our sociability, our compassion, is inwritten in our very cells! But anyone capable of introspection already knew that we trade feelings back and forth with other people all the time, that we're emotional sponges, mutual spiritual contaminants. That's why my fantasy life is a public health issue, and why meditation is not self-indulgence, but hygiene -- like washing my hands after using the toilet. I do it to protect other people more than to protect myself.

My life is all cardboard boxes and postponements, just now. My great anxiety is that it may still be that, two months from now. Storage and life-comes-later are powerful habits of mind.

The clouds are breaking up, and the oblique sunlight of September is rushing in. The sun's been stealthily sinking to the south ever since the third week of June, of course, but I never really see it until the first cool weather comes. Now suddenly it's not an overhead light, but a cozy reading lamp by the side of the couch. The last of summer slips down the drain with a swirl and a little plumber's belch. So much for that.

Hugs --


JMartin said...

Moving! Boxes! Feh: all terror-filled beginnings and endings. So hope that you close and unpack sufficiently so that you can breathe in Fall's mellow middle. Hugs in an unmarked box!


End of Summer
(Stanley Kunitz)

An agitation of the air,
A perturbation of the light
Admonished me the unloved year
Would turn on its hinge that night.

I stood in the disenchanted field
Amid the stubble and the stones,
Amazed, while a small worm lisped to me
The song of my marrow-bones.

Blue poured into summer blue,
A hawk broke from his cloudless tower,
The roof of the silo blazed, and I knew
That part of my life was over.

Already the iron door of the north
Clangs open: birds, leaves, snows
Order their populations forth,
And a cruel wind blows.

Dale said...

Oh, I like that!

Zhoen said...

I've always considered it lucky to rain during a move. Probably just because it always does.

Have some beer and pizza. Beats the taste of smoke anytime.

Lucy said...

Hey that poem is lovely isn't it!

I pointed out today that Tom uses sudoku like a smoke, which was something of an aha thing.

We have lived with boxes for 14 years. Not always the same boxes, or not always with the same things in them, but always boxes. They are more or less cleared now but not entirely. I'm not sure what this has done to my mental and spiritual hygiene.

'we're emotional sponges, mutual spiritual contaminants'

I am thinking on this.

Jayne said...

Hi Dale- I've been trying to catch up with you intermittently and thought it was time to leave a written mark...

So you are moving! This may be off subject a bit, but you've got me thinking, Dale!:

I haven't moved in 13 years but the last move, to the home in which I'm now settled (for too long, actually) was a long process, and boxes, bags, furnishing, etc. remained in storage for over four months. I remember being panic stricken by the thought of all my thingsbeing locked up for so long.

When we finally were able to unload everything into our new home, I realized how little some of those things meant to me, how I didn't have a need for many of them, and tossed several boxes, bags, etc.!

Why hadn't I done that when we cleared out the old house? Those things we hang on to often turn out to be of little consequence. But now I've a collection of all kinds of new things... I think it's time for another move. (Dang, I wish those kids would graduate already!)

Much happiness to you in your new home. :)

(Word veri="fatere"--no kidding. Hmmm...)