Thursday, July 12, 2012

Pulling Up Stakes

Yesterday I pulled a metal stake up out of the ground. It had barbs, or wings, but they actually came off, while we were trying to dig it out: a fat chevron of steel-plate. But the stake kept hanging on by sheer cussedness. I almost wrenched my back hauling it up. Turns out that a foot and a half of nobbly metal, once well-bedded in soil, resists uprooting with surprising tenacity. But I got it at last.

Golden light, walls of large-leaved vines embroidering hedges, and trees of with deep purple, lustrous foliage, always moving out of my vision. As so many things do these days! My eyes seem always out of focus.

It's strange to no longer be acquiring or building. I am getting rid of things, avoiding accomplishments. I want to be easy to pull up, when the time comes.

In the morning, the light and the birdsong begin to pour into the house at about 4:30. I wake and leave the bedroom for the cooler air of the living room, lie on the sofa, half awake, feeling the tide of the day rise around me. All my laboriously memorized poetry is gone: no verses come to me. I'm very alone. I wish now that I had memorized less verse and more birdsong: I don't know the names of these creatures, though I've listened to them for decades. It seems a dereliction, an unkindness.

Slowly, the mornings will ebb again, and I'll get full nights of sleep again, maybe. Or maybe not. But yesterday I actually napped, a feat I have never accomplished before without exhaustion. That's promising.

Massage steadies me, nourishes me. It's a loving-kindness practice, for me: how much of myself can I give away without asking return? Trickier than it sounds. There are so many sorts of return, and so many ways of asking, or inveigling. It's easiest when an interruption comes, a phone call, say, just as I'm packing up, so I can vanish without ceremony. It's the deepest wish of my heart, nowadays: to disappear, to perfect my vanishing skills. I want to be so practiced, that when I sink into the water for the last time there's not even a ripple left on the surface.

8 comments:

tatz said...

The wish expressed in your last sentence is mine too.

NT said...

I'm sorry, your wish will not be granted. There will be ripples, and tattoos on the hearts of those who love you.

This post speaks to me poignantly as I get ready for a move of my own.

Anne said...

The thing is, you don't really vanish all at once. Vestiges of your presence persist, words, images real or imagined, and the remnants make ripples of their own. For a long time. But not forever. Nothing in this world is forever.

Zhoen said...

Amen.

Beth said...

Yes, that Buddhist wish to "burn oneself completely so that not even the ash remains" resonated with me too, until I realized it sounded good but was disingenuous and also an incomplete understanding, for me at least. I think Anne is right. I treasure the ripples of the people I loved, who loved me, and know their remnants persist in me, and ripple out again. So I find it hard, this time, to believe you really mean it.

Dale said...

:-) Well really it's none of my business, eh? It's for other people to decide what they want to do with their memories of me. What I'm really talking about is wanting to let go of the wholly destructive urge to scrawl my name on other people's hearts.

Beth said...

If you put it like that, then I have no argument!

Murr Brewster said...

I do. Scrawl away.