Sunday, December 18, 2016

In the Week of the Winter Solstice

Early this morning, through the laundry room window: a tiny square of gray sky, black laurel leaves streaked with snow, and the moon limping westward.

Nothing I ever wanted means anything to me, now: the leaf-shadows nodded on the concrete floor, while the rectangles of moonlight containing them moved just slow enough that I never saw them doing it, like the minute hand of an old clock. There is a metaphor for days and years, here, if I were clever enough to make it. Or maybe there isn't, and I'm just clever enough to tell that there's not, without being able to say why.

The mountain was out this morning, in a new dress of snow, the brilliant white and bluish shadow in stylized blotches, so that I wanted to copy down the ideograph the ridge lines made: forward and backward esses forming the borders between the shades of white. See, I would say, this is the character for mountain.

But there is no need for a character for mountain when the mountain is there to point at. And what's the point of talking about a mountain when it's gone? What are we doing now, and what have we ever done? We have grown old talking about what we remember, or wanted to remember. There's a hitch and slow-down, every time I rise from a chair recently: a caution. Perhaps I cracked a rib the other day.

Tomorrow, maybe, the ice will be gone, and life will be more pliant. My petulance at not being able to go out precisely when and how I like begins to wear on me: and then I think of the people in Mosul or Aleppo, of what real constriction looks like, and I'm ashamed of myself.

I go slowly in the dark, holding my hand out to find the door. There. When the door is at arms' length, the steps up to it are there to be stepped on: two shallow steps and and then a third half-step onto the sill, from the garage into the kitchen. I wonder if this little house is the last physical place I will memorize, and be able to move around easily without light.


Tom said...

There is nothing shameful about being human and recognising our humanity. One way or another, walking into the darkness is a perilous experience. I wish you well, Dale.

Sabine said...

As I was looking at the moon earlier today, I was wondering whether it was in fact limping or whether we are just unable to gaze at it steadily.
More and more, I feel the need to unclutter my thoughts, to find ways to cut out the I in my narrative.
Take care, dear Dale.

Rouchswalwe said...

The last day of 2016 here was grey and dark, clouds pushed by a cold wind. This morning, I woke to a sun pushing itself up in the rosy east. Got me thinking all sorts of thoughts over my morning tea.

Wishing you moments for the senses here at the top of 2017, dear Dale!