I have things to do. Work—lots of it. This work includes my paid work and my house work, but then it also includes the work of my own head and heart.
I need to work through some themes that keep surfacing. Since k had all the bleeding spells, she has not been riding to work with me (though she did ride both ways yesterday for the first time in three weeks). It leaves a void, but also this time to contemplate the things of the world.
Spring is such an active time. Everything is bustling with energy and newness. It makes total sense that my mind is doing the same thing. It is shrill with desire. The desire to know; the desire to understand; the desire to love; the desire to make love; the desire for something bigger than human to help.
Help with what?
To make sense out of human motivations, love, desires, actions, hatred. I do not need definitions or total explanations. I need a bigger peace.
I need to know that when I witness the heinous actions of humans against humans that amidst the knowledge of those actions I can survive and so can those that I know and love and do not know and love. And the survival I am writing of is not just getting by, getting through it; rather, it is knowing that the little efforts toward something better do indeed matter and that these little efforts translate and carry over to generations to come.
And when I speak of generations to come, I do not simply mean human generations, but I mean the vitality and security and well-being of all living things and the rocks, soil, water, and air with which they all exist.
All of this gets me waxing spiritual. Whitman comes to mind a gruff booming in my ear. The rhythm of his voice a fixture in my head though I have never really heard him (except on the gravely, “36-second wax cylinder recording of what is thought to be Whitman's voice reading four lines from the poem ‘America.’”) But rather the rhythm bounces over my memories because I have been reading him religiously since 11th grade American literature when I fell in love with his words and the rapture they induced in my belly.
And, so when I ride my bike down by the river and I think about this woman I met last weekend—the daughter of a man who probably sexually abused hundreds of young woman—I move to Whitman and the words that he wrote; the words that invoke the turn toward something akin to perceptiveness and peace.
I think of our fallibility and our ability to harm. I think of our holiness and our ability to heal. I think of how this woman who expressed that she had done all that she could to keep her father from acting out again and again should never have had to endure that endeavor alone. I think about the messed up world we live in that isolates and abandons people leaving them to their own devices rather than welcoming, developing community, and holding one another accountable over and over again for all of our actions and in-actions.
I think how I want it to be different. I pray that it will. I hum praises to the birds that bring me peace and spin smiles and gestures to the water lapping over rocks and ridges of river.
I listen to this old man, long dead; the cadence of his writing like a comfrey balm. It seeps liquidy over the bristled edges of my heart into those cut places where pus and angst rise up and where I yearn for something more to cradle my face and whisper in any form that comes--it will be okay and maybe even better.
From Walt Whitman's Song of Myself
The smoke of my own breath,
Echoes, ripples, buzz'd whispers, love-root, silk-thread, crotch and
My respiration and inspiration, the beating of my heart, the pass-
ing of blood and air through my lungs,
The sniff of green leaves and dry leaves, and of the shore and
dark-color'd sea-rocks, and of hay in the barn,
The sound of the belch'd words of my voice loos'd to the eddies
of the wind,
A few light kisses, a few embraces, a reaching around of arms,
The play of shine and shade on the trees as the supple boughs
The delight alone or in the rush of the streets, or along the fields
The feeling of health, the full-noon trill, the song of me rising from
bed and meeting the sun.
Have you reckon'd a thousand acres much? have you reckon'd
the earth much?
Have you practis'd so long to learn to read?
Have you felt so proud to get at the meaning of poems?
Stop this day and night with me and you shall possess the origin
of all poems,
You shall possess the good of the earth and sun, (there are millions
of suns left,)
You shall no longer take things at second or third hand, nor look
through the eyes of the dead, nor feed on the spectres in
You shall not look through my eyes either, nor take things from me,
You shall listen to all sides and filter them from your self.
Protected: waning days
6 months ago