Tuesday, March 23, 2010

"Let the rain fall down"

The sky blazed blue for five frenetic days, and I skipped and spun and sang in the sun. I soaked my skin in sunshine. Every ray injected light into my body, photons bouncing around inside my skin. Inside I was glowing and burning.

And now the rain has returned. Clouds cover the sky, softening the inconceivable void to a quiet blanket. The mist collects in diamond drops. They hang on the slender branches of winter-bare trees, and on the white petals of the hopeful spring blossoms. The light lands on them, silver.

And the mist brushes my face, like soothing whispers.

Shh. Listen to the rain.

The gathered droplets slide down dampened tree-skin, they run clattering down the drainpipes and dance on the rooftops, they leap to the ground. Finally they convene in puddles, where the air currents caress them. The puddle-skin shimmers and shivers. Branches and clouds stare up from its face. In the eye of the puddle, the whole world rests.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

What's in your closet? [Question of the Day]

I've got an ice-ax in my closet. Or maybe it's in the garage. Regardless, I have an ice axe. And yes, I've used it.

[from the theme of Things People Don't Know About Me]

Monday, March 15, 2010


Needing to reply to you, I avoid the box where my letters must go. I can drive the letters into that corral. They'll be neatly herded into words, and the commas and periods will be nipping at their heels to keep them together. The sense is apt to escape when the letters shuffle themselves around, and run about baaing and bleating. You don't need any more chaos, so the sheep I send you had better be well-behaved.

Take care of the sounds and the sense will take care of itself--If only! I can paint pretty pictures and teach those letters to sing. Well-trained, they will arrange themselves nicely in that little box, and fill out the space with a nice pattern. The consonants will chirp their solos and the vowels will chorus in the background. But that flock of letters will bear no message. The precision of the pattern can't capture the flight of meaning.

Sense soars like a bird. Winged, it flits from one paragraph to another, alighting for a moment here and then flap! it has escaped again. Sometimes I can see it gliding in the sky, far out of reach. Sometimes it pauses on a twig beside me and gazes at me fixedly, with a beady eye. So close, I feel the air move between us. But the instant I move, it vanishes in a flurry of feathers. (One falls, and I pick it up to carry with me as a reminder: once I came this close.)

I meant to be writing to you, my words a net to carry you a message. But the net is too flimsy to carry as much meaning as you need. I'm not sure I even have such a quantity of meaning available. I have been searching through my drawers and closets, for some fragments to add to the pitiful pile I had in my head already, but the search has not borne fruit.

Still: I need to send you some words. I'll send you the scraps I could find. I'll send you the feathers I have collected over these few years that I've been chasing after sense as it flies away, leaving its song floating on the air.

I'll send you the echoes. Musician that you are, maybe you can draw the song out of them.

I keep trying to escape, fly like a bird myself. But I will sit still. I cannot pin down the sense or even the sounds, but for a few minutes, I can pin myself down, and I can write to you.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


Fascinating idea in this article: "that loneliness [can] be contagious and follow[s] a distinct path as it spread[s] through social networks."

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Morning After

I am not getting dressed today. I've been awake for three hours, but the day still hasn't convinced me that time is moving onward. I did take off the giant t-shirt and old shorts I sleep in, hours ago. But I couldn't bring myself to put on the constraining uniform of stitched fabric and seams that opens the door into the external world. I can't stand the wires and zippers today. Denim would be a straightjacket to me today. Even a t-shirt has too much shape.

Instead, I am wrapped in a sarong, folds that drape around me and a knot at my shoulder. A few tugs and the whole thing will dissolve into a pool of green on the floor. I can escape any time I want. To get out of a shirt or pants, I would have to remove myself from their shapes: squirm and pull and duck my head and bend my elbows, step out of the pant legs, ease the waistband past my hip bones. The clothes, thrown to the floor, pile up, as though they are trying to stand on their own, manikin-like. Oh, they definitely have their own agenda. They want me to fit into them, to fill them out, to be the right proportions, to distribute myself into the right places.

The sarong, though, moves around me. It is content to become the garment I want. If I ask it, it will be a simple blanket. It would be glad to be a curtain for me, it would be honored to be a veil for me, or even a shroud, if it came to that. The sarong conforms to what I already am, and if I want freedom, it will unfurl from around me and fall away--

and I will stand alone and bare--

my hair falling down my back, uncombed--

I wish I had wild curls like a waterfall, not this clean, straight flow of hair like a smooth river. I am wishing, today, for hair that tumbles and quarrels and can't make up its mind, hair that fights itself and refuses to be untangled, hair that shapes itself and becomes a sculpture.

I am a mess. Hair is sprouting from my legs, like the first grass growing in the spring. My armpits aren't clean and bare like a marble floor, but fertile like a stone grown mossy by the river. I am a meadow of weeds and wildflowers, not a garden with paths and flowerbeds.

Rain, fall on me. Sun, let me drink you in. This is where I am right now--sitting aside for the moment, just being what I feel. Just being.

Remembering: I am alive.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Spring Rain

The prayer I want to have always pouring through my heart:

Let us acknowledge the Lord.
Let us press on to acknowledge Him.
As surely as the sun rises, He will appear;
He will come to us like the winter rains,
like the spring rains that water the earth.
(Hosea 6:3)

I feel the spring coming, at long last. After the snow, the rain fell and washed away the illusion. Spring rain or winter rain? Who cares, so long as the rain waters the earth! The rain waters me, too, though I don't absorb it with the grace of the trees. I can't drink the rain, and it doesn't nourish my body. But I am umbrella-less this year--I am soaking in the rain. It seeps into my skin, and I feel as drenched as the earth. Footsteps on my skin would squish.

I want to be that soaked in God's presence.

Come, like the sun and like the rain, like warmth and water, like light and cloud. Rain and sun together make the world so bright, polished and gleaming and reflecting. Every puddle mirrors the sky, every tree is lacquered. Raindrops like rhinestones refract the light from every leaf and stem. Even the buildings are rejuvenated, washed clean.

In the rain, I am cold and sorrowful, clenched into myself (though really I am leaking into the world and the world is seeping into me, with each sliding droplet). But the sun appears and its rays split me wide open and I spill out into the sky.

Come, sun and rain, and make me into a rainbow.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Snow Spell

Snow is falling again, veiling the trees. The snow is a gauze curtain between me and the world. Stay right where you are, the curtain tells me. Don't push me aside, or brush through me. Stay in this little piece of the world. This piece is enough for you. Why seek more?

I look out the window and the falling flakes dance before me. Already they are patterning the sodden black ground. Soon they will have whitened all the cars and roofs. The snow sticks to the trees like icing. It piles up in round mounds, softening every sharp corner, layering over the realities that lie on the ground. Suddenly the whole world will be clean and beautiful.

But not yet. Right now, the snow is still dancing its ritual of enchantment. The spell of transformation is still being cast, and the snow wants me out of its way, inside. But I am going out. I will push aside the curtain, I will brush through the layers of gauze. I will be present in the cold, sharp, real life that I belong to.

Monday, March 1, 2010


Across the miles of snow, your pain stretches out to me. You are floating in the night sky with the drifting snow, and you send out a tendril through the cold. It touches me. I wake from my slumber, look around, seek your face. But I cannot see you. Here with me is a fragment of who you are, this fragile tender shoot that has grown to transcend the distance, yet again. For we keep moving, keep uprooting ourselves. You especially, you have been replanted so many times I can't count the number of soils you have twined roots into. And how many little pieces of yourself have ripped away each time your growing plant has been transplanted?

Yet the vines connecting us never wither. Across a continent, across an ocean, we are the same. Born together, we are bound together. Now you have replanted yourself again, closer by but still hours away. Our roots don't tangle together these days; we grow in different soils and when the rain is watering me, snow is freezing you. I worry about frostbite for you, and I wish the Sun would thaw the hard ground where you are trying so desperately to grow, and encountering only ice. I don't sing to the Sun for myself anymore, to shine down on me--I sing for you, and send His rays away from myself because they need to hit you instead. I need a mirror, to reflect that warmth across the rivers and farms.

Can I be the moon, at least, to turn the light toward you? to cast pale moonbeams into the dark sky where you hang? The whirling snow will glow where the moonlight illuminates it: a hundred white dancers, stark against the black sky. You are stationary amid all the spinning, green amid all the black and white. In the wind, your leaves flutter gently, and your roots sway, naked in the winter air. Nothing holds you down, but nothing holds you up, either. Where is the Gardener, to plant you in a pot? to wrap your exposed roots in soil to protect them? to fertilizer and water you, to put you in the sun or shade, wherever you would grow best?

I am only a plant myself. I can't give you a pot, or shine on you like the Sun, or rain on you. My leaves don't reflect the light enough to even be the moon. But I will never untangle our twining vines. If a few drops of water flow down my stems to roll down to your roots, that is enough to make me glad.