This month, I am trying to re-arrange some of my daily practice in order to make more space for writing. I have had two books floating about in my brain for some time, but I can never seem to find the time to work on them, so I thought I would give my first morning moments to the process and see what happens. So far, in the last two days, in the moments before I wake up fully, my brain has grasped a piece of dream-flotsam, and wrangled it into an image or phrase which I have used to begin a dreamy piece of super-flash fiction.
Perhaps I’ll be able to fit these into one of the books. Meanwhile, I am following the Dreamcatcher to see what she offers me.
In the past six or eight years, I have missed very few November Poem-A-Day challenges with Poetic Asides blog. This new process feels a little solitary, even lonely. But it feels like I have stepped onto a pathway, in much the same way that my first forays into Poem-A-Day were steps on a poetic pathway.
Here’s another thing: This week, I opened a Bag of Longing to see what was inside. This one was the idea of getting an MFA. It’s been haunting the deep corners of my brain for some time now. I decided to look at it more closely and see what it might look like this week. It’s so easy to get excited about it, but it’s hard to justify adding debt to debt when we have projects on the farm that must be fed money, and when the first of the children has just entered high school and will be exploring college possibilities himself before we can even catch our breath. Shall I close this Bag and stuff it back into a corner before it starts to eat me? Or shall I let the creature inside it out to roam, hoping it can find its own way home?
Gratitude List: 1. The many varieties of orange 2. That bright scarlet leaf on the neighbors’ orange dogwood tree was actually a cardinal 3. One small person humming quietly to himself in the car last night on the way home from trick-or-treating in town 4. November means cats in the bed, and that’s wonderful, as long as they give each other space and don’t start hissing 5. New practices
There is no reason. Simply this: The Beloved is. And you are. And that is all there is for reason.
Oh, there’s a tiny blue butterfly on a golden flower in a field of green. And the way that vulture stood upon the wind above the river last winter, how you could see the snow-furred animal shape of the ridge through the stripes of naked trees.
Love slips out through the bars of reason. Like the butterfly, like the vulture. Like golden, like whisper, like tears. It’s more vision than reason, more realm, more white horse galloping through dream. More one single ray of light shining through the forest canopy to sparkle on a stone at your feet.
Why do you love me? has only one answer: You are. But how? Now there is a question with myriad answers, vast as the universe. Look up and outward, and you will see.
How do you love me? you ask the Beloved. She answers: Stone, sunshine, horse, breeze, butterfly, waterfall, and blue, blue, blue.
Here’s the thing: The outrage dissipates so much more quickly now. There’s the kick in the gut when I see your name there on the email, and I think, “Here we go again,” and then a moment of panic, another of anger, and then, this time. . .
I sat there just watching what was happening inside my head, expecting the roaring in the ears, the tunneling of vision, the white light blinking in the back of my brain. And there was nothing, really. And then, what I didn’t expect: gratitude. Quiet, twinkling gratitude, and steady purpose.
That shocked me. I’m so used to the exhausting fury, the worry and self-righteous indignation. But this time I may have begun to pass the test, to rest a moment in my breathing, then focus on my center, to enter–finally–a space where I can see myself, and you, and shift the focus of the attack.
The thing is: You have been a better teacher than you could ever imagine, and likely more than you intend, and I have been a less than willing student, too eager to defend my ego in the face of your attacks.
You’ve taught me to be curious about the fury that you send my way, to stay within my heart-space, even to offer grace in the midst of your rage. I have found safety that you cannot touch, your cages will catch me no longer. I’m stronger now, and I can hold the net you toss my way, and turn it to a golden thread.