catch and release

A wasp in the window and the guest perspective –

the danger of your own violence or the strength of the kindness that drives you to help a friend in deed.

“Not one lover will I love.”

But trust –

the pollinators and the weeds,

the pigment on the page,

the word in the Dream.

I place my faith in tending to the unbent branches that yet grow.

What lies broken below –

let it go,

let it go.

Whence the Magicians of Myddfai?

In the sacred morning we grow new habits so strong

that the song precedes the song.

Before the needle drops.

And what is ritual but a compulsion toward alignment

with the gods known and unknown,

the ones whose absence thins our blood,

the ones we shun.

And we are bound and a rebound to this thing simultaneously

of and not of

our own making.

(Depends how far you see.)

You see?

We

were not meant to be thus.

Thus,

what even are we?

The women in the water tried to teach it then receded.

The patriarchs of the word called them mermaids –

fantastical –

and so dismissed Our need to heed their Song.

They demanded silence.

They turned their backs.

And we too –

still –

are turning  day to day unto the final Fall.

Then,

what even will we be?

comeuppance

Let’s color the moon

(but what IS the color of brokenheartedness?—

a desiccated gray?

blue?

SOME sickly hue).

Oh you showed THEM.

Didn’t you though?

You showed everyone,

(how I became an afterthought,

lower-case loved)

turned your back

(the hardest lessons repeat themselves)

and walked away.

Go Fish

… after ‘mastodons’ ‘however long it takes’ – funeral bonsai wedding …

Busy, rest.

Busy, rest.

Busy, rest.

Wistful, engaged.

All the fish in the sea, See?

(rapidly diminishing)

We go with the flow:

expect nothing,

wait for nothing,

choose nothing,

say nothing,

Feel…

It is all around you.

It is coming from everywhere.

Stop watching for its return.

Wait,

and See.

mirage

The goldfinch bathes.

The robins are singing vespers.

Here again, our evening rituals.

And there was love.

And there is love.

And there will be,

but stop.

Moment to moment.

I am not trying to trick you with words.

I cannot say what I mean.

I only want to tell you

how I was like water –

how I sat without waiting and watched as the light left –

how I was bathed in gray until I became something barely known or seen.

I only want you to know,

once,

I was here.

where it hurts

It is nothing more

than that I miss

the correspondence.

It is a special thing,

to be reduced to tears.

It is May,

up with the sun in my eye,

a routine begun but to pause –

-Chopin, Ballade No. 1-

Out back beyond the fence

there is still frost on the grass.

The thin glass between us.

Only the bees still seek communion.

One by one I release them.

Be grateful.

You must be grateful.

Be grateful that you still can feel.

Sour

The unmet eye met

by yet another sun-day sunrise.

It is not the silence of the Voice that stops the bleeding.

How could it be when it never stops?

It speaks of resentment,

regret –

all the Failure we Won’t forget:

How I came to rely on the strength of language Alone to bend the path and,

finally,

stopped getting everything I wanted.

How you need a broken heart to speak.

Someone’s.

Oh! you Angels,

you Ancestors,

you guides and gods –

how You persist!

I willingly entered the brooding dark when I finally saw it in the light of day.

I cannot endure any more falling.

And yet –

here I am,

again Listening,

even knowing the danger.

It Is Always Thursday

I find that meaningfulness slips away, in this strange and timeless time.

Timeless time?

It is not just that every day is Thursday—nose still to the grindstone but you’re flagging, looking forward to some future easing of the tension. It is more than that.

It is the abrupt unmooring from all of the things that anchor us to the continuum.

At the beginning of the initial lockdown period at the end of March, I turned off my alarm clock. I figured, why?

These pandemic days have their own flow. I float from duty to duty. Responsibility to responsibility. To the child. To my home. To the dog. To my work. To my body and mind, if I still can drum up some oomph.

I believed, at the beginning, that I would have so. much. time. To be creative. To engage in something new. To do something different.

But I find that much of that extra time is spent in a sort of uneasy repose.

There are regularities, to be sure. Every morning, there is coffee with the New York Times crossword (270 solved in a row, as of this morning) and word puzzles. There is the feeding of the dog and child. There is a single record, the first side spent in general straightening, the second spent watering plants (Paul Simon’s ‘Graceland’ this morning).

(These things are necessary. The only real routine I can commit to, for now.)

Then the workday begins.

It sounds as though that’s a late start, but even without the alarm clock, I never sleep later than 6, so I am almost always working by 9, which is also when school begins. Band is first.

The flute warmup sounds like morning.

The workday is far less straightforward. I don’t try to cram it all into an 8-hour (or less) time slot in order to finish and get home. I work until I lose focus, and then I do something else. Walk the dog. Bake cookies. Hang some laundry up to dry. And then I work some more. And maybe nap. And work. And cook.

(No doom scrolling. No doom scrolling. No doom scrolling.)

There has been a lot of doom scrolling.

There also has been a lot of sleep, at all times of the day. And often I am asleep well before 10 o’clock. More than often.

Beyond the formless days, there are so few Events to mark the past eight or more months. So very few interactions to work their way around my head. So few meaningful and useful provocations. So little stands out, and the few happenings that do adhere seem almost a dream, compared to the nuts-and-bolts, day-to-day grind.

The timeless time.

Meaningfulness slips away, and I grasp for every sense of Something More that I can get.

Yesterday morning, I opened the front door, and a red-breasted nuthatch flew so close I could feel the air it stirred. It alit on a branch of the gnarled lilac that soldiers on by the front porch.

I think I said, “Oh my!”

And then, “Well, hello.”

We contemplated each other for a minute, then simultaneously grew nervous, and it flew away.

About 20 minutes later, as I was walking the dog around the Marsh, two deer marched right out of the firebreak and came straight at me, as though they knew I would not hurt them. As though I were one of them. Unwary. The dog, a good companion for Outside, stayed very still and quiet, as always. Watchful, but unobtrusive.

They startled to something behind that I could not see, and passed us closely. Again, so close I could feel the air they stirred. The hairs stood up on my arms.

These are the Events now. These minute interactions with the immediate neighborhood, and most of it not human.

This is what to grasp and hold onto like driftwood amid these waves of timeless time.

Until there is some shore, or the waves pull us below, this will have to do.

Last

We are small astronomers, and it is our last sunny day.

There is a chill creeping in, these mornings.

You have outside chores.

I sweep. I water plants. I hang the laundry out on the line. It is my method in the madness.

But I think I get it now.

(I do not want to.)

I do.

Do not test this theory against our darkness.

Keep us in the light. Make us last.

How we make it a constant amidst the ebb-and-flow.

Let the fall take us, as it does.

We can take it.

fieldnotes 8.22.17

Follow

When you think the falling finished,
you find it’s just begun.

You changed your face,
leaned back in your chair,
turned over one hand and I was caught.

The effect of gravity —
balanced on the wire between yourself and the world,
and fanning the flame of a disastrous crash.

We put on a good show.
We say what is true,
but behind a facade.
Eyes lowered.

Kicking and stomping where no one can see I get heartsore and I mean sore of heart like a bruise tender to touch and a pulling tide so fierce I look for the rope to break.

So I lie and say what never will be,
because the never already is,
even if only obliquely.
And the cottonwoods are half gone —
at once, as it is with me.
I stopped and started giving it all up.
I stopped and started giving it all away.

We are still closer to the moon than the sun-our-one-true-love.

How you arrived in its final crescendo.
How I followed behind, in the fade.



8.22.17

(81/66, windy)

chickadees. blue heron. sandhill crane. wood ducks and grebes. bluejay. baby bunnies, still. goldenrod’s just about to pop, here. gray and lovely. cool and breezy. a catbird. little group of kingbirds. robins. hummingbird. sun for a second. fuzzy fluffy thistles. raspberries done. ghost in a daydream. indiangrass blooming. goldfinches. walnuts starting to turn. leopard frog. coopers hawk. huh… a woolly bear.


about fieldnotes

fieldnotes was written at the Marsh beginning Sept. 26, 2016 and ending near the same time in the following year, collected in memo books over the course of many rambling walks.
Beginning on Sept. 26, 2019, three years after the writing, fieldnotes will be published in its entirety, with posts appearing as the corresponding write-dates occur.
(at least to the best of my ability)