22 July 2013

Cloud Life

"Sometimes the clouds don't even look real."

She said it with a mix of wonder and disbelief, one that seems peculiar to children. The statement hung in the air while I considered my answer. The remark had come out of nowhere. I looked up from the road, through the windshield, peering up at the luminous billows perched seemingly overhead. The cloud-mountains marched off in all directions in a radiant matrix. The sky expanded before my eyes.

She was right, I knew.The proof was there, in all its divinely white glory limned out against a blue so beautiful it was to make one weep. Even with the near horizon of trees and man-made distractions the sky seemed like it was about to overwhelm our immediate surroundings. The edges of the clouds were so white, so sharp in places one could not shake the impression they had been painted on.The light in those edges could make one lose ones' bearings.

"They look like paint!" Another declaration from the back seat.

I felt weightless. The car could have been floating, hovering, swirling up and into those unreal clouds. I felt dizzy at her words. Everything seemed unreal, lost on the contemplation of those clouds. My heart contracted around the realization that we, my daughter and I, were gifted only so many moments together. Moments that are precious even when they seem contrived or unlikely. They were hard to comprehend, sometimes, in the mad chatter and hum of life. But occasionally the moments spring forth, luminous and true, like cloud-mountains in an impossible sky. I swallowed my adult doubts so I could answer.

"You're right, sweet pea. They do look like paint." In the rear view mirror, I could see her watching me. I smiled. "They may not look real, but they are. And they are beautiful."

She smiled, and looked out the window. I heard her singing a few bars of a kid's song I did not recognize. I smiled, too, and felt the gentle bump as the car came back down to earth. The sun dappled the ground as it shone between the clouds, lighting up our real life.

21 July 2013

The Garden of Regret and Promise (Sunday Meditation #31)

The plane leaps skyward, metallic Pegasus galloping into the midnight blue. The mind's eye rolls movies of trees uprooted, ripped from the sod with the sound of torn silk. The earth gives ground grudgingly. Woody fibers snap and ping as the strings of my heart break one by one. My old roots ran not as deep as I thought, my new roots scarce have entered the earth. 

The plane vibrates while I weep silently into my fist. Granular tears do not reach my eyes. I'll not give my fellow travelers a show, or reasons to conjecture on my state of mind. 

Viscid heartbeat in my ears above the hiss of air in the cabin. My hydroponic soul feels elation and regret in equal measure. I am weightless in the nutrient broth of the present, dreaming of love like rich loam, dark and fertile. Loam I leave behind and loam I race toward. What will spring from these fields I have cleared? This is unknown to me. My heart has hopes and fears for them both, and mastery over neither. 

The sky is black outside the windows. The ground below I cannot discern. It is the heavens in reverse, stellar velvet strewn with tiny yellow diamonds. My roots slip further from the humus embrace of fields I tend. I pray, as the poet Virgil implored farmers to do, that my summers will be wet and my winters clear. I till the soil patiently, waiting for roots to grow and with them, love.

From field notes written in transit, April 7th, 2013.

16 July 2013


Ten years gone. The magma has cooled somewhat, thick curls and billows hardening on the the slopes of my soul. Heat remains in spite of the multitude of solstices observed since the earth opened up and I glimpsed the heart of the universe.

Ten years. A decade of wondering, of myriad attempts to wrap my head around events of great force and stunning majesty. This has been a grand tilting at windmills, I know. The task itself can only be attempted imperfectly, like cutting a diamond that ever reveals one more tiny flaw.

Ten years. My children born in a burst of light and heat, human-shaped supernovas I cradled in my arms. Supernovas do not last, I knew that then. The evidence was borne out as I watched them fade, powerless to stop the inexorable progression of terrible things unleashed by the heavens.

Yet other things were born even as I later watched them pass away. The rough prisms of their souls fell into my hands, my heart, and on the day they were born, and I became a gemcutter.

Ten years of practice, I have had. I study, polish and cut. The memories have hard, sharp edges, it is true. But they are clear, brilliant and beautiful. I remember my son and daughter, diffracted, like diamonds in the heart. It is their birthday. I polish the facets, practicing my new trade as diamantaire of memories potent and raw.

In memory of the Bear and the Butterfly.