sometimes i feel like
i am a shadow of
who i once was
captured by memories
of the lives i have lived
remnants of songs sung
play on in my head
and i want to push them
out again into the
light of day
it is difficult
to remain in the shadows
to wrestle with what
is ego and what is call
what to dream of
what to let go
to wait for the summons
and still stay awake
and open to the voice
that speaks in
when my mind is a constant stream
running in places where i wish it would not go
coursing through the contours of my cortex
i am the spinning leaf in the torrent
a visitor to areas cold and dark
memories familiar yet strangly different
wall painted pictographs
passing by in a blur
then falling with the bright spray
out into the light
to float awhile
until i am returned
when my mind is a constant stream…
In the darkness of early morn, I walk between the shadows of waning streetlamps and a wind that tastes of coming rain, the sounds of cricketsong and windchimes dancing in my ears.
In these moments, when most residents still lie in slumber, I can imagine I am part of an apocalyptic dream, the last of my kind remaining, hovering within the strange aura of peace and loss the thought entails.
Then I hear the roar of an engine and a car blows through the stop sign near me, as if somehow the law does not apply to what one thinks is unseen. I realize again that I am not alone and that I am not always enamored with those I must share this planet with.
Though if I am honest, I suspect I too at times am part of the walking dead, asleep to my potential, distracted by nothingness, racing towards a destination that in the end holds little value, unwilling to stop and listen to an agenda other than my own.
I return to the safety of the indoors where I spend a few moments in silent reflection of the coming journey. The muffled wail of the train whistle through the window glass is a mournful reminder that I must be on my way.
I leave the table, the surface trembling with the rumble of the passing train, gather my tattered thoughts around me like an old quilt, and step back outside into the evanescent dawn.
Along the mountain roads of West Virginia, I follow a flatbed semi empty of its load, red taillights glowing like the eyes of strange creatures luring me into the fog. Dark trees hang over us, dripping in the mist and it is easy for me to believe that I am once again traveling through Monte Verde.
My cell phone lost signal long ago and so I am left with the wanderings of my imagination and the James Lee Burke audiobook whispering through the speakers of my car. I am on my way to a place of love to sing songs for people both known and unknown. It is a journey I have made many times before singing songs I have often sung.
As I drive, I am struck by the words I am listening to which so encapsulate who I am.
“I don’t like the world the way it is and I miss the past. It’s a foolish way to live.”
If such is the case, then I guess I am a fool and will forever be. Oh, for more of a life of such foolishness.
Suddenly, my phone starts to buzz and lights up with the notifications as the signal from the cell phone tower finally breaks through the barrier of these mountains. I sigh, realizing my brief isolation is at an end. There is a cost sometimes, the price we pay unknown, for what we think is connection.
Then I am turning into the parking lot, familiar faces before me, the guitar case bouncing on the seat behind me in anticipation of song.
I do not believe in coincidence, yet I am still awed when the world outside of me seems to respond to the inner landscape.
This morning, when I open the inner door to step through the closed-in porch and outside to retrieve the paper, can you guess what greets me?
It is the song of a cricket, singing for all its worth, from a hidden corner somewhere in the room!
It is so loud that our dog, who is not a fan of thunder, smoke alarms, or other loud and strange noises, has to be coaxed out for her morning walk.
I am stunned.
Yesterday, I gave my offering to the world and to you, dear reader.
Today, I am graced by the presence of a visitor I have never heard in all of my years in this house.
I choose to accept the gift with wonder.
The cricket is silent now, the gift given.
The recipient begins his day with his heart filled with the song.
oh the stuff i collect
like a storm washed beach
refuse from the everyday
until i am so weighed down
i do not realize that i
am or that i don’t need to be
reflection like the rising
sun above the waters
brings these pieces to light and i can begin to
let them go
the gentle waves will clear my broken shores
if i but open my heart
the palms carress the sky
the shadows begin their rise
in the distance
a ship vanishes into the
light of the morning
I awake from a night of dreams to a morning of frosty breath, bright sun on snow, and frozen water pipes. The memories of my sleep are frozen as well. Traces of the dreams linger, enough to tempt me to remember and to let me know that I have dreamed, but the pictures of the night fade with every moment that I move through the cold rooms of my house.
I hover over the coals of the night’s fire, breathing them into flames. Warmth seeps into my head and I hope it will thaw the pipes of my mind, but the dreams stay frozen in the cold vessels of my brain. I must let them go, leave them in the night, lest the struggle to remember bursts the pipes and I find myself awash in the warm blood of nighttime wanderings.
It is strange, this decision to let parts of myself remain unknown. Ibid on the Id. Whether they see the light of this winter’s day, the dreams remain. I shiver in awe at the mysteries of the human soul and the complexities of the sacred movings of the mind.
Outside, I blink in the glare of the morning sun on the snow. The icy crust crunches loudly beneath my feet. Inside my head, nerve firings spark the pipes to flow again.
February 6, 1995
The sun glistens off of my head like a halo though I am not feeling very angelic.
My face still lies in shadow as do my thoughts illumined only by lethargy.
When one does not know what to expect, existence can quickly succumb to a kind of fearful waiting.
Life is not what I make of it. Rather it is remaining faithful to the little I know in the midst of the unknown.
I shake off the halo, turn my face to the sun, and believe.
Seeking the contemplative forge, I . . .