Tiny Stories, Tiny Tales

Finally an overcast rainy day. One of the nicest things around.

I've been enjoying having a life that's full of thinking. I read and I think. I watch movies and I think. I stare out the window, sit on the porch, go out on a walk and think. Sometimes, Abby (my orange cat) thinks with me. Though today she's been very bitey. Bite Bite Bite.
Oddly enough, when I was having lunch with Jonathan, I saw Ronnie Deverie (sp?) at a Panera in Danada Square. It's strange seeing people I knew from Bethel Out of Bethel. hmmm…apparently he's going to Wheaton College. I refuse to let Wheaton suck me in.
I rather have my sights set on Iowa Writers Workshop or at least taking a class with Marilynne Robinson Someday. She's my fabulous find that I found on my honeymoon on Mackinac Island of all places. Such a superbly crafted writer. I really don't understand why we didn't read her at school. She'd kick the ass of so many pathetic novels we had to read. I mean…not only does she write so extremely tight and so extremely well, she's thinking about God and interacting. In fiction.

I think I should say something about my wedding…and so I shall say, it was very beautiful, I loved the flowers and I was so glad so many of my good wonderful friends were there. That was the gift. To see them smiling at me when I got married. Well, there's Jeff too. He's a gift as well.

With so many quiet but wonderful things going on, it's hard to write it all down. The progress of my novel is great but it's terrible (and I mean that in the old Webster dictionary sort of way- awe inspiring). I have so very far to go and it will be that way for a very long time. I have hopes of maybe chopping up some of the scenes and turning them into short fiction and seeing if I can get them published somewhere. We'll see, we'll see. Right now, I'm just tracing incredible change in one my main characters and seeing what they're up to now- how they're breathing, how they're walking and hardest of all, what they're thinking.

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The Willows Converse Among Themselves

I look across the river and catch sight of the willows, lost in their own world. They have no regard for me. They are speaking to each other in whispers so I hear nothing clearly but I see their long golden-yellow chains wavering over the water. It reflects their light.

There are presences in this world that are not human but sometimes, a human being comes across one of these presences and this is when poetry happens—when we interact with the strange divinity that moves through the world.

I caught sight of the willows and so complete were they within themselves, so beautiful to behold, that my mind stopped dead in its tracks and my heart eased. In the presence of an Other, human commotion becomes impossibly silly and pointless. The past and future converge into the present and there is only now.

I exhale the stress I’ve held this morning as I watch them. The willows, their long hair hanging over their faces, disregard me totally and completely and talk in their slow tree way, something to do with the air, water, and earth. I cannot hear much but what I do hear makes me recall there were other beings on this earth other than myself, older than myself. They exist in this time, in many times, living, dying, always reappearing. The willows hang their hair over the water as they have done for centuries, listening to the currents and moving with the breezes and eddies of the wind.

With a gratefully diminished self, I thank the universe for the ancient poetry that is the willow tree and move forward, reborn, into the bright day.

 

茶の煙柳と共にそよぐ也

the tea smoke

and the willow

together trembling

Issa

(Trans. David G. Lanoue)

Beautiful Dirty Summer

The thick green groves of cup-plants (silphium perfoliatumare) stand eight feet tall and are in their late summer glory. I look up at their bright yellow ray flowers and shield my eyes, the bright flowers sway so high and run so close to the sun. When I squint, the flowers darken into forms without color like the outline of the sun beating through closed eyelids.

I take a step nearer and peer into the leaves. Tiny pools of still water collect where the thick cup leaves meet the stems. It has not rained in the last few weeks and I’m surprised there is any water here at all. For leaves that are not broken or rotted, thimblefuls of water weigh without movement, rimmed with the detritus of summer: a fly’s wing, a wad of spider web, bits of dead grass and portions of pollen.

These tiny pools are water for goldfinches, tiny birds that flash by like rays of light. It hasn’t rained for weeks and this is left, tiny pools of water full of dirty summer. I consider drinking it. With one quick gulp, I’d drink the essence of a passing summer, imbibe what August means, and taste the bitter part of the growing season. This is living but rotting part that underlines all our lives but that no one likes to see, much less taste.

I shift my weight from foot to foot. The sun beats heavily down. The yellow flowers tumble in overhead breezes and the goldfinches live nearby, finding water where they can as the dry weeks pass. My hands drop to my sides and I pass back through the grass, ready for the shade. Perhaps when it rains and all the cup plants are full, I’ll take my drink along with the many others.