Tiny Stories, Tiny Tales

So I was lucky enough to have Hollywood make a mix for me. And is it one of the best mixes, I've ever heard. Well, I should say so far. Because I've only listened to four tracks. And have replayed them over and over. I'm slow sort of listener and like to savor my music and then move on with time. Anyway, it's a fabulous mix and I look forward to the time ahead as I slowly listen to everything and think it all over.

I have to say though…it's odd listening to a certain sort of music anymore. I loved it when I was in college because I resonated with it so well and I still love it. But the resonation isn't there anymore. I think there's a song on there from the group Xiu Xiu's La Foret and they're really tight and really good and they have that sound. I'm trying to think of another band that has the sound of I'm thinking of but I'm not quite sure- it's a feeling that runs under lots of bands, and bands that are very different from each other. Like at the drive in and radiohead and Death Cab (sometimes) and Pinback (at times). There's the tight feeling that comes from good music but under that, there's a turmoil. A tight sharp turmoil. Very pretty, very well done.
And while I still enjoy that sound, my heart isn't there anymore. And I find that somewhat of a shock and almost odd.
Now that I have the time and the love to be at home and do things, I find that these things are helpers to the condition of myself. Knitting, drawing, gardening, writing, cooking- all these things, which I do nearly everyday and improve in every day, all these things mend, resolve, evolve the state of myself.
And the turmoil…it just seems to pass away. I sit on a bench and draw a teahouse, using brown and green pencils and the inward grind slows and relaxes. I cook with green and red peppers and they come out wonderfully- things loosen inside. Break down and come apart and I eat in rest. My words march along swifter and smoother and everyday they march, my seedlings in the kitchen break through the soil and start to grow, just all these things, everyday, they change everything. Everytime.

**There is perfection nowhere but everyday there is improvement. I think that must be the life of an artist- this improvement. This ascension. I don't want perfection. I just want to improve. And that is possible everyday.

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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.