Thursday, February 22, 2007

Drinking the Rain

photo by Steve Kye - Lake Michie

“…I recognize the mortal danger in the illusion of separation.” (188, Drinking the Rain)

“The major denial of all of humanity to change is created by a fear of the unknown. It is my intention to help humanity to understand that the unknown is the emotion of love, and when we change our thinking, emotions, and feelings we will change the world and make it a better place for our families and ourselves.” (J. Home, iii)

I think of the energy of fear, the energy of love. I did feel the energy of anger grow in me, like a balloon suddenly gaining some air, then, as I felt it, was aware of its surge of air, deflating. I was consciously aware of the energy enough to consciously change it just by being aware. The other day while walking in Carrboro in the relative busyness of Sunday afternoon- the sun was setting, so the cold was coming in, down, permeating more – I came around a corner, walked up the block and around again, and at the crosswalk in one place I stopped, waiting for the light to change. There was a moment of hesitation, I felt the fear creep up, the way it has at times when I have felt suddenly “exposed,” as though eyes are on me, as though I am about to do something “wrong.” It is such as an interesting little pattern. I suddenly realize how this is one more little-big indication of this whole cycle of change, as I have been growing into, thinking myself into, wanting to be open to new levels of this cycle of “thinking independently,” therefore doing independently, a new-found courage, no doubt.

Not just following the well-worn patterns and paths of the fear and being “exposed” in the moments of vulnerability to change, to choosing, but seeing those moments as the awakening moments, the moments of “knowing myself” and my own mind.

Love them and feed them just like they were one.

I think of the courage it takes to change.

I think of the reality of energy, how we twirl about in it, our molecules and atoms dancing, driving forth, some easy in their flow, some churning away, a hard existence through change. Then the filters of light that glide through the air, that shine through us, radiating us, our own pores opening like cell buds themselves, like flowers, memorial. I think of how beautiful a face can be, how the tilt of a head, for instance, resting, thinking, reveals so much in an angle that is memorable, familiar, and endearing in its gravity and appreciation.

I think of the gutsy details of life, the entrails and bark and skin of it all, the fur that flies, the teeth that bare, the blood. I think of the flashing eyes, the spit of survival. I think of the rumor of love, the wish and hope of it like the mists of castles in the distance, those rising walls and thin flags flying, the winding trails leading into its safety. I feel the grip with which we have clung to images of hope, of glistening shores, of verdant fields, and echoing angelic voices. We tend to crush these in our grip, even as we praise them with little sighs that escape, that emerge, emanate from us as the freedom to breathe, to be. Tramping through forests, I taste the air and smell the pine needles in their frosted brilliance. I feel the cold in my shoes, through to my bones. These crystal-bones show me the gridwork, the porous lattices that interweave to create scaffolds, the structure with which we move. Animals howl and moan at distances, and as I close my eyes I feel the sounds move through me, too, the way the wind does, and the chill. When I light the fire, I am entranced by it and cannot keep from looking deep into the coals, the flames, the black beyond. Every light I have ever known seems to burn – starlight, branch covered in snow, sun on water.

Who am I? I am reading a book about a woman, called Drinking the Rain. She goes alone to a small shack on the Maine coast. She comes to know, to remember herself again, without mirrors, without the pressures of her busy life in the city. The sounds, the climbing over sharp rocks, picking up mussels and more to cook for dinner, the outhouse view the best on the island, they said. The way looking at something the way another might is like shining a light and seeing anew. We grow accustomed to our view. What is familiar is what we do. Until we put ourselves into a new mind activity, a new mind-release, sometimes simply by doing. I have been thinking of this myself, the way this mind-release works, the way my energy is, and how it flows, how I go.

Yesterday, in the bright afternoon sun, I took towels and rugs out to the deck behind the house to shake them, hang them out for air, to dry. The little children ran in the yard next door, all about the same size, and I could hear them going in and out of the chicken house they have built there, in the back side of their lot. All was a happy sound, the roosters, the children laughing, their movements with the shining sun.

In Drinking the Rain, Alix Kates Shulman writes of visiting a Budapest marketplace with friends, each choosing their special delights, which she offered to cook, and the entire adventure of it all – the goose liver going from creamy pink to white in its own sizzling succulence in the pan, the mushroom medley in butter, the salad, the crusty bread, the pastries – all cooked things done on a stove she at first didn’t know how to light. The wine, the consummation of it all as they shared the lunch, the time, the vines that intertwine. Then to hear, after the concert in the evening, the overflow of Chernobyl radiation, the effects on food, the rumors, the worry – all is well except the wild mushrooms, which may never recover, their young friend said. Everything is connected, the morsel of rich delight, to the mushroom clouds, and we humans are reaching with our fingers, moved by our minds, to pluck them, caress them, cook them, and eat.

She makes this connection for me, too, in a way that rings true, again. Tonight as I cut up an aging red onion, I studied the translucent rings, the curves of pale white and grey that brought tears to my eyes and a burst of sharp-tasting saliva in my mouth. I thought of the stacks of books on the table, the papers awaiting their next place, the hour. I listened to the occasional sound of appliances, machinery working, some drips. I heard the whole world within me as I listened, in this space. Dogs bark even now, at a distance. I remember the way the music at the concert hall (not the kind Shulman wrote of, but virtuosos nonetheless) permeated me, the sounds of the slide guitar, the high-pitched singing of strings, the loud but carefully orchestrated swing and slide and pick and glide. Then the smoke as it built up in the room, from the upstairs, the way the grey infiltrated me, my clothes, my pores. I felt the chemicals like ink tracing their way through my cranial nerves, the branches filling in, and the atoms pooling together in places, filling up, inflaming, making themselves sore because they had overfilled their air space, their place, their move and flow. As we left and when I got home and to bed, the in between in the cold night air, I felt the opening of head like a big inhalation and exhalation, an unveiling as if of a big new painting – letting it breathe.

The next day I let the air go as I could, branches at a time, leaves fluttering, and I felt the pockets of energy stir, the liquid gel and air-cushions moving and beginning to change. Different periods of the day I thought of this, and sent energy through, and each time more moved and ruffled, moving out. By evening, at one moment, I felt the final release of the pollution of the evening, a burst, a whisper, a bubble, go. It felt great.

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