December 08, 2008

Reading Aloud

“I will never need to go skydiving…

“I find here and there granite seats where I can listen to the whispering trees and flowing water… I notice the neurosis, the ego, the anxiety is still there, but it is small now and distant, like the ant against the mountain or the bird against the sky…

“I have flown on four swift legs not my own through the rushing course of trees and over the whipping grasses…

“I have rolled my eyes at my own behavior and then gone about it anyway, smooching in the Wal-Mart aisles and tickling in the aspen groves. I have teased and laughed and been very conscious of all the ways I shut down, close off, protect and defend against people who might, only just might, hurt me some amorphous someday. I have dragged out my introverted habits by their tails and held them up to the light only to realize the only one chewing on the slippers and peeing in the house is me. But I don’t scold them, no never that. I just stop feeding them until someday they might turn into little dust bunnies and blow away.

“I have listened to the rain. Some rain drips like the ticking of a clock, quick and steady. Other rain pitter patters like children’s feet, splashing and jumping. It snowed last night, so the land is bright and white, the clouds full and soft. Here and there the rain has washed the land clean, bright green moss over dark grey stone. The tall, tall, trees reach up, and with soft needles, tickle the underbellies of the clouds that skim the rolling hills. The sky laughs, shaking, and rain falls gently down. The grasses smile and wave. It is almost winter.

“I watch people go about the day, warm and snug. Bright colors and thick carpets chase away the grey outdoors with reds and greens and oranges. Warm cups of tea steam and sparkle in the lamplight, which shines onto the crisp white pages and the clear black text of a book held softly in the lap. Water seeps in through cracks and crevices, dripping with a hollow and discordant Poh! into gently placed buckets. Like the meditation bell that calls our attention away from our tail-chasing thoughts. The world is breathing.

“I feel the chill seep in and seek the warm company of friends, the cheery heat of laughter, the happily knit pair of thick winter socks. It is a day of scrubbing and cleaning, cooking and making, thinking soft and slow thoughts, rough and raging thoughts, of washing away the sorrows of the world. It is the day of sad joy.

“As I continue on, I find the great wide world is so much more interesting, so much more perfect in its every moment than all my little mental worrying ants and drifting birds and misbehaving dust bunnies.

“Poh! the water drips! We are here again.”

I didn’t eat much of my dinner. The energy curled in the bottom of my stomach, displacing hunger and thirst and even fear, vibrating through me. My voice was more steady than I expected, ringing out the words. Did it quaver just a bit there? Maybe, but only just the tiniest bit. As I read the second to last lines, I realize they are wrong. Or not wrong, just unfinished, just misunderstood, just always changing. I realize my worrying ants and drifting birds and delightfully misbehaving dust bunnies are part of the wide fascinating world. They are as much of the world as the mountains and the horses and the people and the rain. Yet, I read my offering as it is, only stumbling a bit over those final words as I discover the new ones yet unwritten. And they clap and I bow and sit down again. They come by later, one here or there to compliment the words. I was flattered and I stuttered a little to say my thanks. Sometimes I feel the words don’t belong to me anymore than the landscape belongs to the painter. Other times I cling like a jealous terrier.

But the fact that the words, arranged just so, might have helped someone, might have made someone sigh or smile - well that is a wondrous thing, a wondrous like the wild world thing.

Note: portions of this reading and post were excerpted from a previous post, Little Perfect Present Moments.

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