Aching Cold Morning

Snow Morning Aching MoonHe awoke, as usual, way too early, around 7 AM. Being a night person, that meant he only got 4-5 hours of sleep, not quite enough. But it happened often to him. And since optimism wasn’t one of his surpluses, a heaviness filled him seeing dawn’s early light.

He felt the warm little body of Punky, his oldest cat, next to him. The thermostat was set to go down to 55 at night to save energy, so Punky, now almost 18, always slept as close as possible to his body to keep warm.

Instead he found Perlin, his younger Siamese, in Punky’s place. He petted Perlin, and asked him what he had done with Punky, whose spot he had taken. Perlin just looked at him with that look cats give which can mean anything. “Punky, who?” or “I was just asleep, why are you asking me?” Rather than roll over to fall asleep until a more civilized hour, he got up to see where Punky was.

The furnace had kicked on to heat the house up, as it was set to do about this hour. But the air was still burning cold to his near naked skin. He had almost no fat on his body, so the cold went right through to his bones as he descended the stairs in boxer shorts.

He found Punky sitting on one of the spindly café chairs by the back window, like a little monk folded up in a peaceful meditation pose. At first he seemed lonely to Dorn. After all, if he were human, old as an oak sitting alone in a cold room, he would seem lonely. But then he realized Punky wasn’t too bad off. The chair he was sitting on was right over a large heating vent, which was now blasting nice, cozy warm air, and would be for at least the next half hour.

He approached Punky and tried to pet him, but he pulled away. He rose out of his meditative pose and turned to face the picture window behind him. Dorn’s eyes followed.

The morning was a brittle white icing on a cake which had sat out for a day too long. The fresh snow from the day before had hardened under a bitter blanket of night cold. Tracks and various marks held account of the previous day’s activities. He could see where he had stepped to sweep the back steps and where he walked through the garden to shake the piles of snow off the evergreen branches to keep them from collapsing under the its weight. His car had made two crystalline geometric tracks into the now closed garage.

In the sky, a sharp slice of thin moon pierced the aching dawn. He was reminded of the movie he had seen the night before on network TV, The Day After Tomorrow, about how global warming could create terrible mega-storms which might, in one scenario, bring down the crushing cold of space to earth’s fragile surface, freezing everything on it. But this sky had the promise of life-giving warmth just beyond its horizon, a glow to which the moon pointed, and which Punky faced through the window.

Through the double pane glass he heard a bird chirp, one piercing peep. It was still gray enough to hide clear sight of the scene outside. Most birds were still asleep, he figured. He found the bird, a female cardinal, her brownish red blending with the twisted sticks of the wisteria clamoring over the garage.

Then he noticed that the bird feeder, a covered rectangular platform like a little house atop a six foot pole, was empty. Though he filled it daily they ate it as fast as he could fill it. He knew a swarm of birds would soon be fluttering around looking for breakfast on that feeder. They relied on it, especially when snow covered the ground.

The cardinal swooped to the feeder and pecked at it. It was only ten feet from the back window. Half naked and singed with cold, Dorn stood there and watched. It looked so cold out. But he knew he had to fill that feeder. He couldn’t go back to bed with the lingering thought of those cold birds.

He went upstairs to cover his bony body with a terrycloth robe and bedroom slippers. Punky continued staring out the back window as Dorn opened the back door. As he broke beyond the wall of heat coming from the vent by the door, his skin recoiled against the heat sucking molecules of dense lifeless air. If he had fur, it would stand on end to conserve warmth. Instead, the benign terrycloth did little to help. Luckily the garage, where the birdseed was stored, wasn’t more that twenty feet away.

After dumping a bowl full of seed on the feeder, he scurried back indoors. Punky ignored his shivering entrance and continued to peer out the window. Within minutes the show began as the light rose from within the dead cold snow. Dozens of birds appeared from the dormant scenery around the garden. The feeder became grand central station, with flights arriving and departing in a continuous stream from the hub to all the bushes and trees around the garden.

A lone squirrel, covered in snow like a little kid out in it for the first time, dug for scrap seed in the frozen icing as patiently as a scholar seeking a cure for cancer. All this activity filled Dorn’s mind against the leering void of the the approaching day. Sharp rays of sun now splintered the aching cold morning into pieces he could grasp and hold onto.

Punky turned around to gaze at him with a kitty kiss, eyes slowly closing and opening.

Touching Juice

Moon Rake Over MeThere are places we go and places we need to go. They are similar. They both fascinate us and thrill us and also terrify us. Spiny urchins with unforgettable foibles chuckle at our fear, or knock in the night. (play dramatic, clutching string chord, perhaps a nice healthy 13th cluster, with vigorous tremolo, diminuendoing to background) We fear the unknown, lurking, well… unknown, beneath the surface, beneath our physical lives and in our psychic lives. “Could you pass the pickles? I love those Kosher dills!” We are hard wired to ignore a lot.

Learning is doing and letting. When we face what we fear, we learn. To learn we must let. To let we must trust. To trust we must believe. And it goes on, until we get to experience. When we experience, we find change, it begins to carry more weight. When we see things as they are we admit they are absolutely new. Sure, there are patterns. Like spirals and swirls and hatcheted hounds tooth patterns looming over the surface. What I mean is the raw, visceral newness, like opening a new box of Cheerios. It’s not pretty. Accepting and opening to everything is daunting, terrifying. But it can happen. And it needs to be acknowledged, heightened, fleshed, lived, feared.

Johnny, oh Johnny boy, take me to your haystack and shine your sun on me! Yes, Johnny redeemed me resuscitated me, brought me back to reality, to the reality I sense is right for me, for anyone, to cherish the sweetness of life as it happens, from as early on as you possibly can, to give that whenever you feel it. Johnny hungry skin, perfectly hungry, salient. Connecting with his perfect hunger, giving it back, sharing it. Just for the moment, carefully, formally. Yearning, but with open eyes, embracing, shocked, vermilion snare. There is only one lesson. There is only one lesson. Do I need to repeat myself?

I know when I’m outnumbered, and when I makes sense to give in, I know. I don’t try to kid anybody. I take it as it comes. I flop around a lot. Others may not see it, but it’s me. Quiver, huddle, crouch, scream, rejoice, vibrate, weep, smile, give myself completely up to the glory of being alive, no turning back, no redemption, just gratitude, giving in, giving up, giving over, and finding the glory of just being, just breathing.

I get out of the car and press the garage door button. The noisy motor grinds for 10 long seconds. I stand there, pausing, knowing I’ve paused safely here before. High above the wind chimes barter their wares, seductive questions, partial answers, an essence of music, sampled sirens messages. She swims between two notes, daringly, favoringly. I look up at the great beast hovering over my house, reaching unrelentingly, immeasurably, knowingly, anciently toward the sky. One of it’s great, gentle hands, magnificently delicate hands, at the tip of its long, almost grotesquely feminine fingers, cradles the moon. The wind chimes pause.

Regal, diminutive, she notices me, sideways, alluring, and smiles, looking someplace beyond what I see, across the neighborhood, across the house with the perfect lights. She blows clouds around her noctilucent face, swirling them infinitely slow, a slow liquid, like glass. She listens as I watch. She calls deeply, she shows me myself, my weakness, my perfection, my end. She somehow touches me inside. She calls up my innocence, my child, my hurt. She tells me it’s OK. She lets my tears out. She lets them out from far, far inside me. I stand there, looking up at the moon through the arms of the great, gentle beast. I cry, wailing inside. Not wanting to wake the neighbors with the pretty lights, not wanting to disturb them, wailing silently, for all I cannot do, all I fail to do, all I wish to do, all I am afraid to do. I have so much to learn.

After spacing out at the moon, I come inside the house, greeted by my little friends, whom I ignore way too much, like many of my friends. Why do I do that? Why do I let pass so many perfect, sweet, gentle moments in favor of some kind of thrill, a roller-coaster ride? I get hooked on far out orbits, swinging low, way low, on a glittering chariot, way, way too much.

My little, patient friends, warm, so free, so reliant, so poetic, they know me and cannot speak, they ground me, tell me things, remind me to eat, to sleep, to breathe, to love, to hug. They are so patient. They embody some subtle, effulgent fragments of a great spirit. They embody something, at least to my fertile, lumbering sense of it. How come we do the things we do? How can we be so sensitive and so seductive and so dull, crashing and flopping across exquisite landscapes, barely noticing, just passing, blinking, into some strange night.

I cross the bridge. I walk away from the river into the fields. I walk with the moon, hold hands with a tree, weep with the night, end.

Blurring Boundaries

fall leaves

They slipped over the border, refugees seeking asylum from cold, windy dusks. They don’t ask much, just to rest and fade in some warm, dry comfort. Their crispy, leathery husks lay around, here and there, nowhere really, in the stairwell to the basement by the side door, or near the front door. They don’t say a word, and I don’t mind having them.

They remind me of my comfort, being able to close doors and keep out Weather. I like having them, guests from another world, outside, from a place I experience only when I choose, for the most part. A place I can view through the live, TV screen of my window, watching the onieric scenes of tempest and flare or torpid, white heat or perhaps dreams of sugar plum fairies dancing across diamond sheets. From this cocoon my sun is just right, and frigid, locked air is just a thought, or a line in this phrase, but never asks me for my passport.

So these lost, migrant leaves may motel here freely , at least until my mother visits next week.

The Idealist Gardener

wild gardenThere once was a man who loved to garden. But he didn’t want to garden just anywhere, not in weedy fields, not in rough plots, not in public, busy places. No, he wanted to choose where he gardened, because he knew he would devote his whole being to the garden once he chose his plot.

He searched and searched. He traveled the world. But few corners offered the things he sought. He waited and searched and waited.

The place he sought would be unique. It would have craggy ruins of human history, left over structures of lives past. It would also have different kinds of weather; sometimes stormy, gray, cold and windy and sometimes sunny, warm and just plain mellow. He liked the variety. He also wanted to be far from busy city, with all its selfish and frantic people, but not too far. He liked culture, theater, music, good food and wine. Continue reading


no referer
This moment slices through all time, a slab of breath, the azure of those eyes, the dancing molecules of her hair’s herbal air curving around his mind. There will be no other so ripe as this thin film, sliding through him as he stands absolutely still in the dark, drizzling rain.