Friday, October 30, 2009


I skimmed through a stack of old writing today, a mishmash of works-in-progress that hasn't seen any action for quite some time. As it turns out, most of it means little or nothing to me now. These pieces had outlived their usefulness. They were never meant to be finished, I see now. They were stepping stones, the "nurse plants" in my writer's desert. Dismissed! But some pages spoke meaningfully to me. In this one (c. 2002) I was surprised to find a distinct filament between then and now, the planting of a seed...

For 13 years and more I have been writing... By way of it, I arrive here. But it is not an arrival, really, as in a stopping place, a resting place. It is a station. All that writing...: I have been riding a train, and witnessed much on that passage. But the train has stopped here. I have business in this town for which I have as yet no name. And they will not sell a ticket, let me board again, until my work is complete.

They tell me there are many here dying of their losses, losing their faith, begging for Divine interventions to save relationships, marriages-- even lives. They tell me this region is rife with competition, jealousy, betrayal, with expectation and its sidekick, disappointment. They tell me: people don't see the silhouettes of trees, don't notice birdsong anymore: the shift in the warble those few weeks before Spring. They say they are counting on me. They say that they have a chance if I give myself to them, if I relay my message. They say, however, that I must put it down, write it. They want the words to last.

I say Yes, and step down onto the platform. I have the clothes on my back, along with 40+ years of wits and struggle. But I assume I am sufficiently equipped or they wouldn't have asked me. I tell them I know what I must do, but not how it will be accomplished. They assure me they will never be far; they say, "Ask." I pledge to do so.

At that, I find I am walking the main road which climbs out of the station. It reminds me of Cassis, the road from the shore, up to where I'd catch the bus into town. But this is not Cassis. This is not any place I've ever known, and yet the pavement feels familiar to my feet which seem to know their way.

The first thing I notice is that I need nothing. That strikes me as odd, especially since I am carrying so little--indeed, I am carrying nothing. But that oddness quickly subsides leaving in its place broad, clear, total satisfaction. I guess that's what to call it. In the absence of need of any kind, what is there but sufficiency? The glass filled to its brim. The sunlight, day after day. Water, every time, without fail, when I open the spigot. Salt and pepper for a richer flavor to the soup. I inhale and exhale this sufficiency, with this sufficiency. The oxygen feeds blood and muscles, organs and tissues, building yet more sufficiency.

"Building a happy death," I speak aloud, and it sounds right to me, even if I've no idea where it came from, and not much idea what it means.

I am building a happy death, for me, and those who hear [themselves in] me. This is all I know.


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