“And therefore as a stranger give it welcome.
There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.” ~ Hamlet via Shakespeare
I wake early and blissfully watch a new episode of the BBC version of modern Sherlock Holmes. After an hour I got up and went to him, are you hunting?
No he says, annoyed, I guess not, I didn’t set my alarm right.
I know some women complain when their men hunt, and others join them. I was looking forward to the time to myself. The treasure of several days running of guiding the course of my day without encumberance
The day is cold and full of November, the grey swept away to blue and swept back to grey again as I lounge about all morning. He comes in cold and cheerful, but before long he begins to find things for me to do, though the activity of not being busy has occupied my morning.
Are you going to rake the leaves?
No, it’s too wet.
It’s perfect for raking leaves.
I will do it tomorrow, it is supposed to be nicer.
What are you making for dinner?
Do we have hamburger?
What meat are you putting in it?
I am making vegetarian chili for dinner.
I want meat.
Why are the lights on in this room.
Sorry I forgot.
Why is there paper towel on the floor?
Because the dog stole your napkin.
Listen. I am going for a walk now.
Because you are bothering me.
It is damp, the leaves are wet, the rocks slippery, the path slick with mud. My thoughts are on the life of another as I gaze at my black boots taking one after another step. Concerned I looked for her in the list of the dead. Instead I found her mugshot. My mind has not left her since. Though someone suggested it four years ago, I did not let her into my home on that snowstorm cold night out of some misguided attempt to win anyone’s favor. As she stood on my step, stricken, shivering, I saw her as a person first. All else came after. My sister said she would have told her to get the fuck off her property. I told her come in, it is freezing. It was what was to be done and nothing more. But here my mind is caught as I look around me at the bare trees; her personality and character are cold and stark, like an arctic desert. Her company is like uncombed sheep’s wool against a baby’s skin, awkward, uncomfortable. Her judgment of me, always left me feeling angry, hateful. But nonetheless, you do not throw out the known self, no matter how distasteful, in a snowstorm. For she was at the very least safe with me, and trustworthy to her own degree. I never expected to get anything back from her. I am caught though snagged as though on a branch, I wrote that story exactly two years ago. For a class. I called it The Squatter. I am like a hand with an eye drawn in it’s palm. That story came out of me nearly whole. I am filled with the shameful disgust of it. And you see, it is like a record skipping in my mind. How can we know these things? Just as I knew other things, things that no one told me.
I think on this notion that though I would have told you my heart was broken, I see now that it was just the egg shell that broke. Inside was this tiny soft yellow thing, how can you crush such a thing with it’s tiny egg tooth, softly peeping for sustenance? It is a gift of some strange knowledge, the magic, I think, as I clamber up a slippery slope, of all that unknown magic of the physical world. The proof that it exists only anecdotal.
I decide to leave her here on this wooded path. And as I walk out into the field the rain which is falling with a crisp snow sound, chickadees singing, a hawk piercing the sky with its hunting call, I stop to touch the dried grey head of a Queen Anne’s Lace, so beautiful at least to me. I notice the wind moving the leafless trees, they sway gently, I have this comfortable warm inside heart beat feeling of homeness. I listen to my breath and feel the cold on my bare flesh, though parts of me are sweating in my loosened sweater, hat now in the pocket, scarf open and softly moving in the wind. I am dressed as a romantic, as I make my way up the steep embankment, like a character from an Austen novel. Soon my romance will be replaced by a practical thing, ensconced in down and soft wool, layers bulky against the cold. The practicality is a survival technique but best of all to me flying birds soul is the romance of it all. I can bear the Novembers, only practicality makes the colder months bearable.
On the long path he steams ahead forgetting that I exist, I call him back, he reluctantly returns after much persuading. On state land again, I releash him. He pulls wanting his freedom, though he also stops to rest his head on my knee and smile up at me. Hey buddy. I say.
I relish this time, this place. There is something so sacred to me. Zen Buddhism ignores the sacred, says all of this is ordinary, that one should not yearn for the extraordinary. I feel sacred though, on the inside, as though this is all a gift.
Sacred. I whisper to the grey trees. Sacred. I whisper to the wet leaves. Sacred I whisper to the goblin rock. Sacred. I whisper to the egg tooth chick inside my heart. Sacred. I whisper to the homeless, mentally ill woman, whose tragic face I cannot forget. Sacred. I say to the birds that fly from the tops of the branches, into the windy, drizzly, cold, damp November day.