I was floating between horizons. The ocean’s surge and swell, bobbing me above and into its troughs and up again enough to see the sunlight’s work on the watery canvas—turquoise, emerald, cobalt, aquamarine.
Through some miracle of engineering, this old body [these old bones] is able to jackknife down, plunge beneath and deeper on the reef. All 250 joints lubricated with the same salty liquid, bones and muscles buoyed and free of gravity’s punishment, stretch and tighten in proportion. The salt sea—clear as crystal, warm as mother might have been; me—sky-swimming, water-flying, finally wombed; and, of course, deluded to think myself synchronized, one body entwined. My lungs are giving out. I am awash with limitations.
I was floating between horizons once again. The ocean’s surge and swell, bobbing me above and into its troughs and up again enough to see how small I was, how silly, how almost free.
Sleeping with the River Under Me
A full day digging in against a stiff wind.
The river was not our friend. Likewise the wind.
Muscle ache, argument.
We could hardly notice the limestone cliffs
with their ancient shells embedded,
So long ago, before the seas became river and
carved and bent its shores. So much time beyond
what can be fathomed now. We existed mostly in our complaints.
During the wakeful night, 33-degrees, grumbling in the small
tent, I woke from a dream—uncushioned yet floating
buoyant rocking with the river under me.
How strange, with all the thoughts that could compete
for my attention, the one I notice now is comfort.
A comfort not noticed but remembered.
Waking Each Day
Waking each day in darkness. But snowlight and starlight. A primeval world, or non-human, at least. Easy to imagine that but hard to make it real. A world without me in it. But that would be someone else’s world. All of us unique in our own worlds. That’s a funny thought. Billions of orbits. Like Wittgenstein’s thought:
Two people wake up in the same room. What do they see? The mountain, the frozen lake looks friendly to one, vacant to the other. The birch tree and chickadees at the suet cake.
“Did you see that! Far off…Was it an eagle?”
“No, I wasn’t looking.”
For the rest of the day they are in different worlds—one in an eagle world and one, not.
The following week one questions the other’s commitment.
“Do you love me?”
“I tell you every day.”
“I don’t feel it.”
“Well, it’s there. It’s a problem with your feeling.”
“Ok, then it must be like the moon—always up there but sometimes lit and sometimes, not; sometimes minor and sometimes full of itself.”
“No, it’s not like that.” [a few minutes]
“Ok, then, is it like the tides? In and out, high and slack and low?”
“No, it’s not like that.”
“Well, what’s it…”
“STOP DOING THAT. It’s not like anything.”
Seventeen years later, something other than knowing holds them together.
Their freedom to have separate worlds. Their love of each other’s freedom.