This morning I took a walk at the conservation area and paused at the scenic overlook of the river and the mountains beyond. Unfortunately I didn't have my camera with me at that particular moment (camera or weights? I can only carry one or the other - exercise wins out). I stood at the edge of a high, vegetated, scrabbly bluff which has a steep drop, steep enough that there's a protective wood rail fence, at which I stood. I looked out over the expansive view - skirt of salt marsh edging the river, elongated island ('Middle Ground Flats') that bifurcates the river for a mile or two at this point. A glorious day, and I was just so content to stand at the guard rail and take in the scenery, and a bird caught my eye. It circled in the distance over the river, a very large bird, a hawk I surmised at first. It would hover in minimalist stasis flapping its wings in a standstill over the water - I wondered, is it contemplating diving for a fish? But it never did, it would hover like that in mid-air and then flap its massive wings and glide up the river a bit, along the salt marsh, and back down, and then stop in mid-air again. I was viewing it from a distance - binoculars would have been handy - it had a dark body, brown I think, and a white (or very pale anyway) head. I'm paging through my Sibley's now - was that perhaps a bald eagle? I was -- I don't know how far away from it I was, I've always been very bad at gauging distances - several hundred feet, I guess. The bird was over the river, going through its motions and circumlocutions, soaring up, then down, then stopping in midair -- and at one point a silent white motoryacht appeared from the left, going upriver - whoever was on that craft must have seen an incredibly close-up view of the magnificent bird, which ignored the boat and continued its magisterial airborne perambulations - and finally had enough, or was summoned, and with purpose after all that gliding & meandering & peering took off northward over the salt marsh & disappeared from view. And I stepped away from the fence railing and thought, wow, I have to remember to try to write this up, that was a remarkable sight. And I thought, in rather cliched fashion, wouldn't it be wonderful to fly like that - as I stepped along the narrow wooded side tributary path, to rejoin the loop that encircles the park, and where moments later as I resumed my salubrious walk began my arm exercises where the woods began, little circles first arms outstretched, one two three four five six seven eight...
I intended to clean the house today but it didn't happen, somehow the day got away from me, or so it felt until I let go the idea of even attempting to clean the house - at which suddenly the day felt more expansive. I did some reading, James & Dora, and also of a novel I've just begun reading by a writer whose reading I attended some weeks ago (links later, I'm fading), which I'm greatly enjoying - wonderful writer. And it's saying a lot for me to pick up a novel - I used to be a voracious bookworm, devoured novel after novel, and now - less so, I suppose I'm absorbed in other things that are going on with me. So I'm very selective about committing myself to long imaginative works. Not in a snooty fashion, I don't mean that, it's just that I suppose - well, I don't know what I mean - as though I'm guarding something - I have to be careful of my inputs in some fashion - so that my own voice remains clear to me, and so I'm not in some conscious or unconscious comparing or competition.
Darling, how are you my sweetest? Grabbing a "small handful" (as chalkboard-instructed) of freshly clipped cilantro from a large plastic bin in the old wood barn - the cilantro reminded me of you (well, really, when it comes to it, what doesn't remind me of you?), I thought I'd like to make salsa, I'll have to find cherry tomatoes at a farmstand, and I need limes I think, I just love that spritely little chopped salad with garlic, an excuse to break out corn chips - organic, of course.
Dearest, I am being so Mabel Loomis Todd here with her encrypted diary that faithfully recorded her - I'll paraphrase Emily Dickinson - "paralytic blisses"; I had two such separate ones today, what a blessing. It is just true transport. I was lying against pillows, my eyes open sometimes, other times shut, thinking of you, thinking of body parts in convulsive action, opening my eyes at moments to have my gaze fall surprisingly, cinematically, on a pair of framed images on the yellow-painted wall - they had nothing to do with what was going on with my mind and my body, yet there they were. And I closed my eyes again and - I don't know what I saw - red, carnal, rich, velvety, wet red, and also images of you -- the room disappeared. I did think of E.D., a poem of hers in particular, "I heard a fly buzz" - because some weeks ago I read an amazing analysis of that poem, and it is truly a masterpiece of cinematic compression, an absolute miraculous pharmaceutical capsule of one...
I will include the poem here, and link to the analysis another time.
But there was something about my encountering, floundering about with, struggling for -- transcendence, of sorts - of course, and then opening my eyes at times to take in very familiar glimpses of the bedchamber, the still ceiling fan overhead for example, thin pale curtains...
And all the apertures opened and there at the brink you spending I went -
I heard a Fly buzz - when I died -
The Stillness in the Room
Was like the Stillness in the Air -
Between the Heaves of Storm -
The Eyes around - had wrung them dry -
And Breaths were gathering firm
For that last Onset - when the King
Be witnessed - in the Room -
I willed my Keepsakes - Signed away
What portion of me be
Assignable - and then it was
There interposed a Fly -
With Blue - uncertain stumbling Buzz -
Between the light - and me -
And then the Windows failed - and then
I could not see to see -