Hello my dearest, many kisses, up in the aerie in my near-altogether, it's just so warm out and the sun is blazing. Back from the conservation area, closes at eight as it turns out. Marched around there with my handweights. Saw the elderly gentleman with his dog, we greeted each other warmly, though I haven't been there, or seen him, in months. Wild white roses are coming into bloom, perfuming the air, and there was wild geranium, with delicate pink blossoms, and buttercups, opaquely vibrant as egg yolks. I am glad I didn't mess up in church, though the Rev. M. thought I had -- Belle, she said, surprisingly approaching me at the organ as I wound up a postlude of a movement from Handel's Water Music -- I had asked for hymn #594 -- not 544. The stuff my anxiety dreams are made of -- I was mortified, and said so. I'd jotted down the hymn numbers she'd emailed me a few days before – my note read 544. Well, no wonder I couldn't hear the congregation, since they were puzzling over #594 – we hummed along, said the Rev. M. with a wry smile. I'm so sorry.... But when I returned home I checked her message -- and - as I emailed her moments later - "I'm feeling just ever so slightly vindicated! You did write hymn 544 -- not 594. However, in the future, I will definitely, on Sunday mornings, cross-reference my list of hymns against the numbers as posted on the board, to double-check that there are no discrepancies."
Ah - life in this tiny parish -- it's always something.
Caressing the details here, darling, trying to, the miscellany of my day. I have had the loveliest messages this weekend from a CL contact in Holyoke, just so very warm & thoughtful, who corrected me as to what I wrote yesterday -- BTW Belle, never say NEVER on meeting one another...(-; And in one of his messages he explained how he loves some of the minutiae I write about of my days -- how, and now I'm paraphrasing him, he gets to know me this way from afar, sideways (a favorite word of mine, esp. since that wonderful movie with Paul Giamatti), or "aslant" - to use Emily Dickinson's word. I do get what he means, and he's a beautifully poetic letter writer himself, truly. And yet I'm the one who tries to "self-identify" as a writer -- well, no matter. A personal, heartfelt, non-cliched, thoughtful, original message is -- well, a thing of beauty, and of grace.
I was thinking of such matters, how there is great substance and texture and curiosity and interest in just the smallest details of life, any life. I have a hard time sometimes hewing to just those very mundanities -- or they can seem mundane -- and yet they're a miracle, the very simple phenomena of them. And I'm not even looking for blow-me-away miracles -- honestly, it's enough for me, if I really think about it, to enjoy so much being alive this very moment -- think of it! we're alive!! at this moment, and we won't always be, and think of all the hidden graveyards all over the place, in this county for sure, I'm constantly stumbling past overgrown tiny abandoned graveyards. But my point is -- wow! we're alive, we're sentient -- oh, this is our moment! And so truly, in that regard, absolutely no detail is too small, that isn't worthy of the most profound attention, even if that's not how we tend to focus ourselves -- and I don't. I have all my senses... and plus my cerebral mind... there is so much that I have to tune out... simply to make sense of the world, or to make it manageable. And most of us, probably, are that way.
I think now of the beautiful film, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, based on a true story, a memoir, of a man who for some reason (was it a major stroke? I don't quite recall), lost most of his vision, and became paralyzed. (I saw it some years ago, and blogged or wrote to someone about it, I don't quite at the moment recall.) If I recall correctly, he had only the slightest bit of peripheral, or perhaps very blurred vision, an incandescently crystalline sense of his own consciousness. The only way he could communicate was by blinking his eyelid in Morse Code fashion -- and in that way -- once caring individuals on the receiving end figured that out -- he was able to dictate his memoir to a transcriber who'd sit with him, chanting "ah eh ee oh ew" and then the rest of the alphabet in succession, spelling out letter by letter -- and then solving crossword or game-show style for the word -- when he'd signal, literally, via a blink of his eye, the letter he had in mind.
Today at the service was a guest clergyman, very young, no older than late twenties or early thirties I'd guess, with his young wife there -- a very attractive couple, clearly well-matched even physically – both of them on the trim, spare, blonde side, and their baby boy, all smiles - revealing a single pair of brand-new teeny bottom teeth. The clergyman is a delight - he delivered the sermon. He is the 'youth director' for the diocese, and I can see why, given his own youth, and great joy & enthusiasm.
(Actually, it was the loveliest moment for me this morning as I hurried in my heels down the road, at 9:15, trying to get to the church on time (thinking even of that similarly titled song from My Fair Lady. Wow, that church -- I think it's literally a two-minute walk from my house, it's that close. And so -- Alice-like, even though I felt that I was rushing out of the house last-minute, late, late! for a very important date! -- by the time I arrived at the church, it was still 9:15 by my watch, and suddenly it seemed that I had arrived luxuriously, langorously, leisurely early! Ah, advantage - Belle!
And I observed, just as I was approaching the lovely old church, surrounded by tall pines (planted perhaps a hundred years or more ago) and an ancient graveyard -- I glimpsed, in the distance, the young clergyman, whom I'd never seen before, outside, in the beautiful green morning, in his pristine white vestments, communing with -- well, the absolutely exquisite moment that that moment was, and before the service was about to begin. I'm glad I saw him there - an apparition, all in white, I'd never laid eyes on him ever before - exquisitely standing there, like a white Easter lily -- and then I hurried into the church, and inside... )
The theme of the young clergyman’s sermon had to do with (of course) the morning's gospel reading, from John (sorry, I don't know which, precisely - the Rev. M. read it all so very movingly -- the very last chapter of John, she said, before she delved into the incandescence of it) -- it was all -- I am yours, and thine is yours, and mine is yours, and yours is thine... I'm completely paraphrasing here. But it was very beautiful, chanting, reciprocal, eternal, circular...
And the young clergyman delivered quite a lengthy sermon, prefaced by a prayer that he actually, in his exquisite very spiritual tenor sang, very movingly - actually, it was spellbinding, as though he was channeling a Negro spiritual, completely unaffectedly, very purely, just really really feeling and experiencing that - connection... it wasn't falsetto, but it was unusually high... and pure... and deeply felt... and thus expressed...
and the charming, enthusiastic young clergyman, with his young wife in a front pew rocking their young teething adorable baby boy -- told story after story, in his sermon, of miracles he'd found in his life, due to Jesus... and they were quite remarkable stories -- very much so -- "do you want me to tell you about the miracles that happened at my wedding?" he asked -- I thought not so rhetorically, of the mute congregation, the scant numbers of which mostly sitting towards the middle back. Yes, I said, from my seat at the organ...
and he laughed, and so did everyone else -- that I (anyone!) had dared to reply!
anyway, he told beautiful, charming, loving, whimsical, tale after tale of amazing tiny meaningful occurrences that transpired during he and his wife's outdoor summer wedding --- it was quite remarkable
and they were miraculous occurrences -- how the bride's wedding veil became lifted, at the apposite moment, by a sudden gust of wind
how a "wish candle" (like a Roman candle of sorts) that went off awry, and settled, still lit, high up in a tinder-dry pine... didn't set off a fire, that might have burned down the house, a forest... and instead - on fervent prayer - extinguished itself, and then even - a bit later - descended, branch by branch, downwards down the pine... stopping just out of reach... where the bridegroom's father, had to get a branch to joyfully and serenely retrieve the now-safe spent candle, holding it aloft and triumphantly returning with it – like a stag draped around the father's neck - I don't know, maybe I'm mixing metaphors here...
So - I'm not at either extreme. I'm not so severely challenged that it is an absolute miraculous force of will to be able to experience life, and in turn to give thanks, and validation of one's presence, via expression. Nor do I look for serendipity or kismet (words that sprang to mind as the young clergyman told his story) when it comes to acknowledging.... well... Love... at its profoundest.
And so I am very grateful -- here I am somewhere in an extremely privileged middle -- alive right now, enjoying myself -- not severely handicapped, and not really feeling the need to 'prove' some extraordinary miracles. Though I did appreciate the young clergyman for that -- for his very very great sense of delight, wonder, whimsy, drawing connections, being so connected, so powerfully in tune, attuned -- ah, of course -- so beautiful --!
but for me -- oh darling, and all sorts of darlings really, some I love now, or have loved, or wanted to love, or wish to love -- isn't it just enough
here we are -- on this most beautiful day -- alive, sentient
tonight's dinner? leftover grilled cold salmon, 7-grain pilaf fortified with chicken stock and a spoonful of lentils for protein, since there isn't much salmon left, and mesclun mix, big handfuls on plates I've already laid out, and the salad dressing's done too...
and I had a very lame CL coffee date this afternoon, that I could hardly wish to be over
the guy was alright, I suppose - but please, you won't win my heart by showing up with a decrepit smile and some horrible NY Yankees shirt, and baggy jeans
but the whole while I sat there trying to get through my iced coffee and making conversation with him
there was the tiniest little sparrow hopping about
very busily in this little outdoor cafe space
hoping for crumbs
so glad - in its moment, of which in its way it's fully aware -
to be alive
you & you & you & you
love you all -- oh really truly