Thursday, December 31, 2015

do not go into silence

 I know down deep, deep like damp, moss covered bricks crumbling at the bottom of an empty well, deep below the surface, something is wrong with me.  It is far too easy to sit. Far too easy to stay silent.  Far too easy to sink.
They say to look inside yourself.  
To break through all the outside casings.  
Dig until you find your truth. So I close my eyes and start excavating....
I would like to say there was something there in the in between but there wasn't;
it was like falling through lint.
I closed my eyes.  I looked deep asking, what is wrong, what do I need? 
And I found myself in the desert.
It is quiet there. 
Hot and the wind whispers of the memory of rain. 
You can walk forever. Stare straight into heaven; rest in the heat of hell. 
You can be.  
I miss it like the religious miss the ritual of church. 
I crave it like the starving yearn for bread.
There is a lot of time that has to pass before I will get to go there again.  The snow is piled high.  The mountains lay frosted in billows and the trees rise black and frozen scratching at the winter sky.
I think of hiking knee deep, lungs burning, sweating beneath the layers of thick protection. I love the freedom of the snow. the recklessness it allows. But I miss the slimness, bareness of the desert. I miss the ground. In the quiet there I find words.  And in words I find myself.        

"Peri Keeper let go of God. His whiteness sliding through her hands as he moved forward without her. She could feel his power pulling at her even as he broke loose freeing himself from her thin grasp on him.
As the great white dog disappeared into the milky light of brush and air, silence held her.  There was nothing but the sound of the wind reproaching the land. Peri watched the slender grasses bow and rise in prayer as the wind ripped over them.  She watched the birds dart low and fast jetting between boulders and twisted witch like junipers.  And she watched the gusts rattling the sagebrush.  Little Pig, Little Pig, let me in… 
She smiled unrolling the sleeves of her flannel shirt pulling her hands inside then shoving them deep into the front pockets of her battered jeans. 

The wind had started as it always does. Announcing the pending sunset, whispering, get your shit together now.
Darkness is the most unforgiving element the desert offers. Unlike light, which can be tricked, dark is absolute. One can attempt to stab away at it with the flames of a fire or the bulb of a lantern but darkness swallows light in greedy gulps and in the end darkness wins easily. Because darkness does not have to be fed or tended to live.   
The first tides of the wind had blown hot like the ground.  Slowly the sun in its pink descent dipped over the horizon swallowing all the other colors of the October desert. Leaving the wind as cool as shadow.
It began to break in steady sets of raging waves. Caught in the middle, cold in its clutches Peri would shiver. Then it would settle and the heat from the sand beneath her feet would rise flooding her whole body with the memory of that day’s long hot sun.  It was like a roller coaster up and down.
She stood patiently. Her eyes scanned the horizon but God was nowhere to be found.  
When the wind started to really bite and the ride no longer fun, Peri picked her path back zigzagging around the desert fauna and half hidden sandy burrows.  
In the last sticky hours of the day she had eaten a sparse dinner, made herself a bed in the back of her truck, and gathered firewood which she would not end up burning.
Even earlier in the heat of the day she had hiked miles with God beside her.
And before that, by lazy morning light read the remains of a book while drinking steaming dark coffee. Now there was nothing left to do but sleep under the coldness of stars and listen to the wind creeping off into the night.  
If it wasn’t for the silence of this place she was sure she would go mad." 

 Letting Go of God, by mlb from a collection of Short Stories titled: Gods of Glass and Other Broken Things (2014) 

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