Friday, September 28, 2012

agony and ugliness as a shield

i begin my run today by remembering myself in high school.  i purposefully wore a cloak of agony and ugliness, but not to reflect the world, as some wrongfully thought (even as i often wrongfully thought) but to shield myself from deeper pain.

there were three boys who on all high school accounts, were geeks.  (please know, i don't use this term as a judgement against them, only as a word to recognize they were different, but how i've always been drawn to different.)  they stopped me one day in the hall and questioned me.  why, erin, they asked.  why such pain?  why do you see such ugliness?  oh, i had all kinds of becauses and many of them true, but none of them complete.

as i ran today those three boys became the most beautiful and brave boys i could ever imagine.

how much easier it is to reject or hate the world?  how difficult to love it?

as i ran today i watched the puddles of light in the forest. i was running so quickly compared to their existence.  gone, gone, gone, they were gone! and i was gone by them too!  they were each, each so beautiful.  there is too much beauty in the world.  it is staggering.  how difficult to know there is too much beauty right there always beside any ugliness. 

and what is ugliness if not our own doing, our inability to allow all aspects of beauty?

each pool of light, each tree, each leaf, each beginning to decay flower of clover, the heron with its heavy gullet, the common and yet miraculous crow, this body!

too much.  that is the real agony.  too much!
 

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

again we cross paths

after running in the farmland, as silent and as ordinary as a leaf, another wolf passes in front of me.  this makes three wolves in ten years, i think, two in the last couple weeks.  i am finally catching on to this thing, wolf.  i name it quickly, pull over my car, get out, search for its wake, but find only road, trees.

does all of this experience which allows me to label wolf faster allow me to see it any more clearly, or do i see the animal less now as the animal, more now as only the word?  (today it formed so quickly into wolf in my mind.  now as i sit and remember i try to shed the image of wolf and somehow hold only to the letters of the word w-o-l-f, keeping space protected for the verb of the animal.  i do not want the noun to drive the verb, the real animal, straight out!)

an austere man goes by me on his bike.  i saw him earlier out in the farmland while i was running.  he is straight and sure in his seat, wears a helmet and reflector clothing.  he is so sensible i want to scream. 

trouble, he asks, biking by, not even looking at me. 

no, i say excitedly, a wolf just crossed right here! 

time to get the gun, he remarks and off he goes, still staring straight ahead.

his words fall off me.  i do not want to kill this animal.  i want to truly see it for whatever it is.

i get back into my car and drive home wanting more.

thank you, pink lady, for your instruction

if i ever think i know anything, shame on me.

last week the large lady in her sloppy pink and stained t-shirt and her fat dog walked along the road that i ran.  what the hell do i know of her or her dog?  i know nothing.  i move my feet. i am my own story that i am just now writing and reading.  i will never reach the end to know it and so what can i know of the woman and her dog but that we were all on the road once together.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

a note - a rare leaf

yesterday i ran to be here (you understand? to be here)
today i touch the moment like a rare leaf
kiss the bottom lip
move the bowl of the center hips toward me
it is a basin filled with life

sitting on this bed thoughtfully and present
is no different then:
making raisin bread last week, making love or standing in the driveway saying goodbye
or running the tote road and driving ducks into existence from their blind
i am here, i am here, i am here

Monday, September 17, 2012

further, i go

this past summer i wondered clearly and concisely on a question, how on earth do people teach their bodies to go further?  i had no answer.  i could only wonder.  for so long it seemed my body could do only so much.  perhaps my body was different then other people's bodies.  perhaps my body had very specific limits it had already met.

ten years ago i asked nothing of my body.  five years ago i asked it to cycle a few miles and then i asked it to walk and then it told me, i don't want to go so slowly and so it began running a few miles at a time. 

and then i asked it to run further.  ten miles, i said this past summer. 

my god, i thought i did.  i gave it every ounce i had.  i swore, i had nothing left to give.  i measured the distance out afterward with my car and it was only nine.  but i had given everything!

and then one day while running, perhaps eight miles, i said to my body,  just run further. 

and so i did and i believed i ran ten miles.  i measured the distance out afterward with my car and it was only nine and a half.  but i had given everything!

then i ran asking nothing of my body and strangely enough i ran further.  and then i ran further then that even and i started noticing, my spirit had to run to keep up with my body.  i had opened a door and my body had run through it. 

what will happen when i open the next door for my body?

and what will happen when i open the door for my spirit?

september 17th, 2012:

up the tote road a raven flies along the river as though along a plane of existence.

a heron with a wingspan of maybe 4 or 5 feet rises from a swamp.  i have never had dinner with a heron. i have never gone to a drive-in movie with a heron or draped my arm around his neck.  i have never made love with a heron.  i put this on my bucket-list.

i bend forward and toward my toes in the middle of the road to stretch and a dragon-fly's shadow escapes from the top of my head and flies out along the road until the real dragonfly is born before my eyes.  tomorrow it will be too cold for dragonflies.

a burst of orange leaves firmly exists behind the lumber straight torso of a white birch.  i smile widely!  and as though this were not enough, a quintessential yellow leaf falls for infinitudes, twirling, toward the ground.

as i stretch a very sore body about mile eight a wind takes to the tops of the trees beating its chest.  the ferns are pushed low in compliance.  i wish i had a mouth as large as a horizon to kiss all of this!  a solitary leaf is whipped from a distant tree and i watch it in disbelief come toward me.  it is whipped in the air and then rattled to the ground and down the road between my legs, catching in the green grass just beyond.  the wind cuts itself short and the leaf slides down a stalk like a lover to the floor and fits itself in amongst the many.  it will stay there a while, i suppose.

mile nine, at the river, i take my shirt and bra off and wash my face, my chest, my arms, my legs.  the water is so cold.  the last time i swam here (in the first autumn's reflection) was to be the last time i will swim here this year.  this cold water on my bare and tired body causes me to feel so clean.  for a crystaline moment this possible cleanliness feels like knowledge.
 

Sunday, September 16, 2012

it was not a fox

this is not a story of using my body but i begin to realize that this blog is not necessarily about that precisely, but rather about the nature of body and being, language and truth, and who knows what else.

***

it happened again, that extended moment when thought/language/truth takes time to coalesce around experience.  it was in the fog of the morning moving as a dense body down the road.  across my path ran an object (a spirit?) seemingly not wholly formed, edges not fully drawn, not completely sealed off as thing from this, the other world.  i could not imagine what it was.  i could only imagine what it was not.  it is not a fox, i thought.  a kangaroo, i asked myself comically.  then more soberly, a coyote?  a wolf?   and then it was gone, only its smoky haze of a suggestion remaining in memory. 

i struggled behind the haze of language and definition, perhaps because of limited preexisting words and thoughts, unable to see the real animal before me, this experience not fitting into the narrow language already formed, my personal lexicon of the world.  i did not know.  i could not say.  the word for this animal, for this experience, did not exist as a nail, but only as a question - what was, or as a negation, it was not.  nothing else was sure.

in this i wonder how many times i get it wrong.  i wonder how many times it is not a fox and yet i say, with misplaced authority, it is.  what is this ruse of definition?  what freedom does language grant and in other cases, take away?  (does it smother even our perceptions?) where is the truth?  what ran across the road?  and if and when i am able to label what ran across the road, what am i, in choosing a narrow definition, not accepting into existence?

i think of saints, angels and miracles.  i think of ghosts and ghouls and god.  and then i try to truly think of one thing that does not yet have a name.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

variations (along the trail, yesterday)

at the mouth of the trail four portly pearl-white mushrooms overlapping each other, small clouds hovering over the earth.  i reach down and underneath as to a cow`s udder, blind, and strum the gills, run my fingers down the stalks and to the earth, counting four - just to be sure.

a thin sapling of a tree bent near tragically over the trail since last winter`s last heavy blow.  i stop to note it and think, use the time.  while i stand and consider her i stretch and then notice my own body arched in the same direction. 

ohhhhh, a maple tree`s burnt leaves, blazing books i have to read.  which one, i laugh at myself.  they`re all the same.  but not this one, i think, (or this or that) kissing it and inhaling a single drop of water that erupts and floods my mouth.

almost home, 7 crows, by my eye`s estimation exactly the same, cut out from the plane of trees to my left and lite on the electrical wires to my right.  7 crows, blue-black tailored suits and succinct faces keening into the light, wings effortlessly extended, mirror images of the mirage: crow.

one small finger-bush of clover stuffed to my mouth resembling: beans.

Friday, September 14, 2012

the beaver

i am not a runner but today i ran.

i ran through the woods that i know and love, that have become a part of me, not just my history but my body. my body and the woods have a relationship. i foster this relationship. but not just my body and the woods, but my mind and my spirit and the woods also have a relationship. and i foster this relationship too. and so i ran through the woods, and those who know me might remember that i am in love with the body of a certain girl, the torso of a birch tree that was stripped and laid like the song of a corpse along the trail. i have been visiting her body for a year now, witnessing its changes, kissing it, saying hello, saying good-bye. today as i noted her mother, the tree from which she came, an elderly couple passed by. i knew one day this would happen. one day i would be challenged to choose to stop and kiss her, or pass her by. i nodded at the elderly couple and then darted into the woods. she is just off the path now. the winter was hard on her, the last snow crushing her, spring winds tearing her apart. i count her in six pieces now. i bent low and kissed every one of her fragile pieces, laughing a bit at my foolishness, delighting in her body.

and anyone who is not a runner but instead who runs would think this was enough and they would be right. this is always enough.

but today this was not all.

i left the trail i know and hooked right out onto a road that james and i managed to be lost on last winter. (who manages to get lost in a small town?) i was curious how far it was back to town this way, he and i having gone the wrong way in the cold grip of a dusk in february. i was curious what i might encounter on this road. and before i could finish forming my questions of wonder there it was - a black figure lying on the side of the road. what was it, was now my first (next) question? what was it and was it dead or alive? i went closer to the body and as i drew closer i noted different things. a porcupine? the right size, perhaps. oh, bigger feet. dense? padded? a small bear with its head ripped off? as i tried to formulate the answers to my questions i realized something - when you do not know what to anticipate as knowledge or truth - well, you do not know what to anticipate. knowledge or language was coalescing around my perceptions. i was moving toward the animal and gathering sensory information and changing my conclusions until i was close enough, close enough to discard what seemed wrong and close enough to label what seemed right, beaver.

so it was a beaver. what told me so? all sorts of history and life experience and intersections but it took some moments to formulate this word,

beaver.

i stood beside the beaver. only the beaver and i existed.

i am not afraid to tell you that i was afraid. beavers (if threatened) can be more dangerous then you think. but i was not afraid of the animal, the beaver. nor was i afraid of the beaver's death. i was afraid of the beaver's transition, of his pain.

i was afraid to touch the beaver but knew i had to. i touched his front paw with my toe, training my eyes to detect any reaction. he did not respond. the beaver was dead. i touched the beaver's tail. what a curious experience, what an unlikely texture to my finger. i knew what must come next. i touched the beaver's fur, pushed my fingers gently but firmly against his side. he was lying on his back, his belly exposed. oh! jesus! the beaver was still warm! and quickly i computed. i noticed only a few ants on its body, no decay, only slight rigor mortis, no turkey vultures overhead or ravens, and again its warm body. oh beaver, i said. oh, beaver. beaver. beaver. i was noting his existence. i was loving the beaver. but who were you, i wondered and looked down toward the beaver's sex. i'm no beaver expert but i think this was a female. off to the side i noticed the trail of grass matted down from where she had come from. on the other side of the road i had hoped for a trail to the river but there was none. this beaver had never made it that far. oh, beaver. beaver. beaver. her jaw had been broken. this is important. only her head seemed damaged, and two small scrapes along her front fingers, one on each hand. she had fingernails on her hands and feet, just like i do. i stared at this exposure, at this truth, her jaw broken like a stick and protruding, no longer holding the flap of skin which was once mouth. oh, beaver. it was obvious like this that the structure of beaver was so easily ruptured. broken like this the beaver had nothing left to cling to.

i heard a car coming from behind me and i stood up wanting to hide. i did not want to be seen in such an intimate moment with the beaver but the car was further off then i thought and so i did the only thing i knew how to do - i ran.

i was disappointed when i got back into town. i was only a mile or so out. how could i return to my life after touching the beaver? instead i took my body and used it for what it was made for. i ran into town and then out of town again, celebrating what i am for now, a woman, a girl, a person with a body which, gratefully, moves through this world.))))

***

i have considered beginning this blog for some time. i write it to see myself in the world and to see the world beyond me. i will hold it up as a mirror, sometimes to see my reflection, sometimes to miss it, hoping to see beyond and learn something. i write it for myself. i write it because i am alive. i can not write it thinking there is an audience. an audience limits freedom and affects the authentic self. anyone might come and read if they'd like. you are welcome, but this is not a place of self promotion in any way, not for me or for you. (blogging can be so complicated.) this is a place of being.

i begin.