I always think of you in August, sweet girl. I celebrate the month of your death like a blessing. A call to remember. How fast, how fragile, how sweet this life is. You always inspire. And inspiration – that is heavenly.
Deep in August. Thick in heat. Warm in love. Always learning, always speeding. Jamie’s brain is galloping and glistening and listening to the world around him hum back in a thousand tunes that are all beginning to belong to him. He is learning how to own his language. How to articulate love. How to swallow fear.
I must remember how to remember to treasure.
Seek out community. Stay grounded. But ascend to staggering heights. Reach for rapture, for ecstasis, for altered states. But then sink your feet into the quicksand of reality. Love love and love compassion for all people more than anything else. Stay aware. Stay awake. Observe. Keep your senses lit. Breathe into presence. Let your soul swell into your fingertips. Find joy but do not find dependence upon it. Relish release.
I stood in the sea today and felt all my questions being carried out to see and then plummeting back onto my knees again. I felt all my questions and all my answers. And none of the answers answered the questions.
The truth is the world is a menagerie of wonder and pain and horror and spliced joy murmuring through the hallways of your throat. Life is a bottomless bone in the tuck of your spine. I am always wandering through everything I have forgotten to be present for. But I am trying to remember to be present. To see the trees, the glow of yellow light on the leaves, the hunger in Jamie’s eyes for everything joyful and unfolding. I am trying to see the splashes of August on the windowsill, the heat that mounts in your brain. I am trying to be present for the warmth of this month, the swell of the season and the pummel of things hitting my windshield. The upturns, the downturns. The fragrant downturns dominating my space at this moment. The ways to spin it. The ways to try to make it okay. The ways to try to make an open door out of this closed one. The ways to try to feel inspired. The ways to try to feel whole. Peaceful. In touch. The ways to try to feel clear. Like the world is solid under my feet. Like we all have a future worth crawling towards. I try to not care about the environment, but the environment creeps around me like ivy and I know I know nothing but the mystery of how we’re going to get ourselves out of this one. I know the inherent hypocrisy in everything I do. I know the ways I fail and the ways that others perceive I fail. I know pieces of the way I sometimes succeed. I know my perspective is changing, always and always. I know I am a different person now that I was a year ago. That is not scary. That is wonderful. I feel dropped back in to who I really was. It is not simple enough to say that who I was a year ago was simply a sham – I don’t think that’s productive thinking. But I grew in branches and fistfuls, roots and shoots and tumbles and brambles. I grew in fences and signposts and in barn-fulls of wild animals. I grew in cloud formations and love songs. And it’s impossible to say the path I took to get from here to there. But the here here can see the there there and knows you never step in the same river twice. Everything keeps flowing. I keep floating. I keep learning, changing, and breaking my heart at the bridges. And I keep growing too – upwards, sideways, tiltways and under. You cannot measure this thing called life. And we will endlessly fail and fail again if we keep believing we can measure everything. Anything. If we keep resting on measurements of soul and sanity. People are a messy bunch of light strung together with floss and dynamite. We are bigger, wider, wilder, messier than strange sentiments placed on a value system from here to there. We go here to there to then to back again. We go past brown to black to deep, resonant sound of silver. Over and over again, we go past where words can place us. Past where podiums can position us. Past gold-medal frequencies and failed optic opportunities. We are the opportunity. The opportunity to be alive. To live a human life. To breathe the breath of a brilliant, wheezing planet. We are the opportunity. And I resent being told that I should believe my life is a series of accomplishments fabricated from a post-post-post modern meaning system. I am the opportunity. To live the sacred life. In the beloved community. With the magnificent spirit of Life sustaining my sublime sentience. This is enough. This is always enough. Stop spreading the story we are something to serve the system. Stop spreading the story we are something to attain. We are something worth filling with stories. Worth living through stories. Worth breathing through stories and letting stories breathe through. We are the story. And when will we recognize that that is enough? That this is enough. Just breathing, just being, just becoming (always; all at once; insistently) is enough.
I for one, wish you could feel in your bones what I feel in my chest. And we could hold hands with deep, blue assurance and walk towards the waters of our lives. Let go, fall fast, ride wide, slide fearlessly, and rush by with the river. Whose name is ever-changing and always-being.
Love, love, love and all the spins and twirls from above. All the sparks and dragons from within. All the forest and fire from without. And all the magic and mystery from where-ever.
I’m not talking about masochism… I’m talking about feeling the full width and breadth of the human experience and the human condition. I’m talking about feeling your first heartbreak in the back of your throat every time you swallow. I’m talking about choosing to feel. And all the people that don’t have to choose to feel… That feel the hunger of the world in the vacant belly of their chest. I’m talking about the lovers the dreamers, the romantics who never turned bitter and hard…who kept their valves open like speeding wildernesses. I’m talking about the hurt – the people who aren’t afraid to get hurt, and the people who can’t escape the everlasting existential heartbreak of being alive. The people who feel it. I’m talking about the feeling of feeling it. Allowing yourself to feel. Choosing to feel. Choosing to be human and unafraid. Choosing to open the tiny birdcage of your heart to the spinning slopes of the world. And all the glory that that gives you. And all the power that that gives you. And all the ferocity that that gives you. All the humanity and sublime empowerment that that gives you. People talk about it all wrong… Like believing in the capability and organic highs and lows of human emotion is a weakness or hysterics or something to hold you back from the aimless capitalistic search for undefined meaning. But that’s not what it is at all. It is wholly the opposite. It is wholly being whole. It is doing the whole thing. Unafraid to be fully alive. It is bravery. It is what the world is lacking. It is passion and faith and hope. It is pain and it is trust. Feel it all. Feel anything at all. Be whole. Choose to feel.
I’m sitting at the end of a trip feeling a feeling I’m not used to feeling. After scaling the hills of California, glooming around cliff-faces and sliding past desert valleys…I don’t feel dropped back into reality with a shudder. I don’t only see this land as grey, concrete and dripping with visual pollution. I see a rich place – lush, green, bounding with life. I see love here, and lives tucked away under stone bridges and with curling vines dripping over speedy roads. I see thick, gorgeous trees rife with stories and time. I see history. I see wooden boards fashioned together to make houses quaint and characterized. I see the bricks of Philly piling on one another like a thousand dreams of America spilling forward with aspiration and something worth fighting for. I see my home and it is beautiful. I see my land and it something special. I see my community and it is mine. And it is full of love.
Maybe it’s just because it’s summer. And maybe it’s just because California is in drought and I could feel it all around me. Maybe it’s because my life here is full of so much love right now. But I like these new eyes. And I hope I can remember them when the landscape is barren and grayscale; snow-covered and ice-laden. I hope I can always remember this feeling. This land is your land. This land is my land. From California, to the watery rushes of the Delaware River. This land is beautiful. My home is beautiful.
Thank you sweet eyes.
San Diego night sky and all the promises the stars have yet to keep.
Somewhere soft and silent, dreams are tipping out. Cotton candy thick and wild with cardboard cities. Somewhere elegant and true, I’m meeting me and meeting you all over again and all over again and for the first time. Somewhere sun-drenched and wild, California is stretching out its hands to the Pacific – splaying out some silent, ancient prayer of land to sea. See, see, the water knows the waves. See, see, the sea is silent and complete. Never a drop out of place.
All the world replete with diamond-crusted starlight. And all my heartstrings pulling me towards the earth like gravity on a balloon. All the powerlines. All the highways carving right through the desert. All the soil displaced. All the water being pumped from far away basins gone dry. All the wonder of the sky.
Love is still here in this dark night. Love is still peering over your shoulder, waiting to roost in your hair. Waiting to settle the score with time and the ferocity of grace.
Let me keep humbling myself to that sky. Let me keep mumbling myself towards the road. Let me keep tumbling myself down my path. Let me keep going. Let me keep growing. And knowing nothing at all but the sound of my feet on the pavement that keeps changing. Lantern eyes and loveskin drenched in starlight. Stretch me over the sagging ozone-skin of the earth and leave me to dry in this new morning’s dew. Teach me how to be new. How to have eyes and how to use them. Teach me how to be you. And let me learn to love all the moments in between. The ones that wake you up between the eyes and shake you up between your spine. Let me learn how to love all the moments in between.
Which California sky is the truest, and which will lead you home? Which sky is this sky if all skies still fly in the clear blue horizon?
San Diego and the world is bright, sunny and clear. The ground is desperate for water and the sky is cloudless as can be. Family is strange and strained and splaying out. Jamie is jolting and jostling and jumping and running through words like candy and fire. Jamie is looking out towards the water and letting the ocean teach him about grandeur. I am loving holding his small body while I can, while it is little, while it fits in my arms, while he still clings to me like I am his rock, his sturdy roots, his stable home. I am flying and floating and I am trying to learn every strange piece that I am supposed to learn. Everything is clear water and salty skin. Let me begin again.
Were we always dragging ourselves towards this moment?