Monday, August 15, 2005

A Great Bulldozer

Beautiful August morning, veil-clouds, papery sunlight. Breakfast of cherries, grapes, toast, cheese, coffee. Black-red cherries in a yellow bowl on the counter.

How beautiful it all was! A day of clear hours ahead, clear work and rest and play, and I put on music, an old friend playing the guitar.

All at once, in a minute, it all crashed in – how beautiful it all is. The green wind-spinner turning silent and slow outside the window. Little blood-coloured roses packed tight on the end of a little branch. The guitar, the construction of its sound piercing: vibration, air sculpted, hands, wood, metal and air making an ephemeral sculpture, right then, in my head.

A cherry bitten in half, bloody-sweet flesh nesting the stony heart.

It was all just too much, in that minute, and my head craned down over my bowl of cherry pits – wine-dark smears on white, beautiful! – and I cried. For a minute I thought I would never stop crying.

While all this beauty – “all this juice and all this joy” -- broke in waves, gathered in sheets of blessed unbroken order and sang over the breakfast table, I knew so many places, my heart not excluded, where pain, fear, broken love and confusion felt as if they threw black paint over this perfect summer morning. Division, death, regret, have their claws in me, and you too if you’ll tell the truth of it.

The beauty was, for a minute, hateful to me in the face of the tangled mess of our torn hearts. For beauty goes on, you see, blossoms and thrives, branches multiform, fractal, in every direction at every moment. It’s air. It’s breath. It’s a great bulldozer. I loved it at the very moment it was about to wipe me right off the earth. It’s awful, I thought, it’s terrible, in the old sense of those words: awe, terror, a smothering, crushing reverence. God must hate us, I thought, I felt. He must really hate us.

But, if we can let it, beauty grows down into us, awful, terrible, inexorable, like millions of roots stabbing down into the earth. We are the soil (are but dust!) that beauty, order, interrupt and displace with their awful searching roots. And it must be so. Without this downthrust, this terrible burrowing love that, because we are earth, feels like hatred, without this love, nothing can grow.


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At 6:11 am, October 31, 2005, Blogger Paula said...

So...ummm...that was beautiful (she said wryly).

August was awhile ago, my sweet. When will you break my heart with words again?


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