08 February 2020/Saturday
Sunrise 7:41 am/Set 5:35 pm
7 degrees this morning. Light, fluffy snowflakes falling at 8:30 am. Stopped now. It is overcast with a high temp of 16 expected. The SSW wind is 12 mph.
It was cold yesterday. I took the afternoon off work and drove to Fertile to snowshoe along the Sand Hill River. I hiked in -5 degrees under clear skies. The snow formations in the river were striking. I bared my hands over and over to take photographs. I heard a few birds, but had no sightings. I wore earmuffs and the flimsy hood of my outer windbreaker having forgotten a hat. Climbing the steep hills generated body heat, but I kept my head inside the hood. If what I heard wasn’t easy to see, I would not lose heat sourcing it.
What have I read lately? I’ve read Donald Hall’s poem, “Love Is Like Sounds” from White Apples and the Taste of Stone:
Love is like sounds, whose last reverberations
Hang on the leaves of strange trees, on mountains
As distant as the curving of the earth,
Where the snow hangs still in the middle of the air.
What a gift to paint such pictures with words!
I don’t know when it was I was drawn to words as paintings. I was first pulled to words because they spoke of actions I could own for myself, actions that could break me free —however momentarily— from expectation. It’s a weighty thing for a child to perform others’ expectations of professionalism. I had nightmares for years, nightmares that woke me from the depths of sleep. I can still feel the weight of the waking.
Music was my stepping stone into words as paintings.
When the expectation that I would dance finally faded, when I freed myself from others’ expectations — when I aged out of dance and no one considered my return or remembered their expectation — I heard music as words, and I saw words as brushstrokes on a canvas. And knowing nothing of the act of painting, I was free to imagine the movement of words as I pleased. I heard music in the wind, in the trees, in the heat of a summer day, in the brittleness of the January sun, in water flowing over submerged stones. I heard music as words on the canvas of life. Words as paintings healed my mind…and I felt not expectation, but awe.
Awe is the salve
that will heal our eyes.
And keen, constant listening.
Hall, Donald. “Love Is Like Sounds.” White Apples and the Taste of Stone: Selected Poems, 1946-2006, 3. New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2007.
Rumi. “Muhammed and the Huge Eater.” The Essential; Rumi: New Expanded Edition, translated by Coleman Barks, 65. New York: HarperCollins, 2004.