The big conversation that the world is having. Human voices are only the tiniest part of it. Zipper of crow flight against the white blank sky. Syllables of sea birds that float, read left to right, right to left, moment to disappear. Alder branch hashmarks over a smudge of obscured sunlight. Blue slash of shadow, so sharp it cuts you.
In the preface of The Way Winter Comes, Sherry Simpson writes, “The more you looked, the more you saw, but you could never see it all.” The poet Jane Hirshfield says, “Everything changes. Everything is connected. Pay attention.” Two voices that I love speaking to each other over time. I walk along the beach, cobbles shifting beneath my feet. I am watching a group of seabirds continually rearrange themselves in a line. They go beneath the waves and then resurface. Dot dot dash. Dot…… dot. Dot.
Then I realize I have walked a long way not looking at the birds or the cobbles or the wrack or the dogs racing about or the mountains because I am looking at the inside of my heard. Punishing myself for an error made during the week. Rehearsing a difficult conversation. Explaining myself to myself again. Feeling sorry for myself again.
I feel Sherry’s hand on my shoulder, “The more you looked, the more you saw, but you could never see it all.” But you could see more if you just stayed in the right now. You, and by this I mean most definitely I, could probably trip over fewer things. I could definitely hear more of the ocean and less of the chattering of my own ego worrying over itself. I could be part of the conversation of now that is happening just like the tide all the time. The only real conversation.
Sherry also wrote, “I yearn for ways to bind myself to the landscape, to press closer to some essential mystery I can’t even articulate.” I reread her books at the end of last year because I couldn’t bear to not hear her voice. I’m rereading them again because I also yearn for ways to bind myself to the landscape. I am looking for that essential mystery that’s outside of myself. Inside of the conversation the world is having.
Inside the conversation that I’m still having with Sherry.
Even the snow has its part…. hiss of flake sliding against flake. Punctuation of moose tracks. One great horned owl calling to another across the winter darkness.