It seemed as if the day could not get started fast enough this morning--I've never seen blue so early nor felt the pressure toward light so strongly.  A woodpecker was out early; birds were in the air. The gold, when it came at its usual time seemed--as sublime as it always is--to be merely a stage on the way to full day, which is what each minute was pressing towards.

I know I'll get used to the light of spring in the same way I got used to the cold gray of winter, the way we all get used to being here. But part of me, from the start, and right now, is always surprised at all of it.  All that one loses when one is "used to" being alive! Might as well say that miracles can become routine, that there's nothing new about magic. What I see in my grandchildren's faces--their delight at the next, unexpected thing, at the twisty shifts of being--is what I still feel.

Each of us is either Adam or Eve, and in many ways it comes down to the same thing.

Yesterday morning I was reading Whitman's Crossing Brooklyn Ferry:


Crowds of men and women attired in the usual costumes, how curious you are to me!
On the ferry-boats the hundreds and hundreds that cross, returning home, are more curious to me than you suppose,
And you that shall cross from shore to shore years hence are more to me, and more in my meditations, than you might suppose.

Not only can one be alive in the moment of his living but--Whitman shows us how--one can look through time using the Present as the worm hole that connects it to the Future and that Future (another's Present) back to the Past:


It avails not, time nor place—distance avails not,
I am with you, you men and women of a generation, or ever so many generations hence,
Just as you feel when you look on the river and sky, so I felt,
Just as any of you is one of a living crowd, I was one of a crowd,
Just as you are refresh’d by the gladness of the river and the bright flow, I was refresh’d,
Just as you stand and lean on the rail, yet hurry with the swift current, I stood yet was hurried,
Just as you look on the numberless masts of ships and the thick-stemm’d pipes of steamboats, I look’d.

The poet's imaginative openness, generosity. and optimistic sympathy--his speaking directly to his reader across time--as if time is little more than the place around the corner, a window open to all to be looked through--comes to this startling moment when the words on the page disappear, and we realize the poet is staring at us, smiling--


We understand then do we not?
What I promis’d without mentioning it, have you not accepted?
What the study could not teach—what the preaching could not accomplish is accomplish’d, is it not?



 


Comments

Allan DiBiase
04/09/2013 9:23am

Nice chair! We have a partial set of similar ones.

Yesterday I looked out the kitchen window when making breakfast. Perhaps I was looking for the "blue slate sky". I'm sure I was. It appeared in the form of a bluebird foraging for food on the pan, wan exposed grass. It bought to mind:

Looking out the kitchen window several years ago and seeing five birds sitting in a row on the clothesline. Parent bluebirds and three children. How they got there all together is an unsolved mystery. Nevertheless, over the next several hours the parents gave demonstrations to the babies. How to fly away from the clothesline and return to it. Both parents demonstrated. And then the babies tried it out. This took hours and not every try was successful. Hours later the demonstrations shifted to a riskier maneuver....flying to the ground and then back up to the clothesline. Demonstrations and trial and error attempts all executed with what seemed to be infinite patience and parental care. This went on for hours and I was drawn back to the window to be amazed that they were still at it.

Subsequently, this was not repeated. But on occasion an "independent" bluebird used the line as a platform for observing the knoll, the woods, Mt. Israel, the sky and the clouds. Not to mention insects.

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Allan DiBiase
04/09/2013 9:26am

that is: "pale, wan exposed grass"

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