Leaves, help me to wait like you do

Let my hands work independently of my mind, until my mind and heart get on the same page. Let my hands work as they were made to work, while my mind looks for some way to keep the work from happening, to keep from being seen through in all its insubstantiality, all its trickery and thievery, its whole mindless charade.

Watch the parade of characters go by: some in regal vehicles, awaiting the fanfare they believe is their due; some hunched over, as if they could hide themselves in plain sight, overwhelmed by the crowd of people on either side of the road they walk down, feeling personally attacked by the laughter and merriment raining down from both flanks; some standing up tall, chest puffed out, as if to ward off attack by going on the offensive. And so many more, a veritable army of characters populating the mind, the battalions running on self-importance or self-denigration, on self-love or self-hatred, on self-righteousness or self-doubt. The parade is supposed to be a celebration of independence, but in this state, under these influences, it wouldn’t make much sense to celebrate Independence Day, would it?

In this state, under these influences, the only thing that makes much sense to me is closing my eyes, opening the door, and accepting the wind’s invitation to spin wordlessly through the air, to bear for a moment the absence of my mind, to let that beast lie, and become friends again with the world outside my skull and skin, become intimate with surfaces and learn from them how to rest in the silence out of which they surface.

Leaves on the oak trees that are even now turning color, help me to wait like you do, green in the sun all summer, for your unwilled transformation into the deep reds, bright yellows, and rich auburns of autumn. You do nothing, make no efforts to change yourself; you stay green until you are changed by nature of some power outside your control. I do not know why you change, and I do not know why it is so much harder for me, who sees you not simply as you are but as a symbol of what I could be, to change with the seasons, to express freely and openly the bright golden joys and deep red passions of a full and vital existence. This past summer, as you hung patiently on the trees, I lost touch even with my own longing for that full existence. I cowered from the endless ache at the heart of that longing. I stayed away from this silence, so as not to let that ache surface. I could weep now at my self-betrayal.

Let this silence break my will and break my heart open. Empty and purify me, make me a clean window. Let ear and tongue be open windows: the ear letting in the wind from outside; the tongue letting out the breath from within. Breathe in and breathe out. Shout from the rooftops the good news. Or lament from the basement the pain of your separation, your longing to stand on the roof and let the beauty of the sunset bring you to tears every evening. I want to live today, and not in the basement. But perhaps it is only there, only here—flattened, split and shattered—that I will find myself nailed to the ground of humility, and pray from here, from the depths of my being, that truest of pleas: help me.

Dying A Few Deaths; Terrorized By Dread; Selfishness and Unselfishness; Nothing More or Less Than Everything, Which Includes Nothing; The Fire That Burns and Burns but Remains Hidden

I can never hold in my hands what keeps me; I could never hold you at arms length or pull you up from sinking. Why should I have kept you afloat with the power that sinks me? To keep you singing I continued to sink, to keep my love for you I left you. To keep my love for this earth, I would sink into it; to keep my love for these birds I would go without sleep; to keep my love for sleep I would spurn it, but do I love this sleep that keeps me from waking? To keep my love for you I would spurn you, too; to keep on living I would die a few deaths; to keep my independence I would go without food or shelter; to keep loving you I would go through hatred.

As you go through you must remember I never said I was terrorized by the dread in your soul, could it equal the dread in my own? I never said I was reticent of your intensity, could it ever diminish my own?

And who is a boy and who is a man? Who still lives in an immature world, where he is at the center? Who is not at the center of an immature world? Though someone might claim to be out past selfishness on unselfish seas; but there he is, alone on the sea of unselfishness. And towards whom is he being unselfish? Is he being unselfish towards himself? Well, that sounds a lot like selfishness. When they tell me, ‘You cannot, but with our help you can,’ is that unselfishness? I believe that is the worst kind of selfishness. It is a selfishness wrapped up in false humility that belittles the individual, rather than a true humility that calmly knows the strengths and weaknesses of the individual self.

I do not quite have the calm soul that is needed in order to let stillness alone to do this writing. Stillness writes out of the chaos in me and I record its words. I wrote you a letter with all the fierceness of a lion and yet I am nothing more than a dove. I am nothing more or less than everything I am, which includes nothing, which includes the fierceness of the lion, which includes the meekness of the dove. I’ve been meek and hard like an oak, he sang.

I’ve seen the seasons come and go, and I’ve come with the seasons going on under me; I’ve come and then I’ve gone and so am like the seasons. I am like the moon crystallized into cold light; I am like the unknown cresting the horizon to remain unknown; I am like the young woman who stands at midnight in the crowded street and cannot find her lover; I am like the young boy holding hands with the girl at midnight on the empty street; I am like the book read and re-read but never understood; I am like the fire that burns and burns, but its embers still remain hidden under the ground; I am not always like you, and I do not always like me. I am like the man who needs reassurance that his soul still burns because he does not have faith in the soul for its own sake. Why should he need validation that the soul still burns? Because he is empty? Because his heart and mind are filled with the long burning of his soul?

I do not know, and I cannot say, what leaves my head when she passes my way. Please pass this way, I think I need you. Some days I’m strong, I don’t need anyone else. Other days I’m like a cabinet without any clothes. Other days I’d just like some gypsy to come around and give me a reason to dance.