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Alternative Culture Magazine

Stillness and Motion, Me and You

You said it was like riding a birdwing in the dark night. We were the little red and blue lights riding, stillness in motion. In such swansong is our beginning recorded, the foreground in motion against the still background. Yet also the background moves; and in this earth-wandering, and in the solar and galactic passages in turn, there is a stillness of each frame beyond, until we go there and whip it too into a frothy becoming.

Breathing, I take the pulse of your blood and elevate it to a supple motion, an undulating welcome of my touch. Breathing, you draw my caught thought down the well to ground-tide, and in seconds flat I am rounded into your whole wonder, our soft fullness of lips drinking lip to lip, sipping slowly the drink of life, until whistling with a rush of air like a waterfall in rewind and play, we tumble breathing, onward to the cliff and final run dancing to the sea. The bird trembles above, shaking off droplets and soaring on.

To dream a material condition and have it transpire!

For instance: tawdry as the ingredients may be (old fiberboard, gyprock and plywood, tacked together on an old outhouse), birdsong now conspires with the hum of modern communications technology to flesh out this bone-some presentation, two months after the first inkling vision from the shower window, and gratified I sit here regarding the gift of creative process from the other end: completion.

In such a way do we create each other and are ourselves created, though more unconsciously than as homespun architects and with the savor of unimagined discovery, with plain and tarnished ingredients, used and unused tools of latent architecture of the self, the opening soul. We oil well each otherís hinges, and open wide the gates forever. How could we ever stay locked in that enchanted garden now going to seed, that backwater pond in overlush dim darkness, with the whole wide and sunny desert and oceans before us?

The geography of the heart: this is where we run to, and whether forested or bricked, we need to fly the corridors, nuzzle the feathers, challenge the avatars of needless worry who pretend to rule here. In this bright morning that gives its tears and soft-sun glories to us whimsically, the bird sings patiently, a lambent figment of creation, harking us to its fair resonance with the accompaniment of insect drone and fanning arms of benevolent trees, or seething tidal flats, as the scene requires.

So the adventure begins, and there is nowhere it needs to stop.

Sitting, walking, both have their degrees of motion, their tendrils of connection. Slow thought, fast thought, poetry and prose, our walking and running and lying together, these give me a sense of you in your range of openness, your skin dissolving into mine, my spirit riding your bliss, I have to ask you, in the middle of the night coming cold from my study to your bed, with my soft lips on your soft eyes, how it could be that we could ever be less than absolutely happy?

There are always adjustments to be made. Your breath catches, anticipating my next move. I wonder: would walking move more thought; or should thought rather slow to the pace of the resident body, coming peacefully to rest in this moment now in cloud-shade, now in sun-tease? I go out, I come in, I do this now and that later, I return with my footsteps alone and in tandem, dancing with your circles till high-noon comes with our appointment at the district dump. There our breaths are held in deference to the rot of rubbish, leakages through untransmuted dross, unhealed residues of accidents and other lessons in material karma. We return home to take our kind repose, to enjoy the laving solicitude of maple, cedar and spruce-stump.

The world as it is: flat snapshot, blue and white, green and brown.
The world as it is: gray brain splashing in bath, pulsing irregularly.
The world as I imagine it to be: after the beginning, when words stream as a matter of course through the tree-body of this self-knowledge. When self converges with self, this stillness is converted to motion and back again in the call to union, and our conspiring fire brings everything in vision from self to Self, from this to all, and all to this again.

There is glamor in the endless elaboration to be had in the head, the adventure to be gained in the setting out boat-full to the distant horizon. There is a certain gentle appeal also in the adventure of the tiniest moment, the wonder of possibility in the opening of choice to infinite size when the stillness is stilled large enough to hold all imaginings.

Your love continues to amaze me, your welcoming into this world of your grace, your all-accepting smile and bounteous laughter. In your soft eyes I see room to grow, to include in the I the you of you and I. On your lips I rest my motion, breathing stillness from your faster-beating heart. From the bird of your wing do I hear the angels of darkness weeping for joy, for then is their pain of leftover humanity allowed to descend to the earth of our splendid visitation, in fullest summer. Unmindful of weather changes, we stride-skip-and-saunter down this driveway calm and serene, because we have allowed what is in the way to stand behind our torrent; what forms the hard carapace of our crystal pool to hold the trickle of yet more upwelling tears; what holds our vision to break apart into full light and starshine, embrace and flying-free. There is a constancy in the motion of our wings, in this migration.

I oblige myself to tell you of this, in a warble of one understanding.

I recognize your own divinity of intention, your own chart of waters near and far.
I bring to your table my mercy, with gratitude for the lights you have placed on my wing. I hold in my hand a letter from you, and with it a snow-flurried crystal ball. There were times of great difficulty and stress, I recall. One child not born was sacrificed on the tree of our love; another almost died, quivering, in our arms. For two weeks after we lived in fear, sleepless, taut, too careful even to breathe. Floodwaters are coming: birthwaters yet.

On this placid lake where we find ourselves in this grace-given moment, I place my trust in you, paint your trust in you and me. With this pulling motion of our oars we move this boat cross-stream, to find what the world looks like from the other side. For picnic there is all we have brought, and red and blue berries for dessert

© Nowick Gray

Breathing Together: Sketches of You and Me

"Stillness and Motion" is included in a collection of essays in e-book format (pdf). Transitions: A Book About Love is available now for free download.

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