Monday, October 29, 2012

A paper nautilus was picked up off the coast of southern California a couple of weeks ago, swept out of its native waters by a current that swept it close to shore. That's the story that science tells us, anyway, but I think we know better. The paper nautilus is also called the Argonaut, who in Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea are known to use their paper-thin shells as boats and their tentacles as sails, floating around on the ocean surface and presumably having uncommon adventures. And why wouldn't you, given the example set by the sailors on the Argo, off on a journey to find the Golden Fleece, ending up as Argo Navis in the sky. Surely for an octopus who dreams of adventures the path ahead would be clear, to be a boat and land among the stars.

This is the better story, of course, the fragile exotic knocked off course, not long for this world, trapped and studied for as long as it remains whole. At home I am watching all of the falling leaves and the rain, dancing and drinking and cooking, happy in ways not so exotic but also much less temporary. Following the plan Alice Walker proposed at the end of "We Alone": This could be our revolution: /to love what is plentiful /as much as /what’s scarce." One never knows which adventure will finish in the skies.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

I dreamt of performing magic for a hundred years, together, across lives, of preparing to perform a spell to keep all that magic entangled through the future. All the fairy tales, maybe, or simply the actual magic, made fresh each day and drawn close around us.

As usual opinions are split on the meaning of dreaming about magic, but some say that to dream about performing magic is to predict pleasant surprises and profitable changes and travel, creativity and wonder. I woke preparing to ask the room for the final ingredients, spell uncompleted, but it isn't as though magic and wonder are in short supply around here awake. That's been part of the adventure through all these lives across all those years. 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

A few months ago they punched through the top of Lake Vostok in search of 15 million-year-old secrets. They've spent all the days since then looking inside the drops they brought back, looking for tiny monsters hidden under the ice for all these years. In the end, it turns out they came back with nothing. Undeterred, they plan on going back soon, to reach a little further into the top layers of the lake and see what they can bring up.

I don't know much about drilling, but it seems to me that it must have made enough of a racket that all the microbes packed up their suitcases and made for safer waters. They want to study the inside of the lake in order to figure out something about astrobiology, and I think that the microbes probably want none of that. I think that, if they have lived all this time in all that cold and pressure, they should keep their secrets. The mystery is better than the answers.

Monday, October 15, 2012

The rains returned this weekend, and I walked home yesterday in Saturday night's dress with my umbrella and unseaworthy shoes feeling the spiked hands of summer retreating from my muscles. The sidewalks were covered in a layer of wind-tossed debris and the last of the fruit from the bushes and trees, everything all sticky and sweet and slippery. I have missed the taste of this air.

Not too long before the rains left for the season I walked down that same street listening to a song about missing bullets when something snapped and a burden that I had been carrying lifted for a moment unexpectedly. Everything was in its usual state of turmoil and I was keeping secrets and waiting impatiently and seeing signs and omens everywhere, and the sudden break was such a nice surprise that I ran all the way home, all elbows and knees, thinking that I had just realized how closely I had escaped what had been haunting me.

Of course nothing is ever that simple, or that obvious, and what I had been waiting for for all of those months showed up just after I gave up waiting for it, since as usual the universe is much smarter than I am. It seems that generally there's no way out but through, and if I could I would bottle up this air just now for whenever things might go dismal again. It isn't as though I've stopped seeing signs and omens everywhere, just that they are all happier ones, painting my walls with nothing but air. For now the best-case scenario is simply what is.

Monday, October 08, 2012

I couldn't even say for sure what I've been thinking about lately. Cogon grass, for sure, and its way of inviting fire and burning hotter than anything else around it in order to make room for more of itself. A tiny miracle baby belonging to a friend, born only on the edge of life and fighting along a blurry line next to death. A poem by Deborah Pease about a hummingbird held in the hand and a picture of a wombat and a wallaby snuggling together.

I have been thinking about the crooked forest in Poland, this grove of trees all bent deliberately by human intervention and then left uncut. These trees sit surrounded by trees that grow straight, kneeling in quiet mystery. No one knows for sure why anyone would need such curiously bent trees, and the trees themselves are keeping their secrets.

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

We went to a wedding this weekend in a church covered in stained glass, all incense and wood and hope, the mystery of rituals from a religion I never followed unfolding in front of me. Somewhere around the middle of the ceremony the sun came out, lighting up the altar and the incense and the bride and groom. We all know that one of the things I believe in most deeply is the sweet profundity of little coincidences, and the outside couldn't have picked a better time to show itself inside.

On the way to the church we walked along sidewalks lined with clumps of clover for a few blocks when I was overwhelmed with the certainty that there was a four-leaf clover just to my left. We found it and tucked it into the groom's pocket, although as far as I could see neither one of them needed any luck beyond what they had already made for themselves.