still writing my way home

the mockingbird has lighted once again, this time practically face to face
with me, clinging with his talons to the screen on the other side of the
basement window at which i sit, just below ground level. as i sit here, like
a gopher poking my head out of its hole, my eyes barely skim the surface of
the earth if i sit up tall. mostly i see a narrow strip of sky, before it is
blocked by the underside of the deck which sits above these windows, but i
can see the tops of trees silhouetted against its blue, and the purple ridge
that marks its lower border behind them. i can see the steeple of the 19th
century church…the one i used to walk to late at night when i first began
having these conversations with god….and across the field the roofline of
the clapboard barn  that was left behind when the old stone one burnt. to my
right, beyond my field of vision, its pile of debris, pushed back into the
field, rises like a monument to what was, marking the grief of the old
farmer who could not bear to experience his loss, sold his acreage, passed
the farmhouse along to his son, and yearns for the day when what was once
the foundation of his life becomes the framework of something new. i also am
aware of the graveyard that rises to my left, in the field that stretches
gracefully along the curve of road between the church and this new
neighborhood. so many have lived, and died, between the two.

closer, the leaves of the young oak hang fast against the blistering wind,
which likewise rocks the sunny yellow swing, where lovers sit on summer
evenings serenaded by the sparkling silence of starlight above and fireflies
below. dangling from the swing’s support, the weather-beaten wooden chime is
being whipped some more, even as the sole remaining pipe, hanging from its
tattered strands, intones its hollow song. skeletons of summer blooms no
longer soften the edges of the solid beams that support my deck, yet still
somehow provide the framework, against the backdrop of these passing winter
clouds, for the starkness of this threadbare beauty. unobstructed by the
presence of things growing, the brilliance of the sun is reflected strongly
in these pools that cross my winter sky, captured gracefully by their

…..i have just returned from the first floor, where i went to refill my
cup, and there he was again, this visitor of mine who comes to tap upon my
windows, now beating on the glass kitchen door, and again, as i climbed the
steps to use the upstairs bathroom, he came around with me to knock upon the
window at the landing. i wonder where he has been this past month or so, or
if it was me who was away, off attending to some other business. again i am
left wondering what is the message he bears.

this morning, i can say only that he drew me to these things i know, invited
me to attend more closely to what is here. i choose to seek no meaning
greater than this, that he is my companion for a time, and that i am here.
there is no truth more profound upon which i wish to tether.

the clouds have grown thicker in the sky

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