Wednesday, June 11, 2014

upon my holy hill: collaboration #2

august 15, 2013

At the end of the day there are mirrors.  A whole wall of mirrors and the tolerant unwearied faces of golden idols.  It's Happy Hour at the Thai Garden.

 Are we happier? I began the day reading the second psalm and went out into the world with my mind muttering the heathen rage, derision, vex them, break them, dash them in pieces.   But now we sit at ease in air conditioning.  Each meal is cheaper now until 5:30. Our food is coming soon.

My lovely daughter sits across the table from me, laughing.  She seems happier certainly.  It is her day off.  Soon her summer working at the lawyer's will be over and she'll back to boyfriend and studies in international peace-building.

We sit in a cloud of warring fragrances from all the lotion samples at Victoria’s Secret.  I have behaved myself.  All day I've refrained from mentioning how much I hate this store, not once carrying on about its barefaced sexualizing of preteens, its belittling of irreducible womanhood into a pernicious pink Barbie-bimbo-dom.   

My grown daughter likes their lotions.  So I have dabbled in lotions. 




Also I have tagged along while she looked at jeans at American Eagle, none of which are made in America. I have contained myself.  Not ever asking the clerks to turn down the deafening pre-packaged hyper-sodium music, nor even gesturing at my ears and mouthing I can't hear you.  I have not read aloud all the Made in China, Made in Bangladesh, Hecho en El Salvador, en Guatemala labels.  Nor mentioned wars, nor politics, nor sweat shops and slave labor.  Nor looked askance at anything.

Because I'm not sure exactly what askance would have to entail.  Plus I'd already spent the morning loading onto my own bike a giant teddy-bear of a tub full of animal crackers for the nursery at church and a surprisingly weighty bag of Super Otter Pops for the water party next week.  Those delights of childhood brewed up by a cabal of commercial interests.  Little poisons for our innocents: sodium benzoate, red 40, high-fructose corn syrup, all wrapped up in BPA-oozing plastic - all in the service of our misbegotten idea of good nurturing.

I ruin my own pleasures with this attitude. I know it.  But something lurks in the nature of things. From the fruit-room cellar behind me that morning as I balanced my load of poisons, there was this luscious apple smell that means even my box of organic Honeycrisps are already spilling ethylene into the air and starting the neighboring box of organic Yukon Gold on the road to rot.


january 11, 2014

By January, when again I've wound around to the second psalm, both boxes of apples and earth-apples have turned to a soft stink and been tossed. I go out and walk my hill.  It is cold and I see no one out on the road my whole walk long.  It's like the morning after calamity.

Was it happier at Happy Hour where my daughter and I wait for our Mussaman curry and holy basil rice?  Above us the long wall of mirrors echoes the giant gilded statues over and over like applause.  Tiny and far away, dwarfed by their huge and satisfied indifference, several short dark-haired people scurry back and forth within the slice of kitchen into which we can see.

As undeniable as osmosis, the obvious imbalance here will bring back the muttering of that morning (a murderous murmur I will walk the hills to some months later, feet pounding out Handel's rhythm now because that's what's been playing through the holiday season)  Dash them.  In pieces.  The mirrors promise to give back a tangle of mangled metal and shards of glittered glass.  Not a reassuring readjustment ever, and especially close to home as, in this case, I am on the teetering-to-toppling side of history.

I don't want to be broken. Nor do I harbor any desire to see any them whatsoever dashed.  Nor have I the least hankering to possess any uttermost parts of the earth at all -  except that part I already do, my little patch of hillside on the westernmost edge of the world.  I just want to get back to that tree from yesterday ~
a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper

and to find it not standing all alone on the hillside but also nearby
a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.
and not far away
a tree in the midst of the earth, and the height thereof was great.  The tree grew, and was strong, and the height thereof reached unto heaven, and the sight thereof to the end of all the earth; the leaves thereof were fair, and the fruit thereof much, and in it was meat for all: the beasts of the field had shadow under it, and the fowls of the heaven dwelt in the boughs thereof, and all flesh was fed of it.
and just beyond that
a very fruitful tree which is planted in a goodly land, by a pure stream, that yieldeth much precious fruit.

In fact, an orchard of trees where every nation flourishes in a blessing breeze
 with fair branches, and with a shadowing shroud, and of an high stature; and his top was among the thick boughs.  The waters made him great, the deep set him up on high with her rivers running round about his plants, and sent out her little rivers unto all the trees of the field. ... All the fowls of heaven made their nests in his boughs, and under his branches did all the beasts of the field bring forth their young, 
Trees upon trees, all up and down the sides of that holy hill.
Marking it as holy.

june 11, 2014








1 comment:

Fresca said...

I love this phrase: "her leaf shall be green"--something good to balance the despair I feel every time I walk past the unavoidable Victoria's Secret window on the way to the [almost unavoidable] bank...

It reminds me of a phrase I cherish from a poem George Herbert (1600s, you know):
"Who would have thought my shriveled heart
Could have recovered greenness? "

Looked it up---it's here:
http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/181059

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