So what are we looking at here? It’s an exposed section of tons of earth avalanched off a cliff near the Point at Windgrove. Approximately 100 feet in width (notice silvered trees along top edge for relational perspective), it demonstrates rather graphically and with force the 2nd law of thermodynamics: entropy and the irreversibility in nature.
But, hey. Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day. What’s physics got to do with love? Lots.
Every step of the way, I will always love you.
Heart wrenchingly sung by Whitney Houston, these lyrics tie in with words by spiritual teacher Jack Kornfield:
The courageous heart is the one that is unafraid to open to the world. With compassion we come to trust our capacity to open to life without armoring. As the poet Rilke reminds us, “Ultimately it is on our vulnerability that we depend.”.
The American poet John Caddy spent this past week at Windgrove as poet-in-residence. At the airport he arrived last off the plane, walking slowly, step by step with his cane; a physical disability the result of a stroke 18 years ago.
Now 74, and definitely feeling the effects of aging (of the slow dissolve of the physical body), John and I spent many an hour discussing how Cupid’s arrow of love is an antidote to the “arrow of time” that points to our ultimate death.
If I should stay
I would only be in your way.
So I’ll go but I know.
I’ll think of you every step of the way.
What sustains John, what allows John to remain vulnerable and with grace in the world, in his world, and not succumb to cynicism nor an unbearable grief, is the deepest of felt love for his mistress Earth.
It is this intimate connection to Earth and all her multitude of exquisite manifestations of form, function and beauty that gives John — and you and me — a reason to want to live.
With stories of personal remembrances laced with humour and holding wisdom only an elder can give, I and the several other visitors at Windgrove this past week were blessed with his presence. Not only was it a pleasure to have him here, but a privilege.
Eating the sting
Caught in the snapped circle of light
on the cookshack oilcloth,
an upright deermouse, holding yellow
in her fine fingers
like an ear of black-striped corn,
a wasp I’d slapped dead earlier.
She stares, belly resonating, round above
a scatter of brittle wing, bits, a carapace —
she has already eaten the stinger —
stares at me, still,
something thrumming in her eyes
beyond herself, a mouse stung
onto an edge as far from cartoons
as the venom she’s chewed into food.
She cocks a fawn ear now, trembling poisonchanger,
caught in the circle of light
I’ve thought myself in at times,
but never sure, I ask her softly how
she does it, if I can learn this turning
of sting into such food as startles in her eyes,
learn to suck pain into every sense
and come up spitting seeds, force poison
to a tear held fierce between my lips
and whirl it into tongue which sings, but
here I’ve come too loud: She drops the husk,
fusses whiskers with her paws, kicks
a scrap of wing aside, and whispers
thanks for the corn,
steps backward off the table
(and so potent she is with wasp)
flips a circle through light and
lands running on her leaf-toed feet.
You, you, my darling you.
That is all I’m taking with me.
So goodbye please don’t cry.
We both know I’m not what you
I hope life treats you kind.
And I hope you have all you dreamed of.
And I wish to you joy and happiness.
But above all this, I wish to you love.
You, darling I love you.
Oh, I’ll always, I’ll always love you.
I believe in you and me.
I will always love you.
I will always love you.
As we climb the ladder of physical decline, perhaps, approaching the top is a kinder, gentler way of being in our bodies. May it greet all of us.