The wilderness of these things

Sometimes, I lose the thread of myself. I forget what I am – what this is.

Something in the world bursts into flames
and I am unable to get to the control buttons
quickly enough and
I fall.

It happens less now. But it happens.
The nest that I’d just finished weaving
out of truth and memory and faith
crashes to the earth;
another fragile, heart-made thing, lost

the castle that we built too close to the shore dissolves beneath the waves
the lights that we depended on flicker out

the casserole of organic vegetables
and brown basmati rice
that I assembled so carefully, so tenderly
is abandoned on the stove

II

We’d just hung a string of Christmas lights across the salvaged casement window which my husband hung, suspended on wires, from the ceiling between the living room and my office (aka the dining room).

I’d just launched my next kite (I mean, class) into the world.

I’d finally found a tea that I liked enough to stick with.

III

We get attached to these things
these notions

of how things are
and should be

of how things work
and should work

We forget that these walls
that we place between things –
good and evil;
sanity and insanity;
safety and wilderness –
are as fragile
as the skin that keeps the blood inside our bodies from rushing out

IV

We keep ourselves so busy with
working
eating
laughing
arguing

and balancing the checkbook raking the leaves taking out the trash and sinking into tubs filled with warm water;
that we forget –
that we are
floating in the amniotic sac of a dream.

Plus, we are always walking into and out of rooms.

V

When I fell
(like every other time that I have fallen)
I panicked and,
though every explorer knows that in wilderness, the first thing one must do is establish compass points; and build a little lean-to against the rain,
I took off running
wildly, madly
tearing my clothing on branches
scratching my legs on sharp thorns

Desperately calling
Where am I?
Where are you?

This is what happens with exile, when we are lost;
we reach for the people we love

VI

Night falls,
and God separates the light from the darkness
and the haunting begins
the bill left unpaid
the friendship left alone too long
that damn phone call that I never quite have the time to make

the crack of a twig
a rustling at the perimeter of the campfire.

How do we know anything?

How do we know if the things we cannot see are even there?
How do we know if what we can see is
friend or foe? Good witch or bad?

In ancient times, the people were never sure whether the sun would ever rise again. They lit fires, told stories, huddled together, hoping.

We do that now, too.
Huddled around the blue glow in the living room: our window onto the fire burning somewhere a little too close to here.

We lean in; listening;
watching shadowy figures move through the stages of grief

VII

What’s going on?

Is this the edge of a black hole, sucking creation into nothingness?

Is it a white one, spinning us into new shapes made out of luminous threads of light?

We won’t know until it’s over.

VIII

But even so, somehow,
today,
I woke up in the white room,

light spilling in from windows that seem to be everywhere –

everywhere. all at once.

I am never sure how I arrive here (though I suspect angels are involved.)

I opened my eyes and found myself holding onto my thread once more (was it here all along?)

washed with a gratitude so bright
so deep.

Thank You for this place, this home.

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