Friday, July 10, 2009

the far field

on my rides out west of the city i pass big old farms beautifully placed at the top of hills. they command views that are breathtaking across the peterborough drumlin field and beyond.

i have always loved fields. huge swaths of colour. an unimaginable multiplicity of plants all growing side-by-side.

i slow down and look at them. i let them inside me.

there's something about the expanse that allows for a feeling of openness. of possibilities.

even though i know it is a finite space. the finite reveals infinity.


i learned not to fear infinity,
the far field, the windy cliffs of forever,
the dying of time in the white light of tomorrow,
the wheel turning away from itself,
the sprawl of the wave,
the on-coming water.

the river turns on itself,
the tree retreats into its own shadow.
i feel a weightless change, a moving forward
as of water quickening before a narrowing channel
when banks converge, and the wide river whitens;
or when two rivers combine, the blue glacial torrent
and the yellowish-green from the mountainy upland, --
at first a swift rippling between rocks,
then a long running over flat stones
before descending to the alluvial plane,
to the clay banks, and the wild grapes hanging from the elmtrees.
the slightly trembling water
dropping a fine yellow silt where the sun stays;
and the crabs bask near the edge,
the weedy edge, alive with small snakes and bloodsuckers, --
i have come to a still, but not a deep center,
a point outside the glittering current;
my eyes stare at the bottom of a river,
at the irregular stones, iridescent sandgrains,
my mind moves in more than one place,
in a country half-land, half-water.

i am renewed by death, thought of my death,
the dry scent of a dying garden in september,
the wind fanning the ash of a low fire.
what i love is near at hand,
always, in earth and air.

the lost self changes,
turning toward the sea,
a sea-shape turning around, --
an old man with his feet before the fire,
in robes of green, in garments of adieu.
a man faced with his own immensity
wakes all the waves, all their loose wandering fire.
the murmur of the absolute, the why
of being born falls on his naked ears.
his spirit moves like monumental wind
that gentles on a sunny blue plateau.
he is the end of things, the final man.

all finite things reveal infinitude:
the mountain with its singular bright shade
like the blue shine on freshly frozen snow,
the after-light upon ice-burdened pines;
odor of basswood on a mountain-slope,
a scent beloved of bees;
silence of water above a sunken tree :
the pure serene of memory in one man, --
a ripple widening from a single stone
winding around the waters of the world.


theodore rothke

8 comments:

Delwyn said...

Hi Steven

that is a lovely view across the fields - you must enjoy your rides...I promised myself a new bike this winter...maybe later...

happy riding

steven said...

hi delwyn, i love bike riding. i don't have a driver's license - never have (!) - so it's how i get around. i have two bikes - one is my "commuter bike" - which i used for a 500 km trip last year for my summer hols trip - and the other is a carbon fibre road-racing bike which i use to keep my self fit and feeling good about my fifty-two year -old body.
a bike would be nice for you to recover your muscletone and fitness after the moonboot takes its last walk! i don't usually take pictures when i ride but i was out the other day and saw so many amazing scenes that it just seemed to make sense so i'll be taking more from now on. have a peaceful day. steven

Goldenrod said...

And look at how GREEN it all is ... the fruits of all the rain you guys have had, Steven!

steven said...

hi goldenrod, yes, everything is very green and very luscious! the farmer's market is overflwoing with good ffuits and veggies. so for that we're grateful! have a peaceful day. steven

Amelia said...

LOVE this! Wow! And hey...someone mysteriously delivered a bike on my porch today...guess what I am going to finally do again?!?! Sick or not!

:)

Happy Friday, Steven!

steven said...

amelia - see how the world takes care of its own! that's an amazing gift!! the bike thing has been with me since i was four. there's days i wish i could drive but i've got good friends who are happy to help out. enjoy your rides. have a peaceful day. steven

leks said...

How fortunate are the students of yours to have a teacher like you!
Love biking sometimes even more than walking,I need to start doing it again,get back to the basics,need some new source of inspiration,my muse went on hollidays so thanks for inspiration.You have beautiful blogs,good day to you!

steven said...

leks, thankyou for the nice compliments. i'm grateful to have the fortune to teach! biking. well, it is the only way i can get myself around other than walking. i've been on a bicycle since i was four or five years old. biking lets me see and feel and think much more clearly. have a peaceful day. steven