you still recall, sometimes, the old barn on your
great-grandfather's farm, a place you visited once,
and went into, all alone, while the grownups sat and
talked in the house.
it was empty, or almost. wisps of hay covered the floor,
and some wasps sang at the windows, and maybe there was
a strange fluttering bird high above, disturbed, hoo-ing
a little and staring down from a messy ledge with wild,
mostly, though, it smelled of milk, and the patience of
animals; the give-offs of the body were still in the air,
a vague ammonia, not unpleasant.
mostly, though, it was restful and secret, the roof high
up and arched, the boards unpainted and plain.
you could have stayed there forever, a small child in a corner,
on the last raft of hay, dazzled by so much space that seemed
empty, but wasn't.
then--you still remember--you felt the rap of hunger--it was
noon--and you turned from that twilight dream and hurried back
to the house, where the table was set, where an uncle patted you
on the shoulder for welcome, and there was your place at the table.
the day ends as it begins - in a glory of colour and light - and then also in hushed surroundings redolent with soft laughter, glimpses of a world entirely present in a moment . . . gifts . . . the simple joys of love, kindness, care, goodness . . . i take none of this for granted, merely reporting to you that it is all present . . . it is all possible . . . it does require work to welcome it all . . . noble honest work.
here is the endless
cosmos, the center
of everything—the nugget
of dense sap, branching
vines, the dark burred
is swamp, here
peerless mud. my bones
knock together at the pale
for foothold, fingerhold,
such slick crossings, deep
that sink silently
into the black, slack
earthsoup. i feel
not wet so much as
painted and glittered
with the fat grassy
mires, the rich
and succulent marrows
of earth—a poor
dry stick given
one more chance by the whims
of swamp water—a bough
that still, after all these years,
could take root,
sprout, branch out, bud—
make of its life a breathing
palace of leaves.”
i arrived home last night from this year's ride for africycle. the seventh iteration of this ride and my fourth. we had an excellent time eating superb food, drinking very lovely wines, and having more fun than you can imagine.
we biked three hundred and forty kilometres in three days through wooded lanes, up and down massive rolling hills, and along the most beautiful quiet laneways you'll ever see. we met really good people.
over the next few days i'll post the stories and pictures of the ride.
this is one of my favourite moments, in the northumberland hills ....
on this, the day when my friends and family reflect back on my emergence into this world, i wish to express my ongoing gratitude to my mum who carried me around for nine months and then carried much of the weight (for better and sometimes decidely for the worse) of my personal presence
to this very moment!
i also wish to express my gratitude to my dad, my aunt, my children, and my brother, each of whom have played such a powerul part in enlightening and educating me in the ways that honest and good people do without really trying!!!
finally i would like to thank my many friends and students who have brought me to this moment, a much richer and more fulfilled person than i would have been had i not had the tremendous fortune to cross paths with you.