Drips of summer rain are warm soup full of oxygen. They nourish and absorb into the body in a simmering gentleness. Osmosis through the skin penetrates the muscles and is picked up by the capillaries that reach into flesh like the bronchi reach into the lungs. The entire body is a lung, pulsing, outside brought in, inside brought out. Blood to the tissue, what the tissue does not want goes into the blood. A fantasy of generosity in this exchange is necessary until we see the complimentary nature of what we call cellular waste. Nothing is wasted. Nothing is not recycled in the most holy sense of that word. All part of the grand cycle, exceeding the greatest powers of the human imagination as to how long it will take to undo some of the things we have done. It will be the work of someone, some power too big to comprehend to uninvent all we have invented. This is, at least, the best we can hope for.
All this is already clear, and our grief is a shroud, a living part of the air. There is no more need for detailing it with dials and meters. It knows we have flung the atmosphere off this earth, like a tree with so many leaves flying off into fall, with no gravity to bring them back to earth. They float off, seeking to compost another world, or even space itself. Far away from us, but not disconnected, bearing the signature of our DNA. Like a spacecraft with golden language, it will be read at the other end of some vast tide, tides so vast it makes our moon’s power look like a nanobot inside the period at the end of this sentence. How great can tides be? We need only be open enough to wait forever to find out.
It is not too late to begin to forgive ourselves. To allow the myriad roots in the family tree of old stories to dissolve also into the gravity-less space above us. What they will become is not our business, but we surely want it to be. We want to do all the recycling ourselves, but fire, air, water, earth always have a bigger project in mind.
We have done our best, and now the silent and invisible gods will carry on in our stead. We tend to think we’ve made a mess of it, but on their scale, it is a small thing, easily rectified. Granted, this sun has only four billion earth-years left, we are halfway through. But who is to know what other suns are working at, and how fast they recede from us does not inform us of their task. Like cats, like dragonflies, like leaves, they are chasing something we don’t see.
The barnacles of the heart are my domain. They ever snap and clasp for dear life as they sway in my blood. Looking, I think, to recycle things as well. It is an imperfect thirst that guides them, but they too need forgiveness. They are organs of the sea that have taken up residence in my tides.
I am an aquarium, full of lives I can see, but not hold, contained with a fragile frame of glass. They must be attended to in the attempt to try to understand life and death. I skim floaters from the surface who have died for no apparent reason at all. Like leaves and dragonflies all the briny desires that float within in me need only space. If, I am lucky, they will see themselves reflected in the glass, pause, and look back at me, eye to eye. I cannot expect that they will understand me, but in forgiving them for their myopic instincts, I also forgive myself. All the creatures I have embodied on the way to this collection of sea beasts and wend their way through my heart make up my totality.
The only motion I need to stop is the attempt to capture my companions. Best to reside in a kind of serenity that all of us are in motion together. If the whole universe is receding from itself, this shy caution within my glass bowls is merely a reflection of life itself trying to find more space, to draw back enough to see the big picture in focus. There is not enough time to do all this, I do not live on the scale of a galaxy, but nonetheless, allowing all these thoughts to be released, I can see that the galaxy is within me.
At last, perhaps, I am getting over myself.
By Evalyn Baron
On November 4, 2022
Omg! This is gorgeous.
By Paul DeLong
On November 6, 2022
Thank you Evalyn! Glad you enjoyed. 🙂 Paul
By Laura Fanning
On November 7, 2022
This is so beautiful and so really comforting on a grand scale. Beautiful language and images and such a huge, big hearted view of this baffling, complex world. Gorgeous.