First in a series of meditations on things collected from my life.
Rusty brown and gray-green, worn unevenly by time and who knows what other forces that shaped the here and now of its existence.
Plucked, blind, from the bottom of an icy pool; water, clear as air.
The stone, unremarkable except that it echoes, in memory at least, the stepped wall; water, falling loudly, feeding the stream and the forest pool. Water bouncing off the staircased rock of the wall. Water, plummeting; cascade upon cascade into the tiny gorge; the secret gorge, happened upon while wandering alone in the towering rhododendron forests of West Virginia.
First, the sound of water, rushing, somewhere ahead. Then, almost a path through the improbable looking-glass shrubs, last remnants of their extravagant bloom pinking the white sand-red clay forest floor. Almost a path but not quite. Perhaps a deer’s trail, or beaver’s, scribing a tentative diagram of their wild empire, their invisible existence.
Sound rising as the filter of leaves thins and a splash of sky is seen up and ahead. Sound rising to the white noise pitch of silence. Rising, crowding out all distraction, honing and focusing attention at the nerve-edge of other senses.
Step forward. The air in the clearing; sharp. Everything microscopically defined through the diamond lenses of fractured molecules flung from the crashing falls. Ozone so thick as if a fish, breathing water.
Another step and the screen of green closes behind. The clearing of the pocket gorge, a private room. And on the smooth blue surface, the polished blue table of the pool – an invitation.
Now, sitting in this small room, early in the still-dark morning and late in the darkness of a darkening year, this touchstone plucks a bright chord of remembrance, a quiet note of something shining; another invitation.
The dark is not forever. There will be clearings. A pool – un-rippled by the deafening cascade of dissonance, waits. Come. Dive deep. Seek the silence. Pluck and hold and keep the bright thing, hidden beneath the din.
Here is a poem I wrote some time ago about ‘collected things’ and the memories they evoke.The Things We Cling To