Monday, January 25, 2010

Aunt Elsie's Night Music - January 25, 2009

Aunt Elsie hears

Singing in the night,

So I am sent running

To search under the trees.

I stand in dark hearing nothing-

Or, at least, not what she hears-

Uncle William singing again

Irish lullabies.

I stay a while, then turn and go inside.

Uncle William's been dead for years...

...She's so old there's no hope...

...I am called from sleep to walk in the night

And think of death...

...Aunt Elsie is waiting.

I lean close to the pink ear.

Maybe this is what love is,

And always will be, all my life.


I give her an inch of hope

To bite on, like a bullet.

I awake this morning thinking of rest. A night's tossing and turning accompanies the mounting stress and anxiousness of the unknown that feeds the freedom of choice that is before me and mine. Wendall Berry says in his poem "The Peace of Wild Things" that rest is where beauty is and happens in the grace of the world. I have yet to hear Mary speak of rest. Oh, there is rhythm and abundance and beauty, but always there is death and pain behind her words. Her whispered words of love don't obliterate the pain, they perhaps lets us endure it.

I also read Sufi literature and scripture every morning, including Rumi poems and Tarot cards. So I brought the question of where rest lies to my meditation this morning, and drew the "death card." Rumi invites us to "die before we die" so that we may live in love's embrace. In giving up who we are we gain the world. We empty so that we maybe filled, and what we fill with is the whole of existence, which is despair and joy, pain and laughter. The result of this filling seems not to be rest, then, but as the Sufi's would describe, ecstasy fueled by the stimuli of our environments which says we are one in love. The question seems not so much how we bare the pain, but how we bare the love.

Do your days contain rest? Is your rest a hiding from the world, or a strategy that lets you awake and bare all that is?


When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

— Wendell Berry

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