Thursday, February 4, 2016

February 4: Live Water, Tale of Woe, Catie Rosemurgy, "Billy Sees Stars"

Live water heals memories.  I look up the creek and here it comes, the future, being borne aloft as on a winding succession of laden trays.  You may wake and look from the window and breathe the real air, and say, with satisfaction or with longing, "This is it."  But if you look up the creek, if you look up the creek in any weather, your spirit fills, and you are saying with an exulting rise of the lungs, "Here it comes!"

Annie Dillard is talking about healing, about welcoming the future with excitement and joy.  It's hope in the air, rising on the wind, like some kind of beautiful kite.  She starts with live water.  Baptism.  Memories.  The real air filled with the smell of spring, of hope.  Yes, this is it.

Hope has not been in abundant supply in the last 48 hours.  It has been a really . . . really . . .  long . . . few . . . days.  Lots of snow.  LOTS.  Lots of work and teaching.  LOTS.  Yesterday, when Winter Storm Kayla blew into the Upper Peninsula, my day started at 4:30 a.m. with a shovel and a whole lot of white stuff.  Close to a foot.  By 6 a.m., my driveway was clear, and I was climbing into a hot shower.

If my morning had ended there, I would say that I had a good day.  Unfortunately, I had to drive to work, stay there for nine hours, and then teach.  All.  Night.  Long.  I got home close to ten o'clock, and then I had another hour of shoveling.

Into this wintry tale of woe, let me include the fact that I received some really unwelcome news yesterday afternoon (nothing life-threatening, just a little soul-crushing).  I have been sort of wallowing in this swamp of self-pity all day long.

(Now, let me put my disciples' minds at ease:  nobody I know is dying; I am still fully employed; my car is running and functional; and all of the ceilings in my house are still ceilings.  The news was about an almost realized hope.)

So, that was my yesterday.  Snow.  Work.  Teach.  More snow.  And the loss of hope.  I will recover slowly, resign myself to my particular slice of reality.  For the last week or so, I actually thought my life was going to get a little better, and that felt really good.  It made getting up at four o'clock in the morning almost tolerable.  Almost.

This morning started at 4:45 a.m.  More snow.  More shoveling.  More work.  More feeling as if someone has just stolen my stuffed-crust bacon pizza.  Still feeling the disappointment, but I'm moving on.  Part of being a Christian is believing that there's a reason for everything, that God really knows what She's doing.  I am trying to accept that.

Sometimes, it's difficult to see the stars through the clouds.

Saint Marty is looking for some starlight, for the coming of live water.

Billy Sees Stars

by:  Catie Rosemurgy

Grace's on my lap and staring at my collar.
She's scheming the best way to slither down
between my skin and the cotton without
my knowledge, my deep breathing.  She likes heaven
to be a big surprise.  She doesn't know,
but I take her like low, low star
into my hands.  In my mind she can turn
iridescent and small without much warning.
Once the ache for orbit leaves her, I hold her
up above my head and brag to the sun.
I say, "You're not the only one who
can make fire worthwhile." Without warning,
she's an armload of flesh.  She doesn't know,
but I hold her and I bray to the sun.

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