Ecstasy is identity with all existence +
There was a pain of loss - a loss of what - I wondered. Understanding so little.
I am in a new terrain, the topography of which is undulating and moves from flat to a graduating, slow climb into what the locals call "the foothills." Bluffs covered over in desert vegetation - prairie sage, little larkspur, Western sweetvetch, blue flax and an assortment of fescues. And dry, loose ground. And on the other side of this, looking eastward, a view of land pushed steeply upward millions of years ago. Bogus basin, lucky peak. Mountains. And then more mountain ranges, covered over in Pine and granite. Wild rivers, a transparent aquamarine color, pierced by the high sunlight - leaving the gravely bottom parts untouched by the curve of whitewater, exposed. Valley after valley, swollen over by deep, intoxicating beauty. And the mysterious edge of silence. At the bottom of each breath, there is a hollow place, asking to be filled.
I spent the day, helping my brother-in-law clean gutters. I walked along the edges of his charcoal roof, barefooted, spraying the shingles with cool water to make them bearable to step onto. The remnants of four seasons and a deteriorating roof deposited three inches deep in those long aluminum rows. It's no wonder rainwater had no way to escape except over the edges. It had nowhere to go but over. As I sprayed, the splash of dirt and leaves and silt silhouetted in every direction, including into my eyes and hair. It became apparent that I would not be able to use my eyes for this job. I aimed, pulled the trigger on his high pressure hose and simultaneously tightened my eyelids against each other. Nothing could get in. This lasted for hours. At one point, I moved the hose across my leg to find a better angle, and it cut rather deeply into my skin, leaving what I imagine will be an indefinite two inch scar across my knee. The protective layer of my body was nothing against the power of that water.
It was good, honest work.
I had been wanting to go on a run all day, so I replaced my labor attire with a pair of running shorts and headed east, toward the foothills. I miscalculated the distance and by the time I made it to the first slope underneath all of that midday sun, I was gassed.
And I wanted to climb (fly?).
I zig-zagged in a steep line to what felt like the zenith of all that dry earth. My back and face felt as hot as the bottoms of my feet on that rooftop. I started to cramp up, all alone out there, in such a desolate, yet singularly attractive place - prey to the afflictions of the common pilgrim, looking out across all that paradise, askance. The compass of my heart in the direction of the eastern sky and my tired lungs and overheated, wounded body pushing me westward.
I looked up and then down. Noticing what appeared to be tufts of silver sagebrush all over my silt-stained legs. I could not help but be overcome by the scent of everything I was engulfed by. I closed my eyes, allowing my body to rest. It was needed. I imagined my pebbly bottom - the parts exposed and those covered over by the torrent of fast moving water beating up against things. What is the feeling of all that - the base; the essence of me and what I am be-coming.
And yet, understanding so little.
Do you imagine these kinds of things too? Perhaps this is what the soft space of relationship and attention affords. This kind of holding.