Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Constant Come Back

After a quick Southern California trip to see my grandparents, we arrived safely (puppy and all) in the home valley. It's colder than I thought it would be, but just as pretty as always. We're looking after friend's dogs in a house perched on top of a mountain while finishing up work. As the copy work dwindles for the holiday and the novel work begins again, I'm watching a German Shepherd, a Catahoula Cur, and a much-fiestier-than-she-looks pug try and play nice by sharing bones and patrolling the grounds together. The fine and difficult art of sharing time and space with other animals. Oh the complexities of building a new society. Oh the homes we make out of rocks and dust. 

Everyone is going home. Or so it seems on the interwebs. I like that. A returning. A coming back to each other. A brief pause in the middle of all our private and political disasters. I always think of one of my favorite Robert Hass poems, "Faint Music," where the ending opens up so beautifully. "I had the idea that the world's so full of pain/it must sometimes make a kind of singing./ And that the sequence helps, as much as the order./ First an ego, and then pain, and then the singing." Now, we get to sing.

I'm looking for Thanksgiving poems to share at the table on Thursday. My non-believer way of saying thank you, my little atheist prayers. 

(Some people have home teams, I have home trees. This is my most cherished tree-teacher. "Good things come in trees." I know the California state tree is the redwood, but sometimes I think it should be the oak.)

(From the top of the Corridor Ridge trail where I came with my labrador when I was little, we walked in the late afternoon. This time, with my new favorite dog by my side.)

(Who says we don't have seasons in California? This is what we call the Sonoma "color.")

I think of the coming back we do to our roots and of Kay Ryan's "A Certain Kind of Eden," with the lines: "Even the one vine that tendrils out alone/ in time turns on its own impulse,/twisting back down its upward course/ a strong and then a stronger rope,/ the greenest saddest strongest/ kind of hope." 

What needy things we are. What greedy things. How generous of the earth to put up with our endless coming home, our own weird gravity of belonging somehow, somewhere, to some part of the forgiving land, we unwittingly try and call our own.


james claffey said...

wonderful images of the world. yes, the late-evening dog walks in carpinteria have been graced by splendid sunsets and the glorious channel islands in the distance. owls, hawks, lone coyotes.

Andrea (Andee) Beltran said...

I agree with James on the incredible images.

Your post is my favorite read this morning. Thank you.

Best wishes for a warm and happy Thanksgiving!

Dale Wilsey Jr. said...

Your posts always seem to bring a certain warmth to heart. I love those words from Hass. And the term "little atheist prayer" just entered into my vocabulary.

I cannot wait to walk through such beautiful sites on my own feet. I've begun planning a journey to the West.

Eagerly awaiting the novel as well.