Stillness and Motion, Me and You
You said it was like riding a birdwing in
the dark night. We were the little red and blue lights riding,
stillness in motion. In such swansong is our beginning recorded,
the foreground in motion against the still background. Yet
also the background moves; and in this earth-wandering,
and in the solar and galactic passages in turn, there is
a stillness of each frame beyond, until we go there and
whip it too into a frothy becoming.
Breathing, I take the pulse of your blood and elevate it
to a supple motion, an undulating welcome of my touch. Breathing,
you draw my caught thought down the well to ground-tide,
and in seconds flat I am rounded into your whole wonder,
our soft fullness of lips drinking lip to lip, sipping slowly
the drink of life, until whistling with a rush of air like
a waterfall in rewind and play, we tumble breathing, onward
to the cliff and final run dancing to
the sea. The bird trembles above, shaking off droplets and
To dream a material condition and have it transpire!
For instance: tawdry as the ingredients
may be (old fiberboard, gyprock and plywood, tacked together
on an old outhouse), birdsong now conspires with the hum
of modern communications technology to flesh out this bone-some
presentation, two months after the first inkling vision
from the shower window, and gratified I sit here regarding
the gift of creative process from the other end: completion.
In such a way do we create each other and
are ourselves created, though more unconsciously than as
homespun architects and with the savor of unimagined discovery,
with plain and tarnished ingredients, used and unused tools
of latent architecture of the self, the opening soul. We
oil well each otherís hinges, and open wide the gates forever.
How could we ever stay locked in that enchanted garden now
going to seed, that backwater pond in overlush dim darkness,
with the whole wide and sunny desert and oceans before us?
The geography of the heart: this is where we run to, and
whether forested or bricked, we need to fly the corridors,
nuzzle the feathers, challenge the avatars of needless worry
who pretend to rule here. In this bright morning that gives
its tears and soft-sun glories to us whimsically, the bird
sings patiently, a lambent figment of creation, harking
us to its fair resonance with the accompaniment of insect
drone and fanning arms of benevolent trees, or seething
tidal flats, as the scene requires.
So the adventure begins, and there is nowhere it needs to
Sitting, walking, both have their degrees of motion, their
tendrils of connection. Slow thought, fast thought, poetry
and prose, our walking and running and lying together, these
give me a sense of you in your range of openness, your skin
dissolving into mine, my spirit riding your bliss, I have
to ask you, in the middle of the night coming cold from
my study to your bed, with my soft lips on your soft eyes,
how it could be that we could ever be less than absolutely
There are always adjustments to be made. Your breath catches,
anticipating my next move. I wonder: would walking move
more thought; or should thought rather slow to the pace
of the resident body, coming peacefully to rest in this
moment now in cloud-shade, now in sun-tease? I go out, I
come in, I do this now and that later, I return with my
footsteps alone and in tandem, dancing with your circles
till high-noon comes with our appointment at the district
dump. There our breaths are held in deference to the rot
of rubbish, leakages through untransmuted dross, unhealed
residues of accidents and other lessons in material karma.
We return home to take our kind repose, to enjoy the laving
solicitude of maple, cedar and spruce-stump.
The world as it is: flat snapshot, blue and white, green
The world as it is: gray brain splashing in bath, pulsing
The world as I imagine it to be: after the beginning, when
words stream as a matter of course through the tree-body
of this self-knowledge. When self converges with self, this
stillness is converted to motion and back again in the call
to union, and our conspiring fire brings everything in vision
from self to Self, from this to all, and all to this again.
There is glamor in the endless elaboration to be had in
the head, the adventure to be gained in the setting out
boat-full to the distant horizon. There is a certain gentle
appeal also in the adventure of the tiniest moment, the
wonder of possibility in the opening of choice to infinite
size when the stillness is stilled large enough to hold
Your love continues to amaze me, your welcoming into this
world of your grace, your all-accepting smile and bounteous
laughter. In your soft eyes I see room to grow, to include
in the I the you of you and I. On your lips I rest my motion,
breathing stillness from your faster-beating heart. From
the bird of your wing do I hear the angels of darkness weeping
for joy, for then is their pain of leftover humanity allowed
to descend to the earth of our splendid visitation, in fullest
summer. Unmindful of weather changes, we stride-skip-and-saunter
down this driveway calm and serene, because we have allowed
what is in the way to stand behind our torrent; what forms
the hard carapace of our crystal pool to hold the trickle
of yet more upwelling tears; what holds our vision to break
apart into full light and starshine, embrace and flying-free.
There is a constancy in the motion of our wings, in this
I oblige myself to tell you of this, in a warble of one
I recognize your own divinity of intention,
your own chart of waters near and far.
I bring to your table my mercy, with gratitude for the lights
you have placed on my wing. I hold in my hand a letter from
you, and with it a snow-flurried crystal ball. There were
times of great difficulty and stress, I recall. One child
not born was sacrificed on the tree of our love; another
almost died, quivering, in our arms. For two weeks after
we lived in fear, sleepless, taut, too careful even to breathe.
Floodwaters are coming: birthwaters yet.
On this placid lake where we find ourselves in this grace-given
moment, I place my trust in you, paint your trust in you
and me. With this pulling motion of our oars we move this
boat cross-stream, to find what the world looks like from
the other side. For picnic there is all we have brought,
and red and blue berries for dessert.
© Nowick Gray
Breathing Together: Sketches of You and Me
"Stillness and Motion" is included
in a collection of essays in e-book format (pdf). Transitions:
A Book About Love is available now for free download.
Right-click to save to your computer: transitions.pdf
View catalog of ebooks for free download.