Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Chain of Lakes when it's this cold

chain of lakes when it's this cold

so, silver
that's what color is in its pure state
two perfect bare silver trees
a silver lake, glassier though than the trees, gleaming,
a line of oh a thousand such naked trees on the bank yonder
(my friend in sixth grade used to say "yonder" because he wasn't from Texas 
and I thought he might as well have been from the moon)
a full line of slate cloud above
soft blue beyond that, like her eyes
warm gold and glow from the lowering star
yet not the warmer gold of spring or summer or fall
more alchemical
all that's required is to be pale and bleached and empty
and to the east of the fading
source

cold cuts through
thought emerges--it is really this cold,
this is what cold is when it's this cold
a heart can stop
it's done it before
your blood can freeze
it might be even now

there is no one,
I mean, NO ONE, here
but this empty space is echoing with
one perfect cracking or howling sound after another
someone, somewhere, is safe and warm
and listening to a soundfile of winter nature sounds
and thinking he's a very fine fellow for doing so

but I can step out on the ice
above those lovely noises,
as the elements move and change and realign
as all things always do
and abandon my abstractions
flinging a stick and then another and then, admittedly, too many
skipping them out and watching them slide across
the frozen lake

you figure out what to do in this kind of cold
you walk in that little strip of sun
and keep the forty mile wind at your back
not letting yourself think about the moment
when you'll need to turn, and, turtle-like, withdraw within yourself
and return, a wise buddha, through that same fierce cold loveliness

and you realize, you idiot
that this is just another of all the miracles
that cannot be captured in words
or photo or on canvass or anything but itself
for no frame would ever be fair to this,
even a 360 panorama would need to  tilt up and down
and if it did
it couldn't express the shudder I just heard from the lake
or the sadness and strangeness of all the memories
of swimming just here with a house full of children now gone
or canooing with Nathan through the chains into six of the seven lakes
and the blue heron that flew just over our heads when we startled him that day

there is no way to say this place,
which is why we need special flannel lined pants like mine
and hiking boots if possible
and warmer headgear than I'm wearing now
to see and taste and feel and hear and meditate this cold

the only way to say anything worth saying is like Zeno

you go as far as you can and know
that there's still infinity to go,
you touch her skin softly
then again, then again,
each time more softly
until the difference 

between touching 
and not touching 
disappears or 
at the least
is not now

subject to 
senses--

"this is what I mean by loveliness
this is what I mean
this is

this
's"

then, such a quick, big fade.
the only truth of every thing we know,
yet still surprising when where you've been is silver
so be it, 
the lake is gray, in fact,
the trees dull brown
or facts are not that helpful here
when it's so absurdly cold
you only, you and the people where the sun has still not set
who, perhaps, are you but haven't told you yet,
know this truth, the hard cold truth of today,
a meaning not propositional
or open to debate--
her eyes
the bite of the February wind
that sky
the scrubbed skin of earth
all this sharp silver and faded gold
in the dying light
a million leafless empty branches
dancing violently above these
steady trunks
then,
the darkness.

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