Morning seems to rise not from the sky, but from the ground. Light comes up from below, and within. Perhaps it’s the evergreen limbs that canopy my view. Or the hesitance with which in the morning, I look up.
I hear my dog Banjo stir, loll off the couch, lap up some water, and jump into bed next to me. He makes room for himself. Digging his wet nose into my pillow he grunts a good morning, let’s run. In the chill of an August canyon morning, I pull on shorts and a fleece. My legs have goosebumps until we get going – until we face the first mountain road, and head straight up. Then, I sweat. At 5:00 a.m. before I go to work, I make room. I love him.
In the evening I sit, engaged in a staring contest with my computer screen – that eternal blankness. Sometimes I’ll write a sentence – a good sentence — and then a paragraph. Often, I don’t. The screen wins. Annie Dillard says that at its best, writing is “Unmerited grace. It is handed to you, but only if you look for it.” I seek, I knock, and the door is still shut. Locked, I pick the lock slowly; careful for what may be holed up behind. It doesn’t come easy, this art called Writing. No good thing does. Thus I keep on looking for grace unmerited, through words. My body and mind come out of the anesthesia of the workplace and the dullness of the routines of daily life. My mind wakes and runs ahead, and my body doubts it can keep up. I need sleep. But it charges ahead, my mind. Wherefore comes this need to exhaust myself fully? To run out of gas. To not stop while I still have some in the tank….a little something to start tomorrow with would be nice. But it doesn’t let me rest until I’ve spent my whole soul. Drained. Yet, I love it — my writing – and it makes room, weaseling through the chinks in my log-laid mind.
And then comes night — when the light fades from the sky, going back into the ground only to come up again — with hope, like a spring bulb planted in the fall. I look into the dusk, needing to find some meaning, some reason for the day that has just past. Its burial now in the sunset. Its pyre, the ridge of the canyon holding the rest of the world up. Still glowing. The embers will stay for a little while longer yet, keeping warm something that wants to die, and die quickly. Please? And yet the God of my youth shows himself, here in this place…in the death of the day. Like a bull moose, tromping through the willows at twilight…I think I see his antlers rise, warning. Unsure if it is him, I dare not take another step. I dare not move closer. I’ve heard the stories of what moose can do. And, I respect them. I dare not tame such beauty – sinewed with power and peace, yet knowing not which one he’ll chose. I hate that He turns up when and where he does – here in the willows. I would hate the why too, but I can’t make sense of it enough to do that. I want to forget about Him, to embrace my doubt and disbelief, and just keep walking down the trail, ignoring the sounds in the brush. Sometimes I do. But I can’t fully, and I hate Him even more for it. Yet, He makes room for Himself in the willows. And although I don’t know why, I love Him.
These things which I love — I’ve found that I don’t have to make room; they make room for themselves. Wanted or not, I have to let the dog into bed; I have to write; I have to believe in the moose in the willows. And that is one of the dichotomies of love. Sometimes you want it; sometimes you don’t. But always, you need it. And always, it makes time for you…wanted or not.
AndiLit: Stacking and Piling Words: A Guest Post by Erin M. Block