Rain freckled me as I walked to the bench today, burnt orange leaves of fall glowing supernally against an overcast sky. I put on my yellow raincoat and listened to the squeaky sound of my knitting needles against my plastic sleeves. Several new people stopped to talk. D. came by with Citrus, her wrinkled face soft and open as a daisy. Sometimes when I look into people’s faces, I see glimpses of the sweet child they carry inside themselves. D. is one of these people. She is so relieved that I am her dogsitter…she and her husband haven’t been able to go on vacation for a long time because no kennel will take Citrus anymore…excommunicated for her tendency to tackle smaller dogs.
The weather has turned cool and grey. I’m not ready. I feel emotionally out of sync with the season–my inner life a riot of color and emotion. The white sky and water invited me to enter the silence and turn inward, and I didn’t want to. I’m slightly troubled by my fear of silence. I remember sitting on the hard, smooth bench alongside the white-robed sisters at the monastery…We were redwood trees with our roots drawing strength together in the deep silence. What keeps me from letting go into the silence? Words can be a bridge leading to communion, but they can also form a wall to keep the Other out. Too often, I feel that the noise in my mind is the latter kind–a way to keep the Other at arm’s length. I fear letting my mind sit open and empty. When I am quiet, what dangerous thoughts might come tiptoeing like ballerina spiders? What doubts, fears, insights? I know that I am only free in proportion to my willingness to face my fears, to face my self. I think ultimately it comes down to a desire for control…God is a perfect gentleman and will not force Himself on me. As long as I am keeping up a merry conversation with myself, God waits outside. But oh, when my flimsy paper wall of thoughts gives way in a terrifying rush, the peace and rest that descends on me from every direction!
I must withdraw do that God may make contact with the beings whom chance places in my path and whom he loves. It is tactless for me to be there. It is as though I were placed between two lovers or two friends. I am not the maiden who awaits her betrothed, but the unwelcome third who is with two betrothed lovers and ought to go away so that they can really be together. If only I knew how to disappear there would be a perfect union of love between God and the earth I tread, the sea I hear…
-Simone Weil, Gravity and Grace
“So you found some quiet today, huh?” G. asks me. She and E. are returning to the house after an outing. If only she could see my chirping mind.
A hawk swoops down with a loud cry, another bird under it. As they skitter across the road, I wonder whether they are mating but the bird underneath is a flicker. I can tell by the brick-colored tail feathers. Bird-on-bird violence, I think. I walk home, cottontail rabbits skittering off the path, lit ships suspended on the white Bay.