Blogging & silence

That quality of hyperalertness is one of the things that has fueled the writing of this blog. Always searching, thinking forward to the next post. Hyperalertness has an addictive power of its own. During this window then, I think it will be better to obligate myself as little as possible. I want to relax the hyperalertness, and the vague feeling of dread that’s often at its center, with a quality that’s more peaceable, without an agenda, but rooted in gentle awareness.

— A Happening, June 14, 2005

Another reason [for no longer blogging] is that recently, I have only been writing things that will be published one form or another (including this blog). It’s almost as if I believe that thoughts are worth articulating and words are worth writing only if another will read them. This is false and dangerous, and I hope to discover what it means to write things that are not necessarily for “someone else.”

— The Dimly Lit Room, May 22, 2005

If we really wanted enlightenment, we’d stop talking…. I am tired of talking and tired of writing. I am tired of reading and tired of chasing ideas. It feels good to just watch. I feel curious.

– Lekshe’s Mistake, June 13, 2005

One of blogging’s serendipities is a happenstance of common themes. Even with a relatively small blogroll, I find that certain ideas and feelings are sometimes expressed at about the same time among my blogging friends. One such recent theme is a danger presented by blogging itself – does blogging interfere with the spiritual quest?

The Dimly Lit Room has recently quit blogging over this, and A Happening has recently cut back on the frequency of its posts. Lekshe’s Mistake has always written in spurts, which I believe is a healthier approach than mine. The timing of her posts seems more in tune with her inner life and less with developing a readership. I can relate to all three of the above-quoted recent posts about blogging (and writing and living).

The Dimly Lit Room has nailed me: my private journal shows the effects of blogging. I still use my journal in prayer and as a private record, but I have also rifled through it for inspiration for posts. Many of the pages are now sketches for future posts. The book is not as holy as it once was, and I have made no substitute for its original function.

The journal reflects my prayer life. I have gained a measure of freedom in this area in recent years, but I have stopped there. Part of it is how busy I have been this year, and part of it is the effort any relationship takes, even one with my Creator. Given a thought or impression, I have always found it easier to run away with it in thinking or in writing than to lay it aside and to empty myself.

I can also relate to the vague unease A Happening talks about. No one has pressured me to post by a certain date. Who turned this operation into a deadline-driven periodical? I did.

I know that writing is a part of me, if only so I can pray better. Perhaps I can put my innermost thoughts in a trunk in my attic, so my ego (an unreliable judge of talent) can imagine they will be published posthumously, aided by the drama afforded in such cases.

I’ve gotten a lot out of blogging, and I hope to get more. I enjoy the sense of friendship my small blogroll has engendered. I hope to figure out how to use something like blogging to help create a community of people committed in part to honestly and lovingly critiquing one another’s writing.

I suspect that – I hope that – my problem is one of priorities. Many of the blessings in my life have turned out to be curses because of my selfishness, my refusal to abide by the most fundamental understanding of my faith: “Seek first the kingdom, and all these things will be added to you.”

But is it really a matter of priorities? I read a one-sentence selection in Merton’s The Wisdom of the Desert, and I’m struck hard by a certain challenge it presents:Abbot Bessabion, dying, said: The monk should be all eye, like the cherubim and seraphim. I’m no monk, though the profession has a great appeal to me. Still, I feel a fundamental calling to be at least more eye, and less mouth and pen. It’s almost like a law of spiritual relativity – the more I want to publish, the drier the well. I’m going to try to bring up the water table, and give more out of an abundance and exuberance than out of some diseased part of me.

There’s a sense in which I must be all eye in order to be more eye. God often speaks in absolutes, and the result is a moderation and balance I could never achieve on my own.



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And suddenly

You asked for a poem and suddenly

my mind is empty

–something

I’ve been trying to do for years–

I ought to at least

thank you for that.

(Yes, I see the tall rocks pushing up from the ground

against the backdrop of snow

and spring, buried beneath the cold foot of winter.

Yes, I remember the same hills in early summer,

nodding in wild flowers

swelling with colourful suggestion.

Alongside these images

crowding in

are all the walks

we have not taken,

all the conversations left on the wind

all the secrets embedded in the pale skin of the wakeful moon.

I am distracted.)

Summer will come, my pen,

Fall will surely sweep away the ideas of

This, Not This.

Winter will come over a curved hill

and nestle in

against the warm breast of October,

against the murmuring voices

of change

and I, who have been silent

will be drowning you in words,

building dreamscapes–

open places for your

images to appear.

© 2005 lekshe. Used by permission.

Every curling thing

The roof is agleam with rain. Lustrous, vitreous, liquid. The lilacs are already leaning close to the grass with the weight. The succulents are baccate and bursting. The tulips’ silky petals have fallen off and litter the ground, leaving the stamens bare, the pollen squandered.

The bamboo are thirsty. They drink, drink, drink. They shudder in the slight wind and plan the takeover of another inch of land.

The soft fiddleheads of the fern uncurl in the dampness. The Solomon’s Seal gets greener every day. The herbs have woken up-oregano, lemon thyme, rosemary-others whose names elude me. The mint already threatens to crowd out its less robust neighbors, spilling over the edge of the herb garden onto the hazel shell path. The lemon balm is bride’s bouquet feathery, lucid juice. The violets drop their last shy offerings.

Tiny sweet peas are reaching, wrapping their sinuous embrace around the small twig fence, calling each other to bloom and bless. Every curved and curling thing belongs here, reaching up, wanting the blue sky of summer.

The honeysuckle is out of hand, creeping across the rafters, threatening to grow up through the crack in the roof and down to Pearl’s yard. The nervous wisteria is grasping, twisting, clinging-as always, unsure. The purple clematis has had its way with the trellis and is reaching over, unsatisfied, to entwine the rose, who leans now over the lettuce to protect her from the elements. They love the rain. They love each other, mannerless but well meaning youth.

The chard and potato vines are small, still. Waiting. Waiting for a more certain invitation from the sun. Soon. Can they feel it?

The sun shines through all this green and it speaks of summer coming-of thick clumps of orange, yellow and pink-edged Hemerocallis, the elegant tetraploid daylilies whose slender stalks will bend under the weight of the fully bloomed flowers. Of strawberries. Mouths full of evergreen strawberries. And blueberries for the tiny fingers of greedy children who climb the fence and visit. Of blood-red roses so big and so peppery they make me lazy. Of the shy climbing rose that hides herself along the edge of the garage, dropping a lithe branch to tease. Of the stately elephant grass that will be the last stubborn thing to linger after the fall freeze.

Tiny grape hyacinth, marigolds dutifully fencing out sluggish intruders, peasant-bright geraniums bravely leafing and blooming. These are only the ones whose names I know. There are more, and all live under a stately maple tree that threatens to drop an ancient, mossy branch on the garage.

I don’t have this garden. It has me. It will have me in summer, late at night, under strings of colored lights, leaning over the teak table, tea in the chipped cup, reading the last post on your blog, wondering, as I do, always, what grows under your feet and out your window.
Copyright Lekshe. Used by permission.