I come to the edge

I come to the edge of things and then back off.

I’d like to buy that green house in Bluemont.  I just see us there.  But certain things would be inpractical, and it would be more upkeep than here, probably.  Then again, I’m tired of suburbia’s good life.

I am tired.  Everyone’s tired of my turmoil.

“Eye and Tooth” never gets anywhere.  That’s the point.  Lowell goes from past to present tense, but it’s present tense when he has the childhood recollection that precedes the final stanza.

I’d like to start voys.us, but it’s so much work.  Yet I’ve pushed right up to the edge twice now.

It’s fun to work on.  Maybe I should keep pretending even when it’s live.  That was my approach to slow reads, after all.

Backing off isn’t like me twenty or even twelve or ten years ago. Is it my age, or is the timing not right?  A different conception of time now, maybe.  Maybe I’m play-acting for when we’ll be empty-nesters four or five years from now.

I think I’m coming to the end of something, and these are the birth pangs of something new.  Complicated by the fact that I’m past menopause.

I’m getting a head start on SoloPoMo, using some material I posted on an obscure WordPress.com blog while I mulled over how to redo my blog.   I’ve selected Robert Lowell’s “Eye and Tooth” for my own celebration of SoloPoMo.


  1. The idea of approaching something and then backing off reminds me of an article I read (in about 1993) that had a title evocative of this theme.

    I think the article was by Rachel Elior and it was about a Chasidic sect in the 1820s whose members, or inner circle, came to the conclusion that there was nothing but God. Everything is God.

    They immediately absorbed that the basics of Jewish ritual practice an ritual life, the distinctions between Shabbat and the week were merely artifice.

    They realized, or at least I’m remembering Elior’s article this way, that the correctness of the theology would lead to the dissolution of their community, and so they retreated from this approach, choosing community over theology.

    Maybe there is a connection here to the struggle you pose. Do you think?

    1. Oh, I’d like to think so! :>) I think a primary rhythm of our lives is approaching the benevolent — but, finally, everyday — God at a few gracious times in our lives and discovering that God is different than we ever knew. Maybe scarier, more raw, somehow. Not that I’m any expert.

      Then we come down off the mountain (indeed, whether or not we dared go to the top of it) with a different perspective on — maybe a new appreciation for, and yet a dissatisfaction with — the rituals that may have helped get us to the mountain in the first place.

      I think of the Desert Fathers, who learned over time to frame discipleship into three stages and so found a practical way to include a rhythm similar to the one you describe into a community of believers. (I wrote about it years ago here: https://slowreads.com/ancient-discipleship/ ) I think part of the Western Church’s divisions stems from not understanding the stages of the spiritual life. People at certain stages are attracted to certain denominations, and there’s almost no appreciation among the more conservative denominations and circles for the stage of spiritual growth the more liberal denominations fall to focusing on, and vice versa.

Comments are closed.