In Blackwater Woods

Look, the trees
are turning
their own bodies
into pillars

of light,
are giving off the rich
fragrance of cinnamon
and fulfillment,

the long tapers
of cattails
are bursting and floating away over
the blue shoulders

of the ponds,
and every pond,
no matter what its
name is, is

nameless now.
Every year
everything
I have ever learned

in my lifetime
leads back to this: the fires
and the black river of loss
whose other side

is salvation,
whose meaning
none of us will ever know.
To live in this world

you must be able
to do three things:
to love what is mortal,
to hold it

against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it,
and, when the time comes to let it go,
to let it go.

                            —Mary Oliver

It was a year ago today that I was short of breath and gasping for air as we walked down New Montgomery St. to get to a new tapas bar.  My sister and our guests were smoking up a storm, it was cold and windy, and I felt like I was climbing Mt. Everest, I was breathing so hard.  I've come a long way since then, thank God.

Coincidentally, I had my CT scan today, and I've been coughing for the past 6 weeks, so I'm a bit worried.  It's kept me from making vacation plans.

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3 thoughts on “In Blackwater Woods

  1. Hi Jazz,
    You have come a long way in a year! I'm gald you got the scan 'cause it's always good to cover your bases.
    Thinking of you …

  2. this poem, which I guess is one of the later ones? tells why I don't think one can follow Buddhism where it tries to go – the Buddhists recognize that everything is fleeting, that everything you have you're going to lose, and their answer is to never get attached to it in the first place. It's logical, I guess, but logic is just a tool. There are lots of good reasons to attach to people and things so closely that they become a part of you, even though you know you'll have to let them go and it will be unbearable. Maybe logic could be the guiding star if we lived forever, and it's our mortality that forces love and romance into our lives – romance is how we spit in the face of doom, and maybe with no doom you couldn't have it.

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