Sunday, March 6, 2011

Response to Sunday

It's the same shelf at Newscenter, full of random books at the end of the aisle. The first time it was Merwin's The Shadow of Sirius. It didn't belong there and I've never seen another copy in the store since.

This time the shelf coughed up Jules Renard's Nature Stories.

It's Sunday evening. Rain swirls outside, but it is quiet in here, which amplifies the dervish out the windows. Three girls are sleeping. I've got my second evening coffee and am dwelling somewhere between the couch and Renard's animated countryside.

The evening caps a day that started with a 10-mile mudfest of a trail run, where Shaun and I scared up a half-dozen deer darting ahead of us across Little Florida Trail at Tuckahoe State Park.

As I ran until and through my legs hurting from climbing; as I ran short of breath and ski-sliding down muddy hills, I was at times part of the trail, at times my lungs, heart and breath, at times thinking about Renard and what he would see in the woods, on the trail, through the rain. Both what he would see and how he would say it.

It's something of a three-part process: observation, interpretation, expression. Being mindful and receptive to what is there, having it resonate and work through, and reordering it into a personal/universal form of expression.

For people, the possibilities of self-expression are staggering. For a bullfrog, less so. This morning they drank in the rain, the creek, the footsteps of runners passing by and sang it out in one bellowing, continuous note. To our ears, the bullfrog has one note, one word, one song in response to the world.

Tonight, the house is still quiet. In the kitchen, the oven is pre-heated and I've got a mind for baking flounder. This morning's run started with talk of the backwards notes of the mandolin, and with a looking forward to spring and summer fishing. My response tonight, it seems is preparing flounder and cueing up Blues for Allah.