The essential curve

things I noticed

Clumsy fingers. Cold hands. My wrists still numb when I write.

Grasses in the marsh, light gold with an undercoat of steel. Blond fur on the earth. This morning, no red in the grass, no blue in the water. The sky is white overhead.

A gull flies away from me, chased by the wind. Slopes with the wind. At certain angles, when its wings are parallel to my vision, nothing appears but a dot that is its body. Then it flies behind a cloud and the dot is no more.

Shoulder high grass, a finer kind. Run my hand along the top of it: wiry and thin as horse’s tail.

Lower your eye level.


Watercolor painting illustration of tall grass reeds in front of red bushes blowing in the wind. Nature scene

Stand of yellow reeds by the first pond, growing before and after red bushes. The bushes hunker, grow in clusters over grey remains. There is bracken on the ground, no soil exposed. Reeds before: rising windward, pushed by last year’s fallen growth, then bend, bend, under the wind. Toward and away: the essential curve. Reeds behind, nothing but their tops showing. Seen from below, their heads stagger down toward vanishing.

Tiny birds, new birds. Finches are out.

I almost didn’t notice a round brown back ducking into his hole in the bank. Groundhog on the hill.

Bushes, waking. Buds furred like sage, as silver-green as sage, which emerge as prickly ovals. I desire to cut one, take one home. I wish not to harm. Trust my noticing. Trust that by witnessing well enough, I will remember. I need not kill to create.

A runner with strong thighs turning pink in the cold.

Fingertips numb, thrust into unforgiving pockets.

Lightheaded from noticing. Words weigh nothing. Noticings: less than their origins, less than air, even. They rise to the top of the head and pull at the skull-cap. Keep them caught and they will tug you skyward.

This feeling of weightlessness, which I have felt after a long white night of little sleep, when the need for sleep has passed, paused, and rest is all around. Then the voices of what if, and should, and will, and might, all still, all still.

Is this stillness Zen?

I met a boy once in these woods, a boy name Elliot with hands fine as a squirrel’s paw. He took my large hand in his small one and tugged me after him. His large head, his small body. Touched, I thought. He pulled me with him, my new friend.

“Where are your parents?”

Hi father around a bend, concerned, apologetic.

“He has no inhibitions.”

We walked together through the forest, led by Elliot’s zeal and his paw-like hand in my hand. He asked for help to climb a boulder and when I boosted him he weighed very little.

I wonder now, was he weightless from all his noticing? In his simplicity, no filter, no wallowing. Fears were of the moment and released. Desires were urgently realized, or else abandoned. His world is the moment. His large head, his small body, his squirrel-like hands, lifted, lifted.

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