Annie and Marc)
She is a tree of life to them that
lay hold upon her: and happy is everyone that retaineth her.
Waking beneath the Civil War quilt made before we gave up the
urge for perfection to machines, I heard with the ear that enters
dreams, ďA sky stunned with hummingbirds.Ē
Outside the half-open Dutch door
that faced the wood-chipped path to the outhouse, it was a truth in
willows drew my feeling self, still roaming in dreams, out of the
adobe sanctuary, and my eyes were
eager to follow my
feet deep into this valley-filled dawn. A valley barely held back by
lichened boulders heaped high above the nurturing vein of green water.
A sky stunned with hummingbirds,
mid-August, trapped in the boulder-rimmed valley, deep-veined by
grasses, dewed dawn
cradled in this valley. Dawn dreaming
in the acequia with
the cottontail as its totem. More alive
than the flowing blood
of living flesh itself.
This valley not so deep, but its
deepness being in our eyed hearts, and so deep to us as we sink into
its bottomless peace.
On the porch, eternityís porch,
we three women who left the hurtling world to sing golden with
trombones the music of this day, this place, to let music come through
earth-filtered rain and river water through
their roots and up
into their orangey, opulent heads, sat still
in the shock of
unimagined delight. Some of the music was already there waiting,
trapped in the old, gray planks, pooled
into the seat of the
rocking chair and floating like warm air
up in the corrugated
roof. Some seemed to run at us from
grass-stained at the knees, waving fistfuls of wildflowers. Some of
the music we brought with us: old,
favorite licks, single
shining long tones, but also those secret sounds in our cells that lay
ensconced on pillows like
startled awake by the deep kiss of the buzzing land.
In the heat of the grandfather
day, we hunched over the copper-covered coffee table and made things
out of scraps. Pan revealed himself as a dry stick with green glitter
ever ready to unite
with anyone willing to play. A marriage
was fashioned out of
plastic, gold foil and bread ties. Wordlessness became pastels and
Happy absorption built
meaning from the unwanted incompleteness. The dross strewn on the
table looked like
the aftermath of a
feast of coyotes, now slunk off to doze in
the shade. Newly
acknowledged parts of us gave a yip and
ran out barefoot into
the sprinklers or jumped on a banana
seat with ape hangers
and toured the neighborhood with a
troll doll in each
The guardian hearth looked over
our shoulders remembering its pinon fragrant fires breathing hot
breath on the chilled
skin of late March before the snow disappeared into the strengthening
The old dartboard on the wall by
the loft stairs awaited our accuracy and one-pointedness. Three
tail-feathered, tarnished-brass-headed darts stuck on the
black and white
mandala, everywhere but in the bullís-eye.
In the kitchen the embered
chambers of the 1880s cook stove slowly gave up their breakfast heat
to the butterfly dawdle of the long afternoon.
Amid intervals of singing and
sounding our glinting trombones on the porch, up crept the
mosquito-dotted dusk. Stars took their places in the indigo heavens
corpulent splay of the
Milky Way breathed above us,
bringing us to
reverent silence that lasted without length, transforming us into pure
beings. We were head-covered Catholic women in a place of miracles. We
became votive candles at the altar of living, light-pierced night sky.
breath of dry grasses
and the faint winding wind of close passing mosquitoes kept us on
earth as we watched the beauty undress itself. Returning to the
original singing place within, we took turns singing solo to the dark
humming presence stretched above us and weightlessly anchored in
our hearts. Our music
partnered by the stars penetrated into bone and trombone. Our
instruments barked, whined, whispered, warned and mumbled in no time,
in no place, as
in the womb months.
The silent earth sistered us, poured in.
We went to our beds steeped in
unthought, ringing with wild resonances and the smell of resting
juniper; the river talking in its sleep. Night in the house nickered
to us from the roof. Insomniac chipmunks rushed and pulsed in the
rafters like furry synapses in a caffeine brain. They skittered in and
out of the portals of our barely-tethered minds.
Donít make me go back,
beautiful land, beautiful sky.
Let me stay in your song
and be sung out over and over
again as the sun turns to moon
turns to sun.
Chill my bones in your gruff
Novembers and grill me on your
spit of infinite July.
You have made of me a penitent
to the mysterious choir
of growing things.
The next morning I watched my dear friends drive off toward the
concrete-breasted world of digital toxins and passive-aggressive,
partially submerged love of war and dead things. And I returned to the
house. You, she it, that . . . whoever you are, was us for forty-five
and a half hours.
Each daylight hour
wrapped in the shroud of feeding hummingbirds. Each night hour bundled
in the mother-dark
of the unseen valley.
underlining the bejeweled chaos with their rapier flight paths,
zooming over the lowing trombones on the porch.
You held us in your arms and
defined the meaning of grace to all our senses, all our darkness. We
were filled. Emptied.