Posted by: nativeiowan | May 3, 2009

where we belong

Received a communication from a friend. Bringing up age-old discourses. Philosophy. Of life. Of belonging.  Of that place where each of us belongs. Of finding the place where we belong. Of finding THE place where we each, in our warmest dreams and softest fantasies, belong. Surely and decidedly. Belong. Are home. At ease. Safe.

As children. We sought such places. Naturally. Were drawn to places of energy. Familiar. To us. An unquestionable, childish, familiarity. Kin. Of a sort. Comfortable and remembered. Past energetic sharings. Past energetic familiarity. With out hesitation. Without reserve. We accepted. Knew. In a foolish yet wise way. The PLACE called us. Found us. Was us.

Sitting in the head high ferns. They grew in front of the old farmhouse. They smelt of loam and life. I could hide in their secure arms. Learn from their age-old wisdom. Watch the tenants there-in. Ladybugs. Earth worms. Beetles and butterflies. Big green caterpillars. The catharsis of life. Unfolded. Before me.

A dusty old attic. Above the garage. A rusted paraffin lamp. Hanging from a rusted nail. A rough wood crate. Obscured lettering. Branded into its side. Once contained nails for horse’s shoes. A small window to the east. I could see the river. Watch the neighbors. Alone in the dusty shadows. Watching life move past.

Mother would ask. –Where you been?- I could not explain. I could not articulate. I had no language. That place. Within? Without? One could shed their skin. Return to the place known yet indescribable. Perhaps she understood? Societal conditioning made me feel guilty. Had I done wrong? To hide. Alone. To seek. Solitude. The quiet.

Life rushes on. Years flash past. The place, forgotten. Found. Rarely… a summers fishing trip. Suit and tie left behind. Ragged cut offs. Graphite rod. Cast into breakers. The day too short. Sun too hot. Fried red. A bitch sleeping. Didn’t feel it at the time. Was far too happy just being. Enjoying. The place.

The place. Elusive. Found in wood. Working with wood. Measuring and cutting. The hours wiz by. Intricate joining. Dovetails. Mortises. Delicate scrollwork. Smelling the dust. Fresh cut. Feeling the grain. Rough and smooth. Holding the tool. Aggressive yet friendly. The place. Not a Place. But a doing. An activity. A process. Within? Without?

I walk in the woods. Of my youth. Cluttered floor of memories and debris. Broken branches. Scattered leaves. Stately oaks. Feminine maples. Ephemeral poplars. Serpentine birch. A place of quiet life. Predators abound. The circle of life. Tooth and claw. Wing and talon. A place to watch. Of wary movement. Of life and death. Living.

A distant call. Faintly heard. The place. The PLACE. Not easily found. In high rise apartments. Fast moving transport. Computerized voices. Guiding us through the unknown. Labyrinth of modern life. Tune out the shadow of the voice.  The specter of memory. Walkman earphones. Dialogue of yesterday’s dramas. Fill our senses. Deaden the pain. The loss.

A sun drenched beach. Brilliant. Blinding. Equatorial sun. Bakes the day. Hiding in the dense shade of a tropical hardwood. Watching the current eddy beyond the reef. A feast to the senses. Liberation to the soul. A hawksbill turtle. Surfaces beyond the breakers. Raises his horny head. Looks you in the eye. Acknowledges life.

The voice. Of the past. The place. A genetic memory.  A family heirloom. Known yet forgotten. The memory. Of the place. Accessible yet rarely frequented. Compensate by making inanimate objects important. The mundane replaces the mystical. Melrose place. Not The Place. Surfing the Internet. In search. Of what? Within? Without? Our modern society. Without! Without.

Vicarious living. Voyeurism versus participation. Blade of grass. First cry of a newborn. The smile of an innocent. The caress of a loved one. The Place. Accessible and oft visited. You’ve known it. May not recognize it. Straightaway.  The kitten in the sleeping child’s grasp. Makes not a move. To disturb. The Place.


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