I May Fly

It is late twilight.

The fiery golden sunset sky lives again on the mirror surface of the small, still lake.

Around the shoreline tall trees stand in jet black relief.

I am on a long, narrow dock that stretches out of the building on my left and parallels the shore. Grainy, grey with age, the planks march away toward the end, which is over the water.

From my hands what appears a shapeless, featureless cloth hangs limply.

I know different. I cannot prove, nor have I demonstrated that this … is a wing.

Looking at it one would be stupid to even hint that that’s what it is. That I know lives in a domain of belief, hope, suspicion, and it is obviously stupid to believe, hope OR suspect that this is a wing.

Yet just as certain as doubtful am I that it is, and I know that to reveal its true nature I must run to the end of the dock, toss it into the air, and throw myself upon it full length as it spreads.

This is obviously absurd!

and yet …

I may fly!

So, running at full speed out the dock, still in doubt, just as I reach the end I toss the cloth into the air ahead of me … and

leap … fully extended, irrevocably committed, with all my doubts and fears along … onto the middle of the fluttering, falling sheet.

Instantly momentum fails, velocity drops, I fall into the folds. As my weight presses into it, it becomes a surface, arching upward and outward away from the center on both sides. It is stretched taught, drum-like, and silently riding the soft, invisibly rushing air.

It is clear. It is bright … and I … am …. flying.

A dream from long ago




Swirl and eddy, eddy and swirl.


For whiles that pass, arrow true and swiftly go I along, deft and supple, keen and true.


How, then, looking about, do I find my way is tangled about the briar and becalmed?


And when? 


How in so singing true a flight, bends the path onto itself and even unbeknownst recurs and recurs and recurs … unfading echo?


And all along so true, straight and razor keen, fiercely onward, by leaps and soaring flights to somehow find, at apogee of arching leap


The ankles fettered as by finest silk, so soft as to all but melt from sight


Yet sufficient.


Wings to be but elegant epaulets carved upon the shoulders of a marble bust, vision cloistered to the keep, utterly spent upon solitary pebbles …

One    by     one.


Captured by each to gaze and gaze and, dawning, realize oneself again at pitch and singing speed, free and soaring upon the open sky, dimension upon dimension there, teased, even springing from the tangle so recently about.


From each the other, always birth given unknown and seen only when past.


One the fertile rooting for the others’ springing forth to be the fertile rooting … and the farmer never knows the seed!


Swirl and eddy, eddy and swirl …




It is my heart that is drawn

                                      To the forests.


My mind                          goes along

                             And chatters           and learns

                                    And remembers


                             And is          sometimes    silent.


Deep,  though, at the core of the me

                             I know         unchanging

is that which is drawn by the Earth

                             As it was…


The memory, distant,        lives   … not

                             in my mind, in the day-to-day

                             comment and description


So clear, yet so distant, so

                             Immediate    and so soft

Power, drawing palpably the nuclear

                             Kernel around which I am




As if back to its conception called

                             By the mother of its being


The sweet and aching joy of the

                                      Source                             unaltered.

Grand and sweeping.        Limitless       in


                             Power and scope     and    so


                             Intricately     delicately


                             Incalculably                                subtle.


The web woven of   Balance                           and

                             Motion                                      never same

                             never different                  every effect             

                             causing                            each cause




Infinite Wonder.


Calls … draws    me                to know        Not

                             who am I who describes,

                             though I may witness my descriptions.



                             who am I that is the cause

                             and effect     of mind.


                             Though this mind might see

                             Itself in the clarity




Indescribably small           luminously present

                   Constantly at bed    rock



                   Crystal Radiant                          at rest


                   and afloat                                  somehow


                   both   there and   not there


                   The placeless place around which


                   I am a body in space and time…


Is sweetly drawn to the denning wolf

And the soaring hawk, the cranes’ ballet

The cheeta’s grace and the mother elephant’s

                             Tender caress



Outside of knowing is the Being One

Of the Earth and Our Family of

Life              that grew here.


The seeing the family                  of care

                   And provision                            affection

                   Kindred        protection


                   The giving up and passing on

                   Of life                              through eons.


The immediate        living            connectedness


It is my heart that is drawn to the forests.

His Passing


Sometimes in mid-October Florida the dawn comes softly gray, gathering slowly across the cool woods, dripping from the nighttime rain.  Deep greens glisten and crystal drops patter to earth with each stirring of sweet, cool Autumn breeze.


          The river is a glassy, dimpled, ebony mirror, silently reflecting the blanketing sky, the cradling trees.  In the rapids the mirror creases, folds, and the sky disappears, leaving only a silver frost of bubbles around the ancient rocks.


          One can walk silently to its banks and listen, and look……


          and God is there.


          On such a morning, far upstream, I saw an old familiar craft.  It seemed adrift, borne along as incidentally as the occasional Autumn leaf.  On board was the pilot, a vital, strapping lad of good humor, sharp eye and great skill.  He seemed puzzled, surprised.


          A closer look revealed his state.  The great engine, though running, could not make way, the planks were shrunken, the frames showed through, the tiller was cracked and a broken, useless rudder pushed lazy swirls around the stern.


          He knew this stretch of river.


          He’d taken others through….but


          Always as the pilot,


          A leader in a crew.


          And now is he a passenger, a captive and afloat,


          Aboard a tried and trusted craft, this powerlessly drifting boat.


When I could hear, he said he wanted to go ashore, but the water was too wide and  no one could help him.  All that could be done was to stay alongside and be of what comfort we could.


          At the head of the rapids the great river narrows to a single passage and it’s hard to realize how fast it has become…


                                      or how powerful.


It was tough to stay alongside but we managed, and even at times fended the impossibly careening vessel off of rocks and trees as it rose and fell on the surging

torrent.  But greater and greater was the grief in its passage and the toll was exacted and he ran from side to side and cried, “Let me out!” and grasped at the rails and the tiller to make the old craft once again carry him over the danger.


          And though the great engine would not quit, neither could it power the boat…


          Nor the boat carry him over the danger.         


          The engine would not cease                 


          Nor the pilot would release, and the struggle,


          The struggle…


          The Struggle was heroic.


          On and on, tossed and rolling deeply, turning, rising and falling back, the inexorable passage stretched.


          He grasped and clutched, pulled and tugged at whatever fell under his grip moment by moment.  Seeming at times to realize the futility, he would briefly cease and be still, his eyes cast upward as if searching his beloved sky.



          Again and again he redoubled the fight, but the old boat was failing and no skill, no grit, no rage or plea, no simple dogged unflagging persistence served to alter its course or condition. 


          He called from time to time to those he knew or had known but I heard no answer.  He tired and his efforts lessened but he ceased not to rouse himself and fall and rouse himself and fall.


          And the river, the benignly indifferent, silent, coursing current, bore him along unawares.  Thus had it run and thus would it run, without malice or haste, favor or pause.  It rolled as the ages, bearing along all that was upon it with equanimity and certainty be it fallen leaf, hewn timber or brave and broken boat.


At the foot of the rapids there is a quiet pool where the great power reaches plumbless depths, the current slows and once again the towering sky shows upon the

river’s silent face.  There, at long last, the great old boat drifted silently, floating at lazy, peaceful ease, without direction or haste.


The tired and failing engine, still at work, rattled and sputtered deep inside the battered, drifting hull.


          He lay quietly, no more to do.  When his eyes were open they were set now upon the other shore and the cool Autumn breeze coaxed the vessel there.  At some length and at great distance from us, the keel slid softly and firmly aground there,  the engine was stopped, the rudder lay over in the shallows and a vast and peaceful silence overtook us all.  After a moment I believe I saw him rise.  He stepped across onto the other shore, standing straight, and joined a gathering of people there, some of whom, even across that great distance, I thought I knew.  He was greeted all around, as though being congratulated and welcomed home and after a time no one was there.


          We gathered up the spent and shattered hull and set to it a great consuming fire.  It blazed briefly, giving light and warmth, and collapsed into a cooling heap of fine blowing ash which we gathered and took up to the brow of a broad sunny hill and made there its final berth.