Saturday, May 14, 2011

Open That Love~Window!

When I was a little girl in that developmental stage between highchair and big person chair, my mother would place our 4~inch thick big~city phone book on a grown~up seat and help me climb aboard. I saw this scene repeated with my younger siblings at dinner tables spanning years. The ritual usually ended with a statement something like, “Now, let’s move that chair in so you’ll be in the same county as your food.”

That line returns to me now as I think back on my brisk walk around the lake this morning. I was moving within a crescent of mountains, beneath a huge, shockingly blue sky, the sun low in front of me. Too bad I wasn’t there.

My body may have been walking within beauty, but my thoughts were some place else. Likely I was thinking back on an interesting conversation, or scheduling my day, or simply drifting from one random thought to the next. But I definitely wasn’t fully on that lakeside path. To paraphrase Mom, I wasn’t in the same county as my nourishment.

A week earlier, I’d attended a performance by musicians Jenny Bird and Michael Mandrell. One of the songs of that evening popped into my head this morning and helped return me to the lake. In Some Kiss We Want, Jenny put to music the Rumi poem of the same name.

There is some kiss we want
with our whole lives,
the touch of spirit
on the body.

At night, I open the window
and ask the moon to come
and press its face against mine.
Breathe into me.

Close the language~door
and open the love~window.
The moon won't use the door,
only the window.

Sound advice, I thought. So with Rumi and Jenny as my guides, I once again closed the language~door. I let go my thoughts and opened my heart, my very own love~window.

And I woke to what was...Early morning light dancing on ripples of water churned by a soft breeze which riffled, too, my hair...Glorious blue of a sky found only at high altitudes, streaked with the feathery remains of a plane’s vapor trail mingling with a bevy of cirrus clouds...Solid earth beneath my feet, and delight in a body that brings the capacity to perceive such beauty.

And just then, a Great Blue Heron, hidden behind a rocky outcropping nearby, took flight. Broad wings beat a leisurely but powerful rhythm, lifting a body wrapped in blue~grey feathers, long stick legs trailing behind, orange in the morning light.

Having been alive to the experience, I saw and felt it all.

There is, of course, nothing wrong with language or the thinking of thoughts Rumi was referring to in his poem. But thoughts unchecked can whisk us away. And words, as much as I love them, are not real. They give us only an approximation of reality, merely pointing us in a certain direction. As the Buddha would say, words are the finger pointing to the moon. They are not the moon itself.

And it’s the moon we long for.

Rumi’s words, imprinted in my mind by Jenny’s marvelous voice, pointed me to the moment. I needed only to take the next step. When I opened that love~ window, the moon~~and the lake, the sky, and that magnificent heron~~ breathed into me.

What joy! A joy that urges me to remain in the same county as my nourishment, throughout all the moments of all my days.

Blessings on your very own love~window. May it open wide!

Loanne Marie

To learn more about Jenny Bird's music, go to her site jennybird.com. And here's the link to the Mystic Muse CD, which includes the Rumi song above and quotes put to music from other mystics and visionaries. You can listen to St. John for free!



4 comments:

monica wood said...

This morning I went birding in a nearby park I've been birding for 25 years. Almost didn't go--all those would-n-shoulds holding me back, plus the weather was raw and overcast. Went anyway, and got a bonanza of warblers, the most diverity I've ever experienced there, by a factor of 10. And boy, was I EVER there. A blessing that happened merely because I moved my intention into action--the phone book on the chair.

Beautifully written, as always, Loanne.

Loanne Marie said...

Thanks, Monnie! I'm so glad ya got yer warbler bonanza~~ and just by doing what you were moved to do. Intention to action. Yes!

I wondered if you'd have a comment about my thoughts~~and Rumi's~~on language. For those of you who don't know or have forgotten, Monica is a brilliant writer with a memoir due out next spring. Can't wait! You can read an excerpt from it at her website (click on her name at the top of her comment above).

monica wood said...

Yes, Loanne, I will use my blinding brilliance here. Ahem: As a writer I must make a case for language, and say that Rumi must be distinguishing between written and spoken language. Spoken language is the blah-blah-blah that covers our feelings, that diminishes experience. Like many people, I blather when I'm nervous or uncomfortable. Written language, on the other hand, does the opposite: it allows us to become a more insightful, deliberative, articulate version of ourselves, a person who writes not to reveal what she knows, but rather to discover what she knows. In my experience, thoughts cannot accomplish that beautiful task the way words can. Exhibit A: your essays.

I'm off for two weeks, to drink in the clangorous language of flora and fauna in Puerto Rico!

Loanne Marie said...

Thanks for your thoughts, Monnie. I'm thinking that, like most things in this world of ours, language~~written or spoken~~can be a tool to illuminate or a tool to obfuscate, a thing that heals or one that harms. What distinguishes good writing, to use Rumi's metaphor, may be that it compels us to look at the moon. Exceptional writing may also call the moon down, leaving it to rest in the reader's own tender heart.

And Puerto Rico?!! Wow! Have a lovely trip and enjoy them thar flora and fauna for those of us carrying on back home.

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