Saturday, October 31, 2020

Fishing in the Keep of Silence

Outside my door is the chatter of children trick-or-treating, the buzz of adults happy to connect. The night is dark at 6:30 pm and tomorrow night will be 5:30 pm— winter is approaching. My phone dings every 20 minutes with the next plea for money, the next extreme fear-based adjective evoking alarm and despair. 10% of the e-mails I get are from people I know and the rest—well, you know what. 


I have been part of it, posting a lot of politics on this Blog and inundating my Facebook page with reminders (hopefully artfully put together) to vote. But the “likes” are few and far between—people are tired. 


But not all—some are upping the phone calls to voters and asking me to help. And I feel I should— and yet I don’t. I’m truly not convinced in their efficacy at this point and the thought of spending these last few days at some training about the technical side of the matter and staying married to my phone checking for texts…well, I just don’t have it in me. Forgive me if it would have made a difference and of course, we’ll never know. But I do believe down to the depth of my soul that there are other things needed at the moment, some silent petitions to the other world and some Self-care, meaning not just make sure I’m feeling okay, but that my deep Self is attended to and ready to meet whatever comes next. 


And so, besides teaching three Zoom classes, always an inroad to Soul for me, in the next three days, I want to spend some time with Bach’s Preludes and Fugues on the piano, to feel the intelligence of the lines and the beauty between the notes and the extraordinary capacity of human beings to create something of this magnitude when my cynical self is just disgusted with the thought of people with something akin to a brain even thinking about voting for you-know-who. I need an antidote to that and Bach is just the ticket.


And then Nature, the turning of the earth that is still dependable and the rise and fall of plants with the seasons and the movements of the birds whirling in the sky and the coyote in the Arboretum with his breakfast in his mouth. I plan to spend all of Tuesday out on some mountain, away from phones and screens and radios and any semblance of news. If I was truly brave, maybe wait until Wednesday morning to face it all. 


And finally, poetry. I was going to name this “Gone Fishing,” a conscious effort to put the damn phone away and return to the foundation of all of life. And then remembered a poem titled “Fishing in the Keep of Silence” by Linda Gregg, found it on my bookshelf and yes, once again, an evolved human being took time to experience something more fully than the daily round, to capture it in language and to pass it on, not knowing (but yes, knowing), that it would be useful someday for someone like me to read in a moment like this. And perhaps someone like you. 

Here it is:


There is a hush now while the hills rise up

and God is going to sleep. He trusts the ship

of Heaven to take over and proceed beautifully

as he lies dreaming in the lap of the world.

He knows the owls will guard the sweetness

of the soul in their massive keep of silence,

looking out with eyes open or closed over

the length of Tomales Bay that the herons

conform to, whitely broad in flight, white

and slim in standing. God, who thinks about

poetry all the time, breathes happily as He 

repeats to Himself: There are fish in the net,

lots of fish this time in the net of the heart. 


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