Saturday, June 24, 2017

After a Hiatus

. . . I can be found sitting on our deck in Santa Cruz with a wellspring of pink roses beside the pinecone lantern, and a squirrel coming inquiring. 

By the time I've finished that sentence the squirrel is gone, and only I am left to inquire.  How did I come here, during that hiatus?  Will the several small squirrels or the one big squirrel eat the herbs I planted yesterday along the fence where they get in, the earth crumbled away below it in a kind of hiatus too?   One tests the chamomile leaves.  What are they so busy with here in this yard?  A towhee hops across the stones I've brought in from that other yard, that other county and climate and time, piled together next to the herbs.  Where is she going, so intent, in the way of her kind?

Birds and words.  I'm back among those small (and great) enchantments, changed but not.

I look for quotes for "hiatus," and am led to "break."  But mostly in the verb tense, active breaking not the absence of action which I have had.  And Jane Hirshfield writes about what binds us—binding and breaking opposite.  Breaking is a letting go, which I have done, yet again not.  I'm in a new place now, with many of the things I'm bound to still with me.  (Bound to stay on.)

I find myself still in possession of the little dish with the Egyptian ducks, or whatever species they are, from a visit to the Legion of Honor.  This dish has spanned the break with me, bound for the coast.  And now it sits on the generous windowsill in my bathroom, the pure white of the paint having invited the deep blue, the near-monastic calm the unanticipated whimsy.

And other things besides the deck and sill are foreign too.  The Monterey Pine full of wind, where there has not before been pine tree, gnarly branches, cones.  Sometimes it shakes out bush-tits, or the pygmy nuthatch, sometimes upside down.  But this afternoon just wind, as if from inside out, the way the ancient Greeks thought it was winds within the earth that caused earthquakes.

Hiatus, the pause or catch in the breath between vowels (the [hiatus] ear, la [hiatus] interrupciĆ³n).  Japanese aoi:  'blue/green,' Swahili eua:  'to purify,' and Hawaiian aea:  'to rise up.'  Hiatus itself contains a hiatus.

That's all it's been, really, my relocation here where I am now—continuing after a breath with the next syllable, where I left off.

image:  Christie B. Cochrell, Egyptian Dish

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