On getting away from the city
by Andrew Taggart
I awoke the first time to the sound of falling river. The second time it was to the birdsong calling down the hillside. The falling rain on the cabin roof awoke my feet to floorboards.
As I write, the other is still asleep. The delicious pleasure of sitting in contemplation, of being alone and listening before the other remembers, recalls our temporary world, and make her way downstairs can hardly be described. Perhaps it is rather like natality, an experience redolent of being born anew.
We go and dwell in the country in order to exfoliate the deadening, to unencrust our senses. It is not merely one straight leaf holding itself before the evening sun that does it for us nor is it one bone white tree growing thinly into tree pose. It is not solely the dijon-colored leaves or the polished rocks or the innards filling the chimney with sound. It is, yes of course, all of these things but it is also much more and something other besides. It is the sense of learning to be in the world, the familiar having fallen away, yielding up the unfamiliar which, being all there is, is not for all that a cause of fright or a mark of terror but a welcoming of existence. I have often wondered what it would be like if we could stay true to this permeable sense of openness, if our experience of nature were not only an end in itself but also an education of our sensibilities. How would that be, I have asked. How would it be if we could, as with morning eyes and waking words, turn ourselves toward each other and thereby turn ourselves into each other? I can only surmise that it would put us in mind of miracles.