Late afternoon, the fugitive stillness

There’s a moment, not long, sometime after late afternoon but well before twilight. It’s not like the early morning before the signs turn to face you and the feet clap up the stairwells. It’s not like the “dead of night” or the “dead of winter” when stillness is near universal and the “streets are empty.” It’s not like either of these, these rests before generous or strenuous movement. Rather, it’s a fugitive stillness that brings to the most ordinary scene–in my case, the view beyond my window–the slightest touch of sadness.

I

A leaf in flight, doves perch still in the tree. Seagulls… branches… wind…

A coo coo coo. (Caw.) A coo coo coo…

A coo coo coo. (Caw.) A coo coo coo…

II

Chimes tinkle in the garden below. A stove clicks on, then off, then

On. [Pause] Off. [Pause] On. [Pause] Off. Each so slooooowly.

Off now.

Still.

The chime dangles now while the tree arms jangle also. The tree tipping, the evening swooning, roaring.

The early evening sea-swoons.

III

It is now–before New Yorkers come home from work, before the lights flick on, some flickering, now as the day grays over–that life awaits death. It is infinity awakening to itself. It is death childish, embarrassed, a bit cowed.

IV

My belly yens to vibrate like the cello of a body. Please an Om: unembarrassed, a firstling, a first offering, a home howl.

(And is this not the mysterium fascinans? And how can we not rejoice and cry?)

The sadness is light, as light as the faintest word, and then this fugitive stillness, this slightest shiver, is gone.

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