When I lived up North, the end of September meant falling leaves, starting the furnace, and dragging
out the heavy clothes.|
It also meant gloom. Somewhere in my history, autumn married sadness, and they remain inseparable. I have no idea why, and I have been singularly ineffective in my efforts to manage this damnable cerebral configuration. Invariably, I'm left to fend for myself with a resulting dysphoria that so thoroughly colors my perception and precludes realistic enjoyment.
"Pain--has an element of blank--
Now that I am south of the border, I feel safe. In this, my first Floridian Fall, the angst of Autumn
is mercifully abstract and, although I can well recall the fact of my former discontent, I am
shielded from the associated melancholy by enveloping warmth and sunlight.
"A solemn thing within the Soul
A wonderful--to feel the sun
But solemnest--to know
Emily read much into the annual turn to winter and took the environment of fall to be a
melancholic metaphor of human destiny. We, being "creatures of a day," are propelled toward living
and dying by forces far beyond out ability to understand them.|
The dying that is built into the living is the agricultural/organic death signaled by changes in light and longevity of day. Emily used that as a springboard to ponder and postulate more than just that form of finality.
The end, to her, signified a beginning. It is presumed that she had long broken away from conventional awareness to one of expanded consciousness. She used the Christian metaphors so predominant in her cultural landscape to hint at something beyond the bondage of time in a body; something, indeed, already in place, within the bondage, that simply is released in the "twinkling of an eye."
It has to do with whom you consider yourself to be. Remember the old teaser, "are you your body or
do you have a body?"
Isn't that what the author of "The Prophet" was getting at when pronouncing, "Build of your
imaginings a bower in the wilderness ere you build a house within the city walls?"
Emily, in my imaginings, repeatedly reached for that release and lived eschatologically informed and
realistically rooted at the same time. At her desk in the family home from which she rarely roamed,
she eluded the "city walls" of geography and convention and took on the wilderness.|
That she was a gifted poet should not distract us from the process to which we look. Let us not get hemmed in by focusing on output and achievement--that is to miss the point. That she wrote like an angel is irrelevant to the underlying salvation principle perhaps in question here.
She took on the wilderness within, and that enabled her to see beyond appearances and to perceive with a child's unfettered freshness, the intimations of holiness inherent in the business of being.
That which animates us invites disclosure. People like Emily suggest this, but all too often, we think of it as an affectation if we try.
Is it for everyone to do this? Should ordinary people fool themselves in this way? The answer is
yes--if you can handle it. And I don't think this is self-delusional--this looking beyond, this
reaching within. On the contrary, is it not to royally dupe yourself to have no vision at all except
the nose on your face or the ring on your hand?
"One need not be a chamber--to be haunted--
Far safer, of a midnight meeting
Far safer, through an abbey gallop,
So what in blazes am I really talking about here? And to whom am I talking?
There are times when I realize I have arrived finally to a place within the folds of my brain where
opposites exist peacefully and I am able to pass through the portals they form to (I blush to say)
bliss. I don't know how else to say it; maybe it's the bower of which the prophet spoke. I don't know
but it's made of awareness and awe and "it leadeth me beside still waters."|
There's another layer to this as well; the daily "taking care of business" aspect that parallels the bliss thing. Bliss does laundry, sweeps floors, goes shopping, talks on the phone, gets pissed, makes mistakes, curses the computer, is full of baloney, and so forth. In other words, it's something toward which we can all realistically aspire and need not drain the demand of quotidian duty.
"This consciousness that is aware
Is traversing the interval
How adequate unto itself
Adventure most unto itself
Ahh, but I can see I once again make the mistake (as did Em) of not sufficiently turning outward. I define too much in terms of the interior and transcendent and not enough in human exchange. I should talk with more assurance of a god, or, at least, some purpose to this all. I should do good works; get involved.
Maybe I just need Prozac.