Tuesday, October 11, 2011

[Wrexisms] Clearing Spaces

Early on an autumn evening, after all the animals are fed and I’ve made the first small fire of the season, I stop the whirring in my head, and begin to eliminate the static. I turn off the television. I turn off the music. I let the phone ring unanswered. I close down my computer. I push the magazines and books I dally with each day into piles, dog-earing the pages or bending spines, marking my return.

I am wondering. I look outside at the early dark, and try to stop the internal racing. I am clearing space.

In Taos in July the wind devils dissipate in the evening; cloud banks collide over the tops of the mountains, changing the colors of the sky as the sun disappears, leaving residue of color not just in the west but all around, for there is no west at sunset in New Mexico. The magpies chatter all day, but at night, finally, they begin to tire. A calm settles. I am listening to the grandfathers. They message in the wind, the rustling of changing skies, the spritzing of brighter air into slow closing of grey cloud cover signaling rain—sheets of it curving in the distance as the winds push its veils across mountains and mesa. The grandfathers talk and I listen. The grandfathers hover on Taos Mountain; they are all around in that expanse of place; they come if one will listen. They speak if one will hear. In the house, there are spiders, and of course, whether I want to be fully engaged with them or not, there is cognition; spider cognition. They live where I live; we share a wedge of place. A small lizard sleeps on the adobe wall, hidden as she rests. In the morning, she scurries under the screen door when I surprise her, opening up the house for sun and coffee. We are an unlikely family, searching tenuously for our rapprochement. I know the spiders and the lizard are simply where they are supposed to be, and so am I; the only difference is that I feel quite assured that they are not so discontent and ungrounded.

When I arrived, I carried trials and sorrows; I was full of fretting and unease. None of this was out of any ordinary. It is the way life attaches. I had thought to write, to be disciplined and record all the wonders of the place, but the seduction of space and color and elements entered into the being of me and I felt a certain energy roll away from my very self. As I sat with my sister one evening, first arrived, I looked out toward the oddly subtle pulsing view of the sere and drying desert praying for rain, and I released my static and my clutter. I held up my arms to the cooling night, and I released the humanness of my life to something large and comforting. The grandfathers invited me to let it float away, and so I did; I cast it all to Taos Mountain, where nestled were the woes and hopes and secrets and dreams of countless pilgrims and countless natives in the stoic of geology and place.

No poetry was lurking. No age or care or intention existed. I tossed my me to Taos Mountain, and the grandfathers cleared my spaces, my internal crumblings and my fretful heart. The loveliest dawn arrived; not one of pinks and yellows gleaming into my bedroom window, but, that night, the dawn that I had arrived in this place for a reason. I came for my sister’s healing, and I found my own salvation.

The Hebrew word for salvation is literally translated “great opening spaces.” All my life I have intuitively understood that notion—the Great Plains are vast, and a road always leads to somewhere, and if you stay on it long enough, it always leads up. Arriving in Taos, at an elevation of some 7,000 feet, my journey paused. I cleared out my internal spaces, and gave all that stuff to Taos Mountain. My cobbles and shackles joined the repository, the one in Taos Mountain, the repository of the ages, where the people, those who gazed upon what is immutable and constant, knew, as I did then, that it was safe.

The grandfathers watch me, and in the wind that still kicks up now and then, I detect their nods. Some call it giving up, and I call it surrender. In clearing spaces, I create the room to grow. The grandfathers bid me listen, and Taos Mountain knows.

© 2011 Wrexie Bardaglio, Co-editor, Spiracle Journal


Barbara said...

These beautiful word images touch me -- probing internal space and connecting me to something large enough to contain all things. Several phrases will remain with me -- "sharing wedges of place...", "the way life attaches...", "releasing the humanness of my life to something larger..." and the most profound of all -- "some call it giving up, and I call it surrender."

Anonymous said...

Gorgeous writing.

Emeniano Acain Somoza, Jr. said...

At best we are the beautiful dreams our forefathers blazed trails, cleared out primeval forests and shed blood for but did not live to enjoy. Who we are is the by-product of the inevitable fusion of two forces - bios and physis, or, nature and environment. I wish all written constitutions known to the civilized world were preambled with something as divinely penned as this life-affirming homage.

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