Buddha, pine cone lilies, my grandmother's shallow pottery dish with graceful handle, same color as the dark green iron plant leaves in it, sun shining Buddha's belly to a high fat gleam, the train muscles by.
Do the dishes, feed the chickens, dump the compost, let the dogs in and back out, make the bed, sweep the porches, the pecan leaves have a stickiness to them, they want to clump together even in their dried death.
The train still passes, car after car rattling, squeaking, metal against metal, squeal and squeak and rock and roll, a ponderous dinosaur of a thing, down the track, more times a day than you would think. The first night we spent in this house when the train went by I bolted upright, the window frame above me shaking in the thunder of it all and I thought oh god, what have we done? and I've never been awoken by it since. Gibson still not adjusted though, to the sound of the blasting whistle, he hears it and runs to me in terror. I hold him tight and if he's a few steps away from me when it first sounds, I race to him because I know he's going to want me. "It's okay, it's okay. It's only the train," and then the boys watch it as it goes by, I think of my grandfather counting the cars of the trains that passed on the Flagler trestle over the Sebastian River fifty some years ago, the trains still run across that trestle.
I wonder if anyone still counts them.
I am filled with a winter's-coming melancholy today, a what's-the-point? opinion of it all. Clean out the hen house, they will just poop it up again. Sweep the porch, the trees will just give up more leaves to drift and fall upon the boards, wash the dishes and we will need to eat again before you know it, make the bed and we will merely pull down the covers and insert ourselves into them tonight, mail ourselves to sleep in that envelope of sheets and blankets, twisting them about us as we dream. Read a book and forget what I've read, read the news and what seems important today is nothing tomorrow, relatively, and then it repeats itself, the horror, the bizarre, the cruel, the strange, even that which is good, proof of something eternally all right about the human race held up as a mirror to the other side of the coin of our insanity, greed, stupidity, ignorance.
Sometimes you cry for the beauty, sometimes the tears fall for the pain of it all, sometimes for the beauty of the pain or the pain of the beauty, the earth beneath us is filled with the bones of that which mattered at one time, mattered as big as a meteor, a dinosaur, a war, an entire civilization of meat-eaters, plant-eaters, pottery-makers, great-thought-thinkers, and why did they go deep into caves to draw upon the walls?
We tread on ancient forests, oceans, animals, knowledge most painfully acquired, now forgotten, and have you ever happened upon an arrowhead, spearpoint, shard of pottery with the maker's fingerprint trapped in clay?
Shivers come upon you. You are not the first nor will you be the last.
We always have company even if it's only the ghosts of the beasts, the maker of the arrowhead which he used to kill the beast which allowed the people to live, to mate and make the children who somehow lived on to lead us to this and it's such a fool's notion to think we are the greatest, the most anything except ignorant, perhaps, of how it all works, this planet and its tides and our hungers and how we feed them, even as we decode the very genes the hunter preserved with his meat and his mate.
We are not great, we simply are.
Thus- sweep the porches, feed the chickens, make the beds, make the babies, preserve their lives, we are but one tiny bead in the great string of them wrapped around and around the earth and up to the stars and beyond, we are stardust.
I do not think we are golden but perhaps tomorrow I will. And even today, even today, I can see that we reflect the light which gleams the fat Buddha belly, which shines the wings we may or may not have with which we may or may not use to transport us at least as far as back and forth in time's shadowy vessel, as shallow as that green dish, as deep as all of darkness.