> jumping into life.


On our evening walk one night last week, he told me about a website that showed footage of the torture made legal by our exaulted administration - not just waterboarding, not just pyschological cruelties, isolation and the like, but true torture. I haven't looked it up. As we walked down into the gulley, where a hill blocks both the wind and the freeway noises, and the birdsong rose up around us, I let his voice fade. His voice, tight with rage and the edge of dispair, speaking of letters to write, impeachment, justice. Let the birdsong overpower his voice, let the splash of the snow-fat creek overpower it, then let his voice back in, in time to say no, I don't think we are a new height of awful. The Chinese used to plant bamboo under prisoners so it could grow through their guts; the Romans had their gladiators; it goes way back.

We are a different kind of awful, sure. We have The Media and The Bomb. But awful has been around a long time. Jane Goodall watched one chimp twist another's broken arm in its broken socket, then walk away and leave it to die. Today I am planting kale and carrots. Today I am making love and listening to birdsong. Today I am baking bread.


Up the wet mountain we trod, digging into snow up to our calves, snow covered in hoar frost sparkling in the intermittent sun, then the clouds to cover all, send up a wind, the soft tinkling of falling crystals. The snow is too deep and wet for our sleds; it is like plowing. On one steep hill we plow our way down, then scramble back up and woosh! We try to roll a snowball down in front of us to clear a path, but after twenty feet we have a snowball heavier than we are and it can't be pushed any farther. Some headway can be made by going face-first with a running start. Hollering always helps.

Today is rain and quiet. We stayed in bed until noon, talking about whether or not this is a world we might want to bring kids into. We'll be moving to (probably) PA in August of '08 so that J can go to grad school; before that he's going to brewing school, and I'm deciding if I want to become a vet or not. At some point he's going to accept my proposal of marraige, and at some point after that our theoretical wonderings will gain some urgency. Tonight the rain will turn to snow, the tea kettle will sing us from dinner into evening, and we will be snug in our home, and so lucky.


More snow = more sledding. Just keep repeating that. More snow means more sledding. It doesn't mean spring has been pushed back another week. It just means more sledding.


I was going to write - had begun to write, last night - that my idea of winter turns out to be everyone else's idea of spring: it rains and everything turns green. Last week we took March's word for it and traded Sorels and down jackets for rain pants and mud boots. But today it snowed, big sugar flakes that hardly accumulated at all (though just enough for the snow-and-hot-maple-syrup that the season had almost slipped away without). He is at class; Thursday evenings now are the only time I am at home alone. If our bathtub wasn't crap I'd take a bath, but writing is maybe better than that. There is blues on the radio, but I'll play my guitar in a while. Read some more of Beth's book. The tea is almost ready.

I miss the monastery. I miss that valley and the river and the impossible silence of a hundred people in still meditation. I miss the schedule, the almost imperceptible relaxation of some part of the mind when it knows there are no decisions to be made - get up at this time, go to work at this time, wear this robe, bathe now, eat this, go to bed. Maddening, of course, but not more so than balancing my checkbook, buying gas, reading the newspaper. I miss the community of people who value self-reflection, honesty, and compassion. Guest season is starting up again, the navel-gazing eyes turning outward after six months of darkness, the buds bursting, the rains slowing. Everything turns green. A part of my soul is yearning for it. A part of my soul will I think always yearn towards that place. The spirit home.

He is a spirit home as well, though, the true home of my heart I told him when I called after that summer in the monastery. That's why I'm in this place where my winter never comes but only the snow. He is my community of self-reflection, honesty and compassion. He is my winding dirt road along the river, my bright bright stars. And I am also my own home. I think the crocuses will be alright, and the robins don't seem to be bothered by April's treason. Already it is melting, and the grass is still green below.


Today there were tulips and crocuses blooming alongside the path, and the lake lapping dark and softly on the driftwood shore. Winter is harsh, but spring harsher still; she eats you alive and then paints the world with your blood. Good nitrogen in blood. It brings the flowers up faster. My robinbreast is beating wildly these days. I am aching for the monastery and bursting with joy. I need to get out of the city - even this city, which certainly does not qualify.

Rushing down the hillside yesterday, just enough snow to carry the sled, bigbudded saplings whipping past on either side and the good balsam smell, sun strong and shadows clear, no clouds, no thoughts, just the crest of the season and his body streaking down the trail in front of me, just his hollering and mine joining together, all fire and wing.