...for the loneliness of the road as I drove to ballet class this morning. The usual bumper-to-bumper queue didn't happen. Where was everyone? Their absence somehow inspired my thoughts toward a prayer for each of us in our essential alone-ness.
...for the pain... This morning's class was special, marked by first-time interactions among the students and between them and myself as we waited for Barbara, the instructor, to arrive, finally speaking our names to each other after two months of dancing alone together. Everyone's game was elevated today: the instructor taught better, the students danced better and I played better than ever before.
Something marvelous was afoot. Some students quietly departed at 9:30, the official ending time; but Barbara was on a roll. I don't think she even realized it was time to stop. Most of the students kept working with her.
Then, at 9:50, the next instructor entered the studio. Her face told the story. Talking over Barbara, she said, "Barbara, my class begins in 10 minutes." Barbara nodded and kept teaching. Then, in a move that took my breath for its violence, she began pulling the huge drapes, covering the mirrored walls, abruptly obscuring the dancers' and Barbara's view of themselves.
They finished the sequence...a few dancers turned to thank me -- with eyes, clasped hands, bowed heads, silent mouthed "thank yous"...
...for a wallop of insight while listening to the radio in the car after class. A talk show. A caller opined that "things" were better in the old days when the government maintained schools and parks and roads and libraries. A well-paid (in this time of economic stress for so many) "expert" chuckled and proceeded to enumerate the flaws in that bygone "utopian" system, explaining that progress has meant the ascendancy of private over public...
...stopping at the Post Office to drop a birthday card for my father. After decades of estrangement, we are reunited, talking by phone at least once a week. The sweet, simple, profound, soul "yummy" of sending a birthday card to "Daddy."
...finding a Wendell Berry poem in my email-box. Berry at his wildest and most righteous. Reprinted below. Thank you, Y.
Are there more tears to be shed today?
Manifesto: Mad Farmer Liberation Front
Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more
of everything ready-made. Be afraid
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know.
So, friends, every day do something
that won't compute. Love the Lord.
Love the world. Work for nothing.
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it.
Denounce the government and embrace
republic for which it stands.
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers.
Invest in the millenium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.
Say that the leaves are harvested
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion -- put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come.
Expect the end of the world. Laugh.
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts.
So long as women do not go cheap
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep
of a woman near to giving birth?
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie down in the shade. Rest your head
in her lap. Swear allegiance
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos
can predict the motions of your mind,
lose it. Leave it as a sign
to mark the false trail, the way
you didn't go.
Be like the fox
who makes more tracks than necessary,
some in the wrong direction.