[Image: “The Crossing: Downpatrick Head, County Mayo, Ireland,” by architect Travis Price, his students, and numerous local craftsmen. For more information, see this PDF and the Catholic University of America site.]
From whiskey river:
Between where you are now and where you’d like to be there’s a sort of barrier, or a chasm, and sometimes it’s a good idea to imagine that you’re already at the other side of that chasm, so that you can start on the unknown side.
(David Bohm [source])
In winter I remember
how the white snow
swallowed those who came before me.
They sing from the earth.
This is what happened to the voices.
They have gone underground.
I remember how the man named Fire
carried a gun. I saw him
His ancestors live in the woodstove
and cry at night and are broken.
This is what happens to fire.
It consumes itself.
In the coldest weather, I recall
that I am in every creature
and they are in me.
My bones feel their terrible ache
and want to fall open
in fields of vanished mice
and horseless hooves.
And I know how long it takes
to travel the sky,
for buffalo are still living
across the drifting face of the moon.
These nights the air is full of spirits.
They breathe on windows.
They are the ones that leave fingerprints
on glass when they point out
the things that happen,
the things we might forget.
(Linda Hogan [source])
After an old Hasidic master died, his followers sat around, talking about his life. One person wondered aloud, “What was the most important thing in the world for the master?” They all thought about it. Another responded, after a time, “Whatever he happened to be doing at the time.”
(Susan Murphy [source])
Sayings from the Northern Ice
It is people at the edge who say things
at the edge: winter is toward knowing.
Sled runners before they meet have long talk apart.
There is a pup in every litter the wolves will have.
A knife that falls points at an enemy.
Rocks in the wind know their place: down low.
Over your shoulder is God; the dying deer sees Him.
At the mouth of the long sack we fall in forever
storms brighten the spikes of the stars.
Wind that buried bear skulls north of here
and beats moth wings for help outside the door
is bringing bear skull wisdom, but do not ask the skull
too large a question until summer.
Something too dark was held in that strong bone.
Better to end with a lucky saying:
Sled runners cannot decide to join or to part.
When they decide, it is a bad day.
(William Stafford [source])