View from the Top

I climbed my first tree before I was five. Got stuck. Screamed. Daddy had to walk two miles home from work in the middle of a hot West Virginia afternoon and rescue me. Like a cat, I finally learned not to climb down head-first. For the next XX years (I'd say how many, but no one would believe it) I spent time in the tops of trees, where I learned some of life's most important skills -- and pleasures. I'd say what they were (and are) but that would be telling. And you know what they say -- writers should show, not tell. So kick off your shoes and shimmy on up. Join me here surrounded by blue sky and little green leaves. Bring a book if you like, or a notebook. The apples up here are crisp and ripe and free for the picking.

Friday, October 22, 2010


In Annie Dillard’s For the Time Being she quotes one Ralph Harper as asking, “Why should one not try to imagine his arms around Being?”  And I wonder, How does one come to consider that?

When, in her on-foot exploration of the Mediterranean lands, Dillard discovers the source of the River Jordan, she describes the spot as a “seep at the earth’s crust.” 

“In all this sober glory,” she continues, “something surprising appeared.  I saw something moving.”

Though my curiosity is fierce – what is this Something? -- I lay the book aside, needing to hold the moment, let the anticiipation seep through me, here in my chair. 

My breakfast is on a small table beside me. I pick up my coffee and take a sip, then lift my eyes to find the dog solemnly watching as I choose a slice of banana. 

I notice, in the black fur of the cat in my lap, a sesame seed fallen from my bagel.  The cat shifts, sneezes, settles back into sleep. 

            My own Being.  My own sober glory.  I pick up the book.


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