Saturday, August 15, 2015
Working Dreams and Balms
No, the block was hewn by some purposeful hand. The morning fog, a sea breath, surrounded me and the block. I heard the water nearby, dully lapping in that strange whisper that waves make when they are close and cannot be seen.
A rivulet fell somewhere. From a gutter? There were no eaves, or sluices near. A horse pissing on a flat rock? No, that was just a saying, I told myself. The noise disappeared, and then the block and I stood there for a long while. I did not really know how long, and hadn’t paused to stop and think of it, nor ask the block.
I turned, and found myself standing in a low-rimmed tub. I was still on the beach and my grandmother came to me then. She ordered ne to strip naked. I did so.
In a basalt mortar, she pounded pork fat, pine needles, fragrant herbs, marten’s bile until it was a uniformly speckled unguent and scooped it up in handfuls and began to cover me with it: her old knobbed skill-fingered hands worked every bit into my arms, legs and body. I shivered in the cold.
She did not say anything, but seemed to study me through narrow dead eyes.
When I looked away from her face, I saw the fog had thinned, but not disappeared. More blocks of wood, all embedded in the sand, waited in a crooked line up into the mist.
My conscious mind began shouting in the other room, beating on the door.
I am awake and writing this now. My grandmother's ministrations were helpful, albeit horrible smelling. The work never stops. There is always another submission to make, another promotion, another person to contact. Does Grandmother's protective balm inure me to the hurt, the rejection?
I write this as a prayer to overcome the ocean of indifference and silent blocks of wood.