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dreaming in the shadows of the Sleeping Maiden

Mt. Tamalpais, July 29, 2012

Mt. Tam glimpsed from Sir Francis Drake Blvd. in Kentfield

If had been wishing for that cocoon of suspended space that is often at the heart of the silence that is usually called “blessed,” today brought a gentle patch of it. Though the morning, from what I remember, was gray and chilly, the rest of the day kept getting warmer, even as the usual sounds of the neighborhoods seemed to become increasingly muffled as the day went on. As if the sole purpose of this Sunday unfolding was to eclipse sound with light.

Late in the afternoon I took a bike ride along the path by the Corte Madera Creek. This was the only hour of the day during which I did not have that sense of suspension, as if floating above the din of the world. I was hoping that the ride would shake out of me the words that could paint a picture of that feeling, a picture that could complement a photo of Mt. Tam seemingly enjoying her solitude … but it wasn’t going to happen. My imagination, too, was suspended and muffled in the dusty hammock of the late July Sunday afternoon.

Then, when I turned to books for inspiration, I found that Jane Hirshfield has already written what I wanted to say here today:

Dog and Bear

The air this morning,
blowing between fog and drizzle,

is like a white dog in the snow
who scents a white bear in the snow
who is not there.

Deeper than seeing.,
deeper than hearing,
they stand and glare, one at the other.

So many listen lost, in every weather.

The mind has mountains,
Hopkins wrote, against his sadness.

The dog and the bear at bay, that day.

[from The Place That Inhabits Us: Poems of the San Francisco Bay Watershed – selected by Sixteen Rivers Press]