Tuesday, October 27, 2015

#SOL15: Earths You Here for Real

One Man (MA. Reilly, 2012, Massachusetts)



Your bare foot on the floor
Keeps me in step; the power
I first felt come up through
Our cement floor long ago
alps your sole and heel
And earths you here for real.

                   -  Seamus Heaney from In Time

I.

Late day and the muggy morning gave way hours later to a cool autumn evening. I was alone there on a suburban street walking beneath leaves turning silver by the wind--walking briskly away from the hospital in order to take just 60 minutes to get beyond these hospital walls and breathe.

And as I walked I realized that I had forgotten about the necessity of poetry. So caught up in time, I had forgotten the poetry of breath. I had forgotten how the poem so often shows the conceit of time as if time was a currency we actually hold. I thought about all of this and of you lying still on a cold steel table being cut once again and beneath that fear and certain sadness there was Seamus Heaney--my go to poet. I walked, recalling poorly those lines from "In Time" that Heaney penned. Recalling little but, Earths you here for real. 

I never quite could hang on to that line until Rob was diagnosed with lung cancer.
Earths you here for real is more about love than loss.

And so even though the surgeon told me it would be a quick procedure to extract the port put in two weeks earlier--the very port that was contaminated with bacteria causing the staph infection to run through my husband's battered body--I've learned that doctors, especially surgeons, can be masters of hyperbole.

It would not be 30 minutes. Not even 60 minutes. 
Hospital time is slower than home time. 
And two hours later I found I was sadly correct. My phone has still had not wrung.

II.

It's so late that even in this darkness I know that in two hours I'll be driving to work, squinting against the orange yellow rise of the sun. Three weeks have come and gone and the staph infection seems to have been tamed, eradicated by the daily dose of antibiotic that I dutifully fed into the picc line in Rob's upper arm each evening. 

Some mark time by Vespers; we mark the turn to evening by flushing the picc line.

So on the late night, Rob and I are talking in a house so quiet that there can only be the now; the earths you here for real moment when I see him seated opposite me, know he is here and take solace in that simple fact. 

This night Rob is explaining to me how time is an illusion.  He's been reading Palle Yourgrau's A World Without Time: The Forgotten Legacy of Gödel and Einstein. As I listen to him read a loud I think how so much of our courtship and marriage have been marked by the many texts he has read aloud. 
Sometimes poems. 
Sometimes logic. 

And it is nearing 4 a.m. and neither of us have been to bed when he reads this to me:
"The consequence of his discoveries for Einstein’s realm was not that relativity was too weak to encompass all that is true about time, but rather that relativity is just fine, whereas time in the intuitive sense is an illusion" (Kindle Locations 2303-2305). 
I'm quiet wondering how willing I am to hear those words.  I have so much to unlearn I think as I climb the stairs to sleep.  Most of the metaphors that (in)form my life are time-based--and I sense these metaphors are a delicate trap wrapping me in time and fear. 

III.

The next day when I arrive home, Rob says he has a present for me. I open Alan Watt's The Way of Zen and feel the love in his gesture as surely as I now feel these keys beneath my finger tips.

12 comments:

  1. Your words have touched my soul. Simply breathtaking. I'm thankful I chose to read your slice. Thank you for writing it.

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    1. Thank you for reading it and commenting. Appreciate both.

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  2. Maryann, May the sun shine upon you and your husband, may all love surround you, and the pure light within you guide your way on.

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    1. Thank you Bernadette. We feel the light and love.

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  3. Funny how Heaney is in our Irish bones; no way to get him out. As I know time is an illusion, I also know our spirits are presently trapped in this illusion through our flawed bodies. Knowing is both a blessing as well as a burden. Be well, fellow travelers.

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  4. Irish bones... yes. Thank you for sharing this intimate moment. Sometimes I sit in times "so quiet that there is only the now"--that line will swirl in my heart for some time. Thoughts and prayers are with you.

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  5. I had wondered at your quieting--now I see... This is a beautiful poem to love and struggle, and you'll all be in my thoughts.

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    1. Thank you Nancy. Hope all is well with you, your husband, and daughter.

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  6. You share such sacred words and moments, Mary Ann - thank you. I hope you find some small solace in the warmth and love of all who respond to you.
    I am thinking of you all, and sending much love.

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    1. Thank you Catherine. A time out of time. Only love makes sense.

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