Thursday, April 23, 2009

San Francisco 24-27.11.03: Mary's Blue Cape, Swooping Gulls

In San Francisco now, or, to be exact, Oakland. We’re at the Dominicans’ house of study, which is perched on the rim of the mountain behind Our Lady of Lourdes church. . . . And here I sit. That lull that the day after Thanksgiving is, for the non-shopper. Outside, the spire (? Is it, or does a shape of this sort have another name?) of Lourdes church blue on blue, dark blue trim on light, with a Mary symbol, a capital M with a cross inside it, and 3 fleurs-de-lis beneath. It’s beautiful atop the white tower.

I don’t know what else to do today, except try to capture some of the flux, try to be the negative on which light leaves its fleeting photographic shadow. Below, the slatey brown-blue lake relatively unruffled, except for here a breeze, there a V a swimming duck leaves behind, amazingly larger and larger, for such a small thing. Where trees are, on the banks, dark smudges in the water like smoke, like bruises. Gulls alone serene in their ceaseless swoop above the lake, but they, too, self-involved, a predatory search.

Nothing stays the same: not the wind throwing its words away on the water’s nameless scrawl, nor the light that glances between scudding clouds on the face of the lake and is gone forever.

Buddhists would find here a life lesson. I find it simply, sheerly, appalling. How to be incarnate, incarnational,and see the flesh as mere flux? How to love at all, if one does so?

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