This Thing Called Courage

Sunday, August 24, 2008

The Golden Triangle

THE SUBLIME WEATHER continues here. This is a typical pattern we get into at this time of year-- four or five dry, exquisite days, each one a tad warmer; then a day of showers as a front comes through; then four or five more exqusite days, started off cooler than gradually warming. And such it is now. The front is coming through tomorrow, though right now there isn't a cloud in the sky and since there's no moon, the heavens are star-flung. The crickets are really going to town, everywhere you walk on a night like this, even along Main Street downtown. The other night we did a big walk down by the Mystic Lakes. On the return trip back to the car, it was just dusk, a long, slurring twilight at the backside of the lake-- and I'm not sure I ever heard so many crickets, and in such variety. There was the regular chanting, everywhere-- as well as solitary players on the edges doing their own thing-- but also this other sound, like the shaking of tiny bells, and one could understand how the Native Americans perhaps were inspired to make their rattles. I closed my eyes and listened, letting the sounds envelope me-- and the more I listened the more there was to hear, and the more moved I became. It seemed I was plunging down, down, into an ocean of cricket sound. Really amazing. When I was a boy, we would sometimes spend the night at my grandmother's farm out in Arlington-- yes, Arlington had farms then, especially way up in the hills, where my grandparents had built their house in the 1920's. The apple orchard came right up to the house, and when we slept over in late May, the smell of blossoms coming into the room was like an incantation. Looking out you could nothing-- I mean, really, nothing-- unless the moon was out. Later in the summer when the crickets would really get going, my brohter Bob would complain that they were keeping him awake-- he couldn't sleep with their sound.

"Just pretend," I told him, "that they're saying sleep sleep sleep..."

There is this place I know that I really like going to. It's the side parking lot of the local Whole Foods Store (before that it was a Wild Oats, and before that something else, ad infinitum). It's a very urban area-- a side parking lot, bordered on its back by a very steep incline, which goes up to a railroad bed. Behind the railroad bed, in fact rising up above it, are a number of warehouses, their backs to be specific. One of these warehouses hosts a big four story U-HAUL building, with an old red-brick soaring chimney stack at one end; the next warehouse down is where my gym is, on the bottom floor. We usually stop at the Whole Foods store after going to the gym, where my workout partner and very dearest friend Vonn likes to get a bite to eat. On the edge of the side parking lot, there are three soaring Robinia pseudoacacia, which I call the Three Sisters, or Les Trois Soeurs. They're really very beautiful. There's a hawk, actually a pair of hawks-- red-tail, I believe (one of my totems!) that live here, and I frequently see one, or sometimes both of them, in the trees, or on top of the chimney stack behind them, or on top of the U-HAUL sign. I haven't seen a nest, so perhaps they're still young-- or perhaps the nest is further up the (railroad) line.

I think most people would see this place as rather ratty and unlovely-- certainly unmemorable. After all it's just a side parking lot, and somewhat trashy, and there is a line of old telephone poles and lots of hanging wires running along one side, and several dumpsters, and lots of extraneous trash. But I love it-- I've loved it for years. Perhaps because it's a kind of Golden Triangle, connecting three of my favorite things-- Black Locust trees, hawks, and railroad tracks. But somehow the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. I feel very drawn to this place. There is a peace here, a really deep and wonderful energy.

I visited it today on the way back from the gym. It was about four o'clock, and there was a lovely breeze about. The Black Locusts were swaying. And then came the wonderful kerrr of the hawk's cry, from somewhere-- I couldn't see it, but that was okay. And I got to thinking how this was Holy Land to me. And then I got to thinking-- what if there were a religion, where each square foot of the earth was Holy Land, and every person numbered among the Chosen? Now that I could go for. (Picture depicts the 'National Champion' Black Locust, in Wolcott, New York-- magnificent!!!! )


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