The Gift that Explodes, 5 : Whispered Leavings

Notebook 5

This constitutes the 5th page of the Notebook given me by my daughter…here it is in typescript:


In Which the Leavings Whisper

Indeed there are times of leaning toward cold and the dark.  We huddle close, our woods seem silent, even emptied, so we hush and sound our whispers, to blend them into wind, its Winter.

I speak of the dangers – presumption and preference – too-devoted attachments to our particular woods.  You hear us sing their praises, we dance like them in breezing sunlight, pattern our coats according their colors, entrust them to shelter and shade us, providing our true light and fire.  We claim them the hardest and strongest, the Durable Ones.  We come to cling to our woods as life.  Dear child, it is not long before we view them as the “only.”  The Most and Highest, the Broadest, Richest, Rooted Deep.  We worship their hold, celebrating their fruit.  Develop our rituals of cultivation by tending them daily, each of us making our rounds, repeating the woods until they are all that we know, all that we love, the scope of which we are able to see.

Hush and beware, my splendid dear, for here is where the quiet comes.  The times we call The Leavings.  These very woods to which we cling, within and upon which we build our homes, nourish our bodies and fuel our fires, compose our messages and texts, which provide us with movement over long waters and vast mountains of snow – keeping us warm all the while – just when we revel most confidently in their glorious splendor, their rainbows of color and light-glowing hue…they begin their wandering away.  Day by day, as the cold is approaching with its elongating nights, they drain of their colors and begin letting-go.  These, my child, are The Leavings.

As we cuddle near their time-trusted fullness and warmth, they appear to us bare, barren, and grey.  We look up, we cry out “the woods!  the woods!” and our sound shrieks right through, we are staring at stark and the Gone.  Seeing past in icy clarity, our woods exposed and stripped – if we do not close our eyes in terror, but look far, far beyond our own tangled thicket of woods…far, far beyond, my lovely, farther even than the eye can see…are more woods, and more, everywhere woods making scents for their peoples, sheltering and shading them, burning and abandoning them as well.  If we hush and refuse ourselves despair as we see our woods give out, in turn setting ourselves silently to listening and keenly looking out – we can know the lessons of the Leavings.  That there are further woods than ours, many woods and other, only farther out.

We grow easily impatient of our woods in our discomforts and our panics and our fears.  Yes there are countlessly many Leavings – you can count on them, and by them, but my tender one, if you will persist and endure, if you are open to their lessons and their silence, the woods will come back to you, freshly and new.  There will be young woods you never knew before, and the old ones return too.

Our woods are never so much lost as that they undergo strange changes.  They break and wither, shrivel and drop – they must shed themselves of their embellishments and gathering continually – so they might produce themselves again, altered and renewed.  Their many uses over untold years are logged within their roots and cores, marked and divited, scarred and sapped – it is for us to remember and adapt, let go with them and wait, wait, enduring the Leavings with all that we have, slogging onward toward new growth.

Oh yes it is frightening to feel all is lost, sweet child of wonder, but our woods never fail us finally, they leave us to be born.

And this is why I gather samples wherever I happen to go – fruits and nuts, leaves and needles, parts of any woods I chance to see or hear – in order to remember and remind in times of Leaving that somewhere, and at any time, we will live again in woods that will be full and bright, returning the woods that we’ve known toward our unknown need.

Now rest, child, rest…the night is quiet and cold, let the woods hush and whisper through your dreams…

click this image for the document in its current entirety:

Notebook - Ida

12 thoughts on “The Gift that Explodes, 5 : Whispered Leavings

  1. It has the wonderful effect of being itself, and at the same time, being something other, more alien, more strange. An altered reality, a few clicks away from the expected frequency. Familiar and utterly new. A view that is not quite human, not quite tree, but a shaped atmosphere somewhere between them- the shape of space that we call ‘the wood’ perhaps….

  2. This is so moving, such poetry in prose. “They break and wither, shrivel and drop – they must shed themselves of their embellishments and gathering continually – so they might produce themselves again, altered and renewed.” The great lesson for all of us if we listen and pay attention. Thank you for saying this so beautifully.

  3. I love the line, “That there are further woods than ours, many woods and other, only farther out.” It is a perspective to always keep in mind. Thank you for sharing this.

"A word is a bridge thrown between myself and an other - a territory shared by both" - M. Bakhtin

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