Tides

blue-boats

Sometimes when I look in the mirror, I feel brittle. My face is set, full of worry and the obligations of life. There is an edge I can not name that builds, and shows itself to me in a glance, or an unexpected reflection in a passing window.

My husband and I have lives that are too busy. We behave like separate ships on the sea, sending signals and flashes of light while moving in turbulent waters, our attention fully given to navigation.

But once in awhile all that turbulence stops. The sea calms and we drift slowly into shore, rediscovering each other like long lost friends, wondering how we ever drifted so far apart. Those times are precious to me, the coming back times. The sharp edges of our lives melt against candle light. Our faces soften. Our bodies reach toward the warmth of one another, and suddenly I no longer feel old, rigid or brittle.

We lived in this soft place when we met. We could not pull ourselves from it, but now it takes a snow storm or an act of love to remember the truth of who we are together.

The scent of ginkgo and vanilla blend in fragrant oils and infuse the space. A musical tapestry woven with harp and voice washes away the outside world. The phone is unplugged. I study the way my hair falls against my face in the shadows on the wall, as I tenderly stroke the white of his beard, and trace the lines of his lips with my finger. Our bodies find each other in celebration.

When did the mundane gain so much attention and power? When did the entrance to this soft place become veiled and difficult to find?

We have been in retreat, but I can feel the tide approaching. The sea is calling and we will soon slip back into the way it was. There will be day after day of appointments, business meetings and obligations. In the evening we will embrace, have dinner and fall dead tired into our beds, or stay up half the night to meet excessive demands.

During those times, I will remember and long for this retreat. I will imagine our shadows and tenderness played out against the bedroom wall and wish for it. I will notice, and wonder how we can slow down enough to find the veiled entrance into this softer, gentler place.

Wanting

When I have a large house, I will make a room that is only for lovemaking; nothing else will happen there. I will fill it with candles, scents, silk scarves, oils and music. When we walk into that room everything ‘other’ will fall away. The snares, telephones and concerns of our lives will be dropped at the door. This would not be a room for sleeping, there would be no alarm clock or pajamas. Our intention would define the space.

When I walk in the library I am in love with books; when I walk in a church I am in love with ritual; when I walk in the gym I am in love with swimming. I want to walk in this room too and be in love with touch. I want the room to help us go deeper, returning us to the truth of who we are together when the world does not pull us away.

That’s what I want in an ideal house. No more cramped living with knees folded under our chins and other peoples concerns making us strangers. In this next house, the river will lap near the window, we’ll have a long kitchen table for friends and family, and windows spilling sunlight over hardwood floors. But most important, we’ll have this chamber, this private room that will celebrate the senses. It will open to us and in us so we can be fully present, our minds being nowhere else, not in thought, word or memory. In this space, we will reclaim ourselves, remember and delight. I hope we go there often with large smiles, hungry eyes and quiet wanting.

Given

I imagine you near me.

Tuffs of white hair frame the welcome of your eyes, a soft inner peace replaces the dusting of chaos from the outside world. We move to the bed, pull back the wedding quilt and leave our clothes on the floor. You are mine now, freely given, holding nothing back. No thought is elsewhere secretly wishing for something other. What power rests in being completely present in one another.

What blissful abandon is made possible by merging desire into the fullness of each moment. I have come home to you, and you to me. Our bodies have ached for each other through lifetimes of separation. This union is far greater than husband and wife, or relationship in any context I have known.

Our union is the union of the moon pulling the tide from the sea. It is the core of life that pulses through the sap in every tree; it is the sun tenderly opening the face of each new flower. We journey in this place of perfect oneness, you and I, and all that we make together. We journey for hours and days until the task becomes one of pulling apart. We invent things to do that are other then this homecoming.

I cook to further delight your senses. Each ingredient intoxicated with my rapture in your arms, each mouthful you praise holds my desire. You have come home to me at last. May this offering melt in your mouth and move to every cell in your hungry body, as I long to fill every corner, and to be filled.

Explore it all, the sweet, the sour, the hot, the cold. Vegetables simmering in melted butter, cheese yielding and blending over eggs. Herbs freshly clipped from the garden. We’re bringing the outside in, one ingredient at a time.

You go back for seconds and thirds licking the plate clean. What was that? you ask. I’ve never tasted anything like it. I have no language for that experience.

How can I tell you? Your appetite is primordial, my ability to satisfy encoded.

And what do I answer when friends call and ask, What have you been doing?

We nest now in the bodies of one another. We’ve made a home in another reality. This new space holds us as lovers, both stepping in on the same June day. The ceilings reach for the sky in sloping angles refusing to be boxed ~ a rice paper screen and antique shawl shelter our safety.

I have no one to cook for now. My appetite has diminished. Yet, I ache for you and those journeys in our nest of a bed. For the first time in our lives we know what love is. Dare I speak for you? I think so. We know how it feels, how it smells and how it tastes. We know what the face of love looks like, and we are profoundly humbled by it’s bold uncensored truth.

written July 2005