"In Girard Tournesol's recent poem, Forest Madrigal, the poet beautifully demonstrates how the connection between the physical, spiritual and cerebral culminates in the exquisite and rejuvenating experience of a walk in the woods." - Jessica Weible, N/S Editor
They deserve your close attention. Distant wails in the forest. Here we hold hands with shadow and light.
The passion always precedes the glory. The passion is fleeting while the glory endures. Like the fallen timber shrouded in moss, glory breathes in butterfly wings.
I say go until you stop and surely don’t quit. Never give up. You think that hemlock gave up? Covered in rot and what-not and it’s still not giving up. Just getting glamorous actually. You never know what this place is all about so it’s good to stick around for what might happen next. A pileated woodpecker might show up to tell you your whole life may give birth at any moment.
Promises are fragile things but the forest never breaks her promise. The forest is always faithful. Is there also then a promise of heaven? Repeatedly witnessing promises kept proves they are alive but how could I ever know if a promise of heaven is kept? I walk in the forest. Oh, I guess on this hike through God’s country I could fancy meeting a “psychic-friend” or “prophet” or “time traveler” who’d tell me. In reality it’s more like waiting patiently thousands of years just to see a single person who’s been convincingly dead for three maybe four days get up looking like hell and order a pizza. And so any promise of heaven and therefore friendship, love and forever are held gently in the heart. Probably.
Is Longfellow Trail getting steeper? I don’t think about death, much. Although I do think we are genetically able to tolerate mortal thoughts in small spurts at a time and in this way thoughts of death are a lot like flatulence. Ok, or as my bride would probably have told you, death thoughts somewhat more tolerable than my flatulence. As I see it, death is pretty much exactly like the infinity of
blankness before I was born—an interval of time for which I couldn’t give an
“at’s rass” about. No, the game is life and the point of it all has always been life. You’ve got to believe in it no matter how glamorous it gets. So, if you live here long enough or let here live in you long enough, you’ll feel the blood of life flow through you. You’ll hear its swish-swish-swish as the wind in the trees and scamper of little feet crinkling crisp leaves.
If given an ounce of thought about it the promise of life is unquestionably known, felt, understood. Like huffing and puffing on this hike. It can’t be related in mantras, rally jingo or similar gobbledygook. As men keep calling this;
“The Forest Cathedral,” tells me they do not know her. In spirit, sense and flesh they do not know her. That giant root-covered boulder over there knows more. So does that fern dancing in a ray of light.
At the risk of repeating myself as I have been known to do more often as I grow older; men, and I suppose a fair number of women, will compare it to holy places on earth when it’s no such thing. This is heaven begging to be accepted in your heart as such, as love accepts love.
Acceptance greatly aids your walk here and fills the spirit with a sorta helium
that lifts you, though not like you’re some cliché walking on clouds but as if you
are a cloud permitted to walk as lightly as possible fulfilling your dream of walking. It’s like holy hiking boots, shepherd’s staff optional.
Excuse me while I shake this bundle and take a breather here. Whew, it’s not the heat but the humility that gets you. (Thank goodness for Yogi Berra!) Everyone is always searching for the meaning of life when it’s the totality of life that is meaning. This is easier demonstrated than defined, like the way nobody can define blue. But will ya take a look at that sky? It’s like that.
Of course the cool water is the best you’ve ever tasted, a quenching satisfaction without the pre-existing feeling of thirst. Could it be any other way? I resist the impulse to re-baptize myself considering this a redundant redundancy.
There is nighttime and daytime both considered equally beautiful yet different parts of a whole day. There is no darkness, which is difficult to explain, so I won’t.
You can see and hear bad things from here if you want, especially if you are one of those hanger-on types. Frankly, I don’t know why anybody would want. Your mind is drawn to the sway and rustle of tall brush. A kingfisher will bolt by with the blessing of Now on its wings and all is forgiven, forgotten, free.
My friends tell me I’m delusional about all this heaven business and they might be right. I mention since they aren’t here much it may also prove my point and in one fell swoop the existence of that other place the kingfisher keeps trying to distract me from.
. . .or then again, they may be right and I may be that personality type their nickname for me implies. Spreading your bride’s ashes somewhere—at her request of course—plays with your mind somewhat. And my friends are rather convincing when they point out she’s nowhere to be found as Herself. I tell them they are full of what my nickname produces and they reply that it’s what I have for brains. I begin to use quotation marks when referring to them as “friends.” Heaven is as heaven does. Probability and therefore doubt is woven into the fabric of the universe of which heaven is a part, so — maybe so.
When I’m lonely here like today I call out her name, call to her and none too softly either. The echoes help, help me. Men whisper or mutter only when they’re being polite. Men wail, wail, wail when we feel and when we mean it and so I do, I do, I do because every fall of my cloud-feet tells me she’s here, here, here with me. So, if the rains aren’t my tears mixed together with God’s then this could possibly not be heaven. Instead I believe she’s probably here, with only a little doubt, here, because we promised each other forever, forever, forever
. . .though we never said how. And if this isn’t heaven, God has a very high bar for impressing me as she is here as promised in this place with me, with me, with me . . . with me . . . and. . .
I know her.
~ Girard Tournesol