The dark of the moon. In my email inbox a series of photos, forwarded from someone in Texas, of a rattlesnake disappearing head-first into a black snake as if into a tailor-made Gehenna. It was, of course, dead, its molecules about to live again inside a new & sleeker skin, acquired in the opposite manner from the usual reductionism. It must’ve been a long, slow process. In the last snapshot the black snake is alone on the ground, as fat as a dirt-bike tire & unlikely to coil anytime soon.
The ceiling is better than the floor. I lie on the couch & gaze longingly at its immaculate meadow, trackless, free of dirt. White as a cloud that will never spill its snow. Good cover for disembodied spirits, which are, if anything, pale and fast-rising as steam. But this isn’t a fantasy about death, it’s a dream of stasis. Halfway to slumber, I watch a question assemble itself in my semi-conscious mind: Do elegance & purpose have anything in common? It startles me back to wakefulness. Of course, I want to say — but if it’s as obvious as that, where did this doubt come from? In Genesis, when things emerge from primordial vapor they are already “good” — the Creator has little or nothing to do with that, other than to see that it is so.
Sounds are muffled in the thick fog, & the autumn leaves seem to glow from within. A maple tree across the driveway supports two, competing narratives: the original, candelabra-shaped leaves, and the three-in-one leaves of the poison ivy that has parasitized it. They have turned an identical shade of orange. Fog swallows distance, and for some reason this makes time seem less pressing as well. You travel through it & your pool of awareness travels with you, like a reader through a scroll where every line gives rise to new reams of exegesis. But at some, seemingly arbitrary point, you can’t go on without dropping to your knees and begging forgiveness of the ground, which you have so thoroughly taken in stride. The fog says, you can only walk in circles. You are already home.