"Lotus Opening" by L. Folk

Monday, June 20, 2011

The Desire for Tangibility

 I feel like I am part of the ether, drifting a little bit here, a little bit there. It must be the allergies, the fog of microscopic dust that is clogging my head. Everything, these days, seems of the ether. This is what I've realized as of late: I am lacking in tangibility. I work with people whom I know only through the blips of words on the screen. Even my work is hidden away in some electromagnetic cell. That's the thing about these virtual worlds we live in; we start to crave tangibility. I want to feel a page, hold the money in my hand, have my husband hold me, as he did this morning. Even meditation has become ether-like. It's dished out no concrete image I can work with.
Yesterday, while I was tearing the sheets off the bed, I saw a picture of my father and me. I was in the crux of his arm. I was just a baby and he looked like a young Robert DeNiro or Sylvester Stallone. The thought in my mind: he is ether now. Ether, as in wind, as in the pockets of air in the soil, the foam in the sea, a sunbeam. And I wondered, does he miss his body? The healthy body, I mean, with the strong muscles and the beating heart, and the soft lines of wisdom around his eyes. It's okay to be breath, something inside me said. It's easy, the easiest thing in the world. Even Thich Nhat Han said this, to not worry about your loved ones when they die because they will be born into nature as the lily in the pond, or the rainbow of scales on the carp, or the soft wind that caresses your face.
But then there is Anne Sexton, who says in her poem, “Earth”, how God “loafs around in heaven,/ without a shape/ but He would like to smoke His cigar/ or bite His fingernails/and so forth". And I thought, was that why matter was created, because God who is “all soul” would like to “house it in a body/ and come down/ and give it a bath/now and then”?
I believe the spirit of my father set up camp inside my heart, sure. It is easy to feel it close to the nameless mysteries I house inside myself. But I do miss his face. I do miss his strong arms, his wavy black hair. His laughing eyes.

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