an image diary

"And if he left off dreaming about you, where do you suppose you'd be? ... You'd be nowhere. Why, you're only a sort of thing in his dream! If that there King was to wake you'd go out -- bang! -- just like a candle!"

"Hush! You'll be waking him, I'm afraid, if you make so much noise."

"Well it's no use your talking about waking him when you're only one of the things in his dream. You know very well you're not real."

Sunday, February 11, 2007

. . . . . . .


"What is present to me is what has hold on my becoming."


Meanwhile I had an astonishingly beautiful day. The single digits of the last weeks finally surrendered to a balmy 30, the streets thawed, and the driveway frozen lake cracked wide open melting to an archipelago slush by afternoon. I wore one coat, only one, the old cashmere one I save for important days, and put the snow boots aside for thin-soled Italian-made loafers, and my wool sweater aside for velvet. I wore the scarf D gave me for my birthday--of iridescent melon silk and black embroidery all the way from Turkey--and I drove to the priory for mass with a handmade rosary in my pocket.


All of late morning I sat in the chapel in the smell of incense and in the overcast light and thought of people close to me and watched a group of fourteen year-old boys on retreat suffer the mass, one chewing his thumb, one turning back every few minutes to catch his friend's eye, one kicking his shoes absently and forgetting to kneel while the Eucharist was prepared until the boy behind him tapped him on the back, all grinning a bit and mocking when two were chosen to bring the gifts forward. They came to life, animated at once, when we shook hands and wished each other peace: my favorite part of the mass also.


After, while the chapel cleared and the monks and guests sat down for lunch, Brother Nathan and I drove to Peoria with a brown bag meal of cheese and apples and nuts to see the seventy-two Ansel Adams photographs on exhibit at the Lakeview Museum, his invitation two weeks ago when I last brought out the camera at the priory: I'm going--come with me.


I thumbed through a book called The Negative and marveled at what he knew of light.


He said let's try out your four-wheel drive so I can show you our field com'on be adventurous, keep the car rolling. So I did, and we parked a few feet short of the big Cat sleeping on the ridge of the bowl behind it where red clods of turned earth came up through the snow and the snow turned orange in the sun going down through soft cloud. He said here, and waved his arms, think of kites and of kids playing soccer, picnics, feasts, every one of us sitting on the grassy knolls with the gospel being preached
and a basketball hoop there at the far end, a place for the community at our community, and all of this wonderful silence now amazing when soon it will be filled with thunder.


He said I know you feel good about being around the Brothers but if there is something more specific we can do for you ask okay? I said you're translating M. D. Philippe's Philosophie de l'arte into English--you're looking for a typist you mentioned sometime back? Yes, he said, I am translating it on tape during the few free moments I have: when I drive or travel. I said: I want to read it, let me type and transcribe, I might be lousy at it but let me try. He said if you give me sixteen minutes of listening and transcribing and need to give it up that will be more gift than the book will have had.


My thin heeled shoes, his sandals and socks: a warm windless thirty-two. He knocked the snow off his shoes before getting into the car again and spent some time at it. Lovingly. I almost said: please, we're all friends here. The snow included.


"and what is the use of a book...without pictures or conversations?"

[contact me:]

what o'clock it is


live flowers