I was forced to write this Memorial Day column from my kitchen table and not the backyard as was planned, for my neighbors Mr. and Mrs. Piggy—the somewhat obese interracial couple who live on the first floor next door were outside slaving over a hot grill yesterday—and smoke always follows beauty.
So inside I came with my loose sheets of paper to the kitchen table, where with a light, and a pen almost exhausted from ink, I commenced to jotting my ideas and concepts regarding the lack of prayerful meditation in Christianity today. I know there will never be a market for such stories but I write them anyway, just for the hell of it.
The celebrated mystic writer St. John of the Cross has convinced me that inside, under the careful focus of the mind’s eye, is a secret path to ‘The Kingdom of God’, so I spent almost all the Memorial Day weekend forgetting absolutely everything, sitting outside in the garden with my eyes closed, permitting the breeze to pass over and through me—convinced that with enough dedication I could give up my addiction to reading and writing and take on a more profound, personal approach to conquering eternity.
Sudden thoughts and impulses would push into my silent concentration—I’d push them down, as St. John would instruct in one of his poems and go on giving thanks to the creator for just being here—breathing.
Amazing, it seemed after spending hours in trance under the glow of the dark of my eyelids, how I could sense my two cats coming near to rub across my legs which were twisted like pretzels or prayerful hands. I sensed the energy of the cats long before they came close and as the day progressed, could distinguish the different waves of energy being emitted by the two animals. What was that sensation—a bumble bee or a bird above? I don’t know- I’m focusing now—tune it out.
With so much to think about, it’s so hard to focus on just the here and now, but briefly, I believe I found that place that St. John wrote so profoundly of.
When my eyes opened, they were flooded by a canopy of illuminated green from above—for both the apple and cherry trees have shed their blossoms and the limbs have transformed to thick layers green leaves that to my dilated eyes and pupils appeared as a giant lampshade above and I, the light bulb.
Through the leaves, every so often as I rested from prayer to read San Juan de la cruz, a jet on the way JFK airport appeared in my peripheral view, just above the top of the tiny prayer book.
For a moment it seems I can see the faces of those inside the plane—gods not so grounded. It may never occur from the sky that I just lay here in the grass with nothing to do but feel joy and write about it—such a shame I didn’t write this outside, but I needed to come inside to focus.