"When you hear the sound from
far enough away
even dynamite can purr..."
- David Wilcox
Those who know me, know that I love quotes. I love the feeling of relationship/friendship I find in a shared love for ideas...and for that writer's succinct articulation of those ideas.
I also love the connections, the synapses made between seemingly disparate ideas when they move through the corridors of my heart. That happened for me today on a number of fronts.
It started when I came upon a tiny scrippity scrap of notebook paper on which I'd written the following quote one wintery afternoon, a couple of years ago.
"She liked unfinished. She liked process.
She liked moving things -- rivers, clouds, heartbeats."
- Alice Hoffman (The Third Angel)
The quote struck me immediately the first time I read it...and it did again this morning when I found my scribblings, in the leaves of Hoffman's book. It resonates with how I feel about things. I like process...I am not at all eager for things to be "done." I like the feeling of Life (vitality, creation, surprise) flowing through our lives like a river...changing and shifting its outline and form moment-by-moment.
And by reciprocity, the river has a transformative effect on the landscape. The "ground" which gives the river its surprisingly beautiful undulating and meandering boundaries, is changed by the river's course. It alters those same banks...molecule-by-molecule... moment-by-moment as it carves and sculpts its host landscape. There is something so organic and alive about things that are pulsing with process. There is a relationship that cannot be one-sided.
So, this morning, as I was reading this quote, I started thinking about rivers and couldn't help but start humming, "Just Around The River Bend," from Disney's Pocahontas.
"What I love most about rivers is
You can't step in the same river twice
The water's always changing
"Yes," I thought, "it all fits." That serendipitous sense of Life in which we allow one moment to flow into another. When we surrender to a divine surprise. When we are more in love with the process, than a product.
And then I caught my friend Randall's posting of a David Wilcox house concert performance of his song, "Dynamite in the Distance" on Facebook.
In his opening remarks David gives words to what I feel, in my heart, about the process of writing, praying, living. He says:
"I have loved the process of writing for a long time...not the product, so much, but the process. It's my way of finding the elements of my story that I don't want to miss, before it's too late.
"It's about finding places in my heart that have been covered and buried, and locked in storage, and getting them back so I can be more alive.
"So, it is bewildering for people who come, when I teach songwriting, because they are expecting me to tell them how to make a song sound like a song, how it ought to sound...how to fill out the form.
"But I don't want to fill out the form,
I want to be informed.
"I want the song to tell me what it knows, I don't want to make it do anything. If I start out with a guitar riff, or a little phrase, and it moves me, I trust that it moves me because it's coming from a place that I am going.
"And my heart catches a point of view as if it's a vista that I haven't even hiked to yet. But it's a way of seeing. It's almost as if I could see from the point of view of who I could become. Wow...now that saved my life.
"I need music. I need it to remind me."
"Wow," I thought, "just wow..."
Then I remembered the writings of the late Celtic sage - poet, philosopher, and spiritual luminary - John O'Donahue. I have been swimming, floating, drowning in his words for the past few weeks. His quotes have been the thoughts I've wrapped myself up in...like the old quilts hanging on walls, and folded in piles and cupboards throughout our home. Here are two, that are like snipped pieces of fabric from favorite old dresses. They are so softened by wear that I often find myself stroking them whenever I am snuggled under the weight of his words:
"As water takes whatever shape it is in,
So free may you be about who you become."
"I would love to live like a river flows,
carried by the surprise of its own unfolding."
So, I don't know that this post has a punchline. Tonight there really is no clear "message" or "product." Just some thoughts to let flow through the landscape of your heart. If they carve a new bank, or just eddy for a while...wonderful. I hope you enjoy the sound of this river's song...
Kate Robertson, CS