Sunday, September 25, 2016

Love's austere and lonely offices

The winter that I was eight, my family went on a vacation to Rajasthan. We took a train at one point, I don't recall from where to where but a guess would be from Delhi to Jaipur. In any event, it was mid-morning when we passed an enormous field of mustard. What I remember about this is not the mustard specifically, which was glorious enough in that great blaze of yellow under very blue skies. It is the fact that as we were passing it, my father pulled me onto his knee and pointed at the field, relating some little story of his own childhood and how happy he had been at the time he was recalling. (He grew up in Rajasthan.)

It was one of the best moments of my life, though this memory surfaces only rarely. A few years ago I and many others I knew were going through a particularly trying time in our lives. One night I had a dream that I was gifted with the power of effortless flight, and was flying over a great golden field of flowers under a blue endless sky. The dream brought much solace and peace. Why is it only now that I find the link between my treasured childhood memory and this obvious bit of comfort that my own brain had devised?

I find that this September is a similar time of trials. May everyone find their own dream of yellow flowers. 

I'm also inspired to post a particularly beautiful poem here, in honor of love and loss:

Those Winter Sundays
Sundays too my father got up early
And put his clothes on in the blueback cold,
then with cracked hands that ached
from labor in the weekday weather made
banked fires blaze. No one ever thanked him.
I'd wake and hear the cold splintering, breaking.
When the rooms were warm, he'd call,
and slowly I would rise and dress,
fearing the chronic angers of that house,
Speaking indifferently to him,
who had driven out the cold
and polished my good shoes as well.
What did I know, what did I know
of love's austere and lonely offices? 

~By Robert Hayden

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