Lughnasa and the Korea Moon
Sunday gratefuls: The Trail to Cold Mountain. Performed to applause. Released. Packing started. Radical light this time. The company of actors. Acting. Alan and Joan at dinner last night. Cold Mountain. His poetry. The improv class’s Armando. Ginnie. Rebecca. Marilyn and Irv. Ruth. Jen. Gabe. Joan’s piece on the dybbuk. Alan’s on aging. Tal, a master teacher at 26. A chilly Mountain Night. Luke and Leo. Vince. The Parking Spot. TSA open at 4 am for precheck security. Korea. Israel. Taipei.
Sparks of Joy and Awe: Live a Great Story (decal on a Jeep back window)
One brief shining: This time there was a crowd when I walked out, confident in my piece, carrying the drinking Gourd and my parchment poems, dropped into Herme and Han Shan’s story, Great Sol gone unseen as Berrigan Mountain rotated west with the rest of us, a light breeze blowing.
Go now, the play has ended. My first play has found an audience. What a rush. I finished saying, “Take the Trail to Cold Mountain.” And we all had. My performance was over. The work of the summer over. Ups and downs culminating in a work I was proud of and a performance I was proud of. Felt wonderful. Stretched in a healthy way past my comfort zone.
Only will know later if my goal for the piece spreading the word about the Rivers and Mountains poetry tradition of China found its way into anyone’s heart. If I had written an artist’s statement for The Trail to Cold Mountain it would have been something like this:
I want to introduce to a Mountain audience the Rivers and Mountains poetry tradition of China through the Tarot archetype of the Hermit. I believe most Mountain folks have a strong component of this archetype that led them here. We like the curvy roads, the cool Mountain mornings, living with Wild Neighbors on Forested Land. No, more. We need to live away from the World, to clear the heat and dust from our minds and be where the Wind sings through the Pines. So, too, in China. In the Andes. In all the great Mountains and Forests of the World. We are one people.
Poetry and archetype, myth and legend. Religion. This has long been my realm. From one novel to the next, from one job to the next, even the motor behind the justice work. Now it speaks to where and how and with whom I live. In the Mountains, with other Hermits yet also linked in loving ways to a community, caring for them and being cared for by them. Still linked in deep heart connection with Minnesota made friends, with family far away and nearby, living my own life with them all, yet apart from them, too.
Deepening the love. Burning away the dross.
Coming home, late. Drove up Brook Forest and Black Mountain Drives. Realized a powerful raison d’être for experiencing the sacred. As I drive along the familiar ranks of Lodgepoles and Aspens, I look now for another glimpse, a brief appearance of the natural world calling to me. (Art Green, Radical Judaism, p. 120) I know that the opportunity, the chance to again see through a portal like the Rainy Night Watcher exists. Thus, I’m more aware of the sacred all along the drive.
This is, I imagine, the reason others over the course of history have written down their experiences, collected the stories of others, and collected them in what we call sacred writings. Not to freeze those moment and make them rules against which to measure our lives, but as clues, as prompts to the possible moments when the natural world will reach out to us, to help us be ready to see what we’re looking at.