shining quiet

by tobias crabtree

at 3:53 a.m.  hafiz glows on from the pages of the poetry book on the table. at 3:53 a.m. orion is in full stride and the sky is cold and perfect for hunting. there is such quiet in the air that i think i might hear the stars, i really might. and the 7 sisters are bunched in the hump of taurus’ back and taurus has the sly-eyed knowledge that orion will not get him this night, nor any other. i think maybe eternity takes a little break in these moments and allows the mortals to look into her eyes to see things that are almost within reach; like a mom showing a child the fit of a single piece of puzzle. within that maze overhead are things beyond things and small sparks of light from other darknesses and things that are moving with the forces of an incomprehensible past into my view and then carrying on, dead-set on forever. and as the tiny lights that move in the skies share a glimmering moment with me and then disappear, they then exist in two places at once; they go on as they were into the cosmos but also, they continue to move in the recreated night of my memory. and no one can say if something i’ve seen and re-imagined is not but just another branch of the real deal.

such a wild sky at 3:53 a.m.    such a blend of silence and light.    this shining quiet.

back when things were different, there were real hunters that walked across this continent. they weren’t hunting for 7 point racks or the biggest on record. there weren’t any tags given to hunt in some sought after, herd-rich stretch of land. there were tribes of people that migrated with the seasons and sat under these same stars. and before them, there were others that did the  same. they didn’t need a global positioning device because they traveled by foot, at the speed of life. they made fires and talked intelligently about what was prevalent; the curve of a well crafted bow, the rains that came early or late, the visions that came to the open-hearted. the love that happened in those days was made upon the ground and the heart of the world knew the heart of the people. when food was scarce, the sign showed on the face of those that had not tracked keenly enough, those whose arrow had missed it’s mark. surely there were years where the animals were less predictable or less available and the humans suffered in turn. black elk painted it all so clearly with one quote, “the gaunt belly truly sharpens the ear.”

and all around the world, each race of humans struggled in a similar fashion. everyone’s roots go back to a time when a fire was light and the earth was a bed. we have so much now. there is clutter in our yard and clutter in our soul. apple will surely make us think last years ipad is obsolete compared to this years. somewhere someone will trade their 100,000 dollar, year-old  car in for this year’s model because the headlights are cooler. i’ll burn gas going to some place that is remote and feel guilty for supporting a practice that’s raping the world. it’s a heavy trip, that’s for sure. this life is a heavy trip.

for the moment (and i can hear the seconds ticking on the analogue clock in the kitchen) i am in the shining quiet. it’s 4:41 a.m. now. i will think about what i can do to live in a way that allows my soul to hover closer to the older ways. maybe i need to go watch the frost roll in. maybe a few moments with the chickadees bouncing around the mint that’s gone to seed. maybe a little closed-mouth, time in the woods where the madrones stand all red and the mushrooms start to sneak around in the soft, loamy shade.