The Scarlet Letter
Volume III, Number 1 | Sept. 1995
From the Camel's Back
by Sr. Continuity, Oasis Master

This is a meditation on the deep need for the loving nurture of the family, and the answering call to get the hell out and away, before it or you are barely old enough; before the whole thing swallows you whole. The shock of the new and horror of change, yoked to the itch for novelty and instinct to metastasis. The search for the love that loves you true, honor bright, and the stultifying stagnation of the relationship that results. Oh, the up and the down, the in and the out of it. The unintended, the run-in-the-other-direction-until-you-hit-the-wall, then repeat-until-done of it. And having neatly defined the boundaries, do we play in the pen or thrust through the fence? Or fly away? Come empty my aching head and fill it with all one infinite unity. Mystery of mystery, even you are three.

If you could put your finger on it it wouldn't be a mystery, now would it? If you gathered up the entire universe in a sheet with four corners and threw it into a big old pot and turned up the heat, you could reduce it to this sort of bi-valvular clam thing, that exists to breathe. And the universe is the clam, and all its activity is the breath. All motion and meaning boiled down to two actions which are one: going out, and coming in. Waves coming up the beach with no limit and no intention to ever stop coming forth: until their energy is spent. Waves rolling back out to sea, rolling home to rejoin the mama: like there could be nothing and no other than the return. And again. The journey is itself the destination, no anticipation of the terminus. Oh mercy, the water cleaving, lotus borne Lord of Silence is a mollusk that neither comes nor goes, but dwells like a lonely radio transmitter, sending and receiving, repeat 'till done, world without end, amen.

Pierce the protrusion and fill the cavity. Mountain and eagle, lion and pylon. 131-valvular mollusk. It has been said that if you take a bunch of pointy stones and throw them in a bag and shake them together for a while, one of two things will happen: the sharp edges will wear off or the bag will break. As one of the sharpest rocks in our bag of bones, I have joined the rest of you in weaving hair and skin into the sack that contains us, proud to join the work parties that take the overfilled dripping cups back to the heart of the beast for the requisite anointment and nourishment, for the mending and the lending, the extension and the retreat. (Have I mentioned that I am you. And you me. Your mother, your sister, your lover, your plumber. Just a rock in a bag of rocks, rocking together.)

This was the year that the rough edges came off, and this was accompanied by some real pain, for the blooding was not free. It wasn't easy either: this was a year when some really big bad scary things happened to us as individuals and we hung through it together. There have been a series of what at times seemed like conditioned assaults on this family, and we have come through like champs, and it has defined us as a community in the way that a picnic never could. Adversity is a rotten staple diet, but it has proved leaven for the bread that ever rises. This was the year that the skin knit, and the bag held water. We are, truly, an Oasis. And we float! Never thirst...

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