Excerpts

Presence and absence, not as duality with metaphysical implications but as the same process, the same consciousness, the same sky and mountain and earth and body. Presence is absence and both are the mystery. The kestrel bursts forth from mystery into my presence, the presence of my awareness and the presence of my consciousness and then the presence of my attention. She leaves and is forgotten but returns in the presence of my memory which is also absence but which unites us when the memory arises. A presence shared is also at the same moment absence shared.

Liminal: out of Latin’s limin and limen both of which mean something like ‘threshold’. Limen survives in English as a noun and “refers to the point at which a physiological or psychological effect begins to be produced” (Merriam-Webster). Let’s go down further. Subliminal thus literally means below a threshold. To sublimate is to push down beneath sense or awareness. As these things happen, I found this today written by Dougald Hine, the founder of one of my favorite places to read about the world:

The liminal is the space of the threshold, with all the vulnerability and potential of transition: the costliness of letting go, with no guarantee of what will come after. The liminal phase of a ritual is the moment of greatest danger – or rather, ritual is a safety apparatus built around the liminal. Whichever, the liminal is where the work gets done, where the change happens (Dark Mountain Blog)

I started this project by writing of the liminal lands of the wild land preserve that curved its way down into my neighborhood from the high Wasatch. I meant that word in its modern poetic sense of gauzy threshold. I see now more clearly than ever before that so much that has been sublimated is expressing itself in this corpus. The walking is the ritual. The looking is the ritual. The writing is the ritual. Beyond the ritual though is the actual limen. Ritual protects us as we take off the old skin and prepare to walk forward into the black where there is nothing to guide us but ourselves. As I take the bird into my eye she surely brings me into hers. We live in the same instantaneous tissue that lasts forever. We live in each other. I know where I'm going. The gauzy threshold is the point at which psychological effects are produced. The Columbus Preserve and I are the same. I am at home, have found a home. The She Kestrel is my guide, it is She who has sent the emissaries to me. It is She who has given me the gift of my own depths. She takes me to where Bear and Skunk wait for me among the sweet ponderosa pines and endless bramble berries that line the Chiwaukum Creek of my soul. From there Skunk takes me over the mountain to a beautiful lake. At the western shore of the lake we enter a cave which goes and goes down far below the lake. At the end of the cave is a glowing red stone - Archetype.

 I dream a few weeks later that I am in a house with my father and uncle. I notice a brilliant emerald snake, huge, come slithering toward the house. It is awful and at the same time beautiful - I know it means to kill me. When it reaches the back window, I go to that room and find Skunk staring implacably out at the brilliant serpent, nothing but a screen separating them.

Skunk saved my life in the dream. Kestrel brought me beyond the threshold of knowing that my life needed saving.

Liminal. Threshold. Movement deep down. 

 

"Procession of tumbled granite

Extending into the deep pool

Of the Chewuch. To watch bull bats

And bears, merlin and kingfishers

            Sacros, wheel of Rangarhuerli

Whose pole star

            Is written Ursa Major,

            Repelled and attracted by landnam

To return from the uncreated creating

 

I involve thee Surda Thalia,

Return and move brightly over the moor be not known,

Nor remove chthonically

Where I cannot see you,

 

            Have held for a moment

            The visionary company

            Call them diamond-bear

Three by three

Flame and wonder

Devour overcome

To still movement

To still movement

To look into the lion’s

Mouth without averring

To climb into the bowels of the bear and have the blood on me

To eat the digested meat, assume the form of the raven, fly into the cavernous empyrean"