the river in the tree

by JordanB

“The lawn is full of south and the odors tangle, and I hear today for the first the river in the tree.” ~emily dickinson

What a delight, to have one’s eyes opened, to see the pure form within ever-constant change. William Styron, reflecting on his mental illness, writes of a contralto passage from a Brahm’s rhapsody:

“This sound, which like all music – indeed, like all pleasure – I had been numbly unresponsive to for months, pierced my heart like a dagger, and in a flood of swift recollection I thought of all the joys the house had known.”

The fog thick as a blanket, one note like a shaft of sun, a comrade in white sent from heaven to minister to the sick, dying man, stranded on the battlefield of depression. There are weights that press against our chest for so long that we no longer notice they are there until they are suddenly lifted. When the ball and chain fall away, we may feel like dancing, but afraid that we do not know how. No wonder that for some time our shoulders may still droop, and our feet may still drag.

There are these things that call us back to life, and in so doing bequeath in us a new awareness of deep, abiding beauty. There is nothing like being grateful for the one bird singing outside our window, for the one child laughing, for the one note played piercingly high. There are these things that come uninvited to our darkened hearth, and bring their light and charm with them.

I could cry salty tears
Where have I been all these years
Little wow, tell me now-
How long has this been going on?

There were chills up my spine
And some thrills I can’t define
Listen sweet, I repeat-
How long has this been going on?

Oh, I feel that I could melt
Into heaven I’m hurled
I know how Colombus felt
finding another world.

Kiss me once, then once more
What a dunce I was before
What a break, for heaven’s sake!
How long has this been going on?