from Journal of a Scudding Cloud
I spent one long, variegated summer clearing a new pasture I had
all but inadequately imagined beforehand, yet luckily discovered
was primarily hermetic, and therefore largely inviolable. Yet
even saying this, my own perception of it still seems to me part
fact and fiction. I could not have known ahead of time what would
be required of me, or how its use might best be applied. This
fact, by itself, was the one I trusted most.
We don't always have to know where we are going, or why it
makes us feel a certain way.
Sometimes the whole of it simply turns out to be the right
thread, or the one we needed most at the time. The pasture, or
what became a pasture, was there all the time. I was the one who
Later this would all take a good deal of time for me to un-
ravel, and I wasted a lot of it. I thrashed about a great deal
emotionally, especially concerning certain tedious, repetitive
ideas. Clearly I was at the center of the whole thing, and I
spent a lot of time patting myself on the back for this, or else
taking myself far more to task than I should have. Once I got
past the silliness, things began to go a lot better.
I actually got to work clearing the pasture for one thing;
I began firming up.
Certain optimum moments always seem to appear, from time to
time, the ones we would give our right arms for, just like a
coyote. This time, the pasture was there, and so was I. There
are, after all, still purely causal relationships.
I cleared the pasture that summer, and of course I made
several mistakes along the way. Some seemed as interesting to
me as many of my small successes, perhaps because they always
seemed to demand more of me, I don't know. A defining moment
came (what a term that is) when the whole of the valley floor
looked perfectly aged once again, aged that is for a pasture.
It looked, I thought, exceptionally good. But I was beginning
to look like something else. I had done some work I approved of,
yet I still felt like I was lagging. A number of birds kept
circling above my head, all the while, and it was becoming
increasingly clear to me that I would never be one of them. The
labor itself, however, was more than satisfying. Clearing the
pasture had been, after all, my own conception. So why was I
still feeling a step behind? If the work felt right, I still
felt wrong. But I was beginning to get to know myself better;
I was on the cusp. It would be days, weeks or months even, before
I could make any sense out of this. But I thought how these were
the same, yet langorous, deft oblongs of writing itself. When I
was younger, I wanted this to be pure, now my reasons are far
more personal, and exact.
It's true that when I started I already had some idea of get-
ting closer to the pasture, a pretty old idea at that. I even
thought that gravity might begin to flow my way, from some upper
But I was wrong about that too.
When fall arrived everything began to fall into place; I knew
I had done my best. Still, I was married to too many opposites,
but many of them were good, some including as always the sharp-
ness in the day, or a particular border of night sky.
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