encounterings

They meet, an encounter, chance, for there is no other kind, and they watch and listen and observe and wonder, and go back to their lives and think, excited. They think. And they ask. They ask their lives, feeling a life should know something about what it is the person living it feels. But lives are uncertain, uncertain at best, of what is that mystery made.

Filled with questions, questions big and little, questions small and tall, they take this new news to their respective someones—“I met this guy…” “I met this girl…”—like they’re returning to their villages after a day spent alone exploring the strange wilderness just over the hill, coming back at dusk with word of something out there. And their someones ask questions too, and offer answers, village answers mostly, framed by knowledge only that the wilderness exists, out, over, and beyond, hearsay mostly, these secondary lives believing their lives have answers for the first, or should, or may, making the same mistake, making it worse because it’s not even about them or anything most of them know or could.

But the askers are glad because now someone else is asking, at least, because it’s out in the open to withstand the test of thoughts and words and the light of day and dark of night, parallax views and vistas and vista views of the same and singular beautiful strange mysterious out there. The questions, no matter how mundane, are like kindling thrown on an already steady-burning fire, and each reply is a gust of wind making the flames leap and breathe. Excitement, reticence, fear, joy, concern, hope, whatever the new life they’ve bumped into might trigger in the bumping, all gusts and gusting.

“How does it feel,” the someones ask.  “Like a dream,” they say, “or waking into one,” glowingly unpoetic. And some of the someones ooh and aah while others think themselves wise and pragmatic and remind them that dreams aren’t real and ask how it’s possible to wake into one anyway. Anyway.

And they play the game, do the dance, sending their smoke signals up into the air to rise above the crest of the hill, smoke signals and screens, just like most of them most of the time, keeping to the overworn tips and tricks and strategies and moves and messages, keeping themselves mostly under wraps, keeping the hill and the wilderness between. Because it’s safe, smart, easy, normal, it seems. For how long? Forever, it seems, usually—two lives remain two, the other remaining other, the wilderness remaining wild, and so they drift along togetherish, signaling and screening but never really meeting again out there.

Unless it fits. And then there’s no drift of togetherishness, only a sense, commanding and tacit, that out there is in here and they are tied not by time, not by arrangement, not by space, not by plan or purview but by nature and purpose and flame, rolling along whole and expanding, soaking up the same search not so much for completeness as enhancement, enchanted growth by slender exponentials rather than a lazy, dull fattening of accumulation. Not by not by, too many not bys, but by is are and be, lost in the wilderness, together, apart, together lost and found.

These beautiful broken people are like gems, unpolished and just-mined, gems only an honest, discerning, untrained eye can truly appreciate, gems most don’t see or care to because they’re looking for the shiny stuff, the falsely finished stuff, not for the cracks and edges and nuances and dimensions and truer colors. These gems, with their irregularities and pieces missing and missing pieces, these gems they meet and they see and they know dreams are real and waking and the games are just games and the wilderness is theirs and life is nothing without shapes and angles cutting deep for red flowing.

Then there they are, sitting together, close, on the dry grass and leaves beside the red yellow orange blue burn and crackle, sparks flickering and dance-rising, sitting in a small sphere of warmth and light amidst the dark and wonderful wild, tall trees rising up around them, stars through the tops, talking low, breathing easy, head against shoulder, arm around another, selves leaning in whole and they think I was flat and tired and then here she comes, here he comes and kicks me started again and now it all flows and flows and burns and it’s all one big object again. The great big wild known and unknown object, their subject. And the bloods flow.

The woods are deep and dense and they may lose track, they may even part, but they will never cease to fit. A language all their own of and for and by them keeps them at once part and set apart, renegades of a whole different forever, true to them in some kind of way.

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