Friday, December 14, 2012

this far and distant crust of earth

The "little people" (short --three feet tall or so, dark inhabitants that wear clothes cut in triangles and they are very swift and are rarely seen and they play tricks on humans, sometimes --like hiding your things and other stuff) --they were up all night working lace into my fence....

my fence, Eagle Butte, SD

--a fragile, delicate lace --an edible lace drawn from the air and woven without knots to the fence, instead like some frond of a living thing. This morning's array of lace is the most spectacular yet. The little people out-did themselves --the lace is at least an inch thick. Every where.

And the fog has frozen to the windows and jambs, making the door difficult to open to let the dogs out, requiring the shoulder and knee --the four-leggeds climbing over each other in anticipation, then stopping short as the cold greets us like a new wall once the door is open, breaking our breath in to little bits, even as we inhale --stinging the nose and other exposed bits as we slam in to the morning light --which turns each bit of little people lace into a dusky rose color.

The mountain of snow in the parking lot looks vaguely like a wanton pile of cotton candy. With shiny bits.

Lace and cotton candy to greet us, the dogs bark and pronk in the mounds of the stuff piled against the fence. The school bus honks and edges through the neighborhood --picking up children that fly from the homes that squeak a yellow glow through the lace and cotton candy, backpacks taking flight from the jacket-padded shoulders and hoods.

I'm betting, in this early light, that the children have more containers than books stuffed in their backpacks --containers to bring food for the weekend home from school where they get their two best hot meals daily, some to take home to share, especially with their little sisters and brothers not yet in school. I think January will be a hungrier time --the Tribe provides food for a Thanksgiving and then a Christmas dinner. But, I can't think of a holiday for a meal in January....

A group from Connecticut showed up in town last week with six semi-trucks. They brought 40,000 pounds of potatoes and some winter clothes --not used clothes, but brand new clothes --and two books for every child, too. At the last minute, they put furniture in the truck --they didn't know why... And on the day they arrived, somebody's house in Cherry Creek burned to the ground, and now, when they get their house re-built, they will have furniture in it. Must have been the Spirit that told you to bring that, everyone says.

Yes. The little people and the Spirit are always hard at work here. Always.

And so, now, as I say my prayers, surrounded by rose colored lace and the works of the Spirit, my words merely add to the fronds and layers caught in the fence and trees. Nothing travels far from the warmth of the house today. Not without freezing. Not even as far as the cotton candy piled in the parking lot.

--except for the teenaged boys that trump by the fence, knocking the cold and ice out of the air before them --no school bus for them, thank you --wing-tipped heels and frapping jackets half opened moving down the path in a locomotive fashion pushing the cold away with their fiery inner heat and blowing billowing breath into the morning --as if they were the center of the universe...

--perhaps they are. Arms and legs to the Four Directions, head to the sky and feet to the ground --and they themselves at the center. Life and death, easily at hand. Ancestors and little people and the Spirit looking on. There is no future, except the present moment. And then the next.

There is no future, except what already is.

At prayer this morning (from Luke 22)

When the hour came, Jesus took his place at the table, and the apostles with him.

He said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; for I tell you, I will not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.”

Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he said, “Take this and divide it among yourselves; for I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.”

Then he took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”

And he did the same with the cup after supper, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.

A cup before and a cup after --we are supposed to have really glad hearts --glad hearts in the life blood that flows in every living thing --the sap of trees, the water, the wind, the sun, the rain --all infused in the fruit of the vine... mother earth herself made bread, grew grain up out of her being, the body of her son....

And every week, the Passover is offered again and again, eaten again and again, blood spilled out on the door posts of every household, to remember our deliverance from the bondage of despair --flesh and blood offered again at the altar to feed the priestly people... bread and wine fashioned by human hands... shared in humbleness, in this far and distant crust of earth by the mni wiconi*... where the good road and the road of difficulty cross and make the holy space.

Amen. Alleluia.

*mni wiconi --the water of life, the first name of the Missouri River.