thoughts for the air above a grave




03/08/02

Hi D----

I am wondering what this waking up crying is all about. Swimming thoughts. One of the things I said in my letter to Shellie's daughter spoke of this wonderment, which is my reaction to this unbidden state. I said something like, 'I'm not used to waking up crying, but that's what I do now.' And, in some mornings I find myself sitting at the computer, typing out my bewilderment.

And early in the morning. Five o'clock. It could be mere coincidence that that was when Shellie died, I don't know, but perhaps not. We all know what the quality of that time of day is, and how it is very quiet and inbetween at those moments before dawn. All one has is one's thoughts, and, it looks like the calm wakes me, and I find myself thinking of Shellie- no, more thinking of things I would have been planning to do with her, things I wanted to talk with her about, propping my life with her touches and her smiles. And the tears come, that welling in the throat. And Shellie is dead. And my morning has started too early.

I used to have a job as a night watchman at a small pleasure craft shipyard in Mystic. I used to watch the night dissolve into day, feel the murmur of the river as it stirred to join the tide, and five o'clock was the most gentle and serene of all hours. The water was still, silent, glassy smooth, so the sky was everywhere. Even the birds listened, having finished their earlier wake up chorus, and no-one moved. I would sit at the docks, watching for the slightest things, because the slightest things were all that happened, and in that stillness, they were alone on the world's stage.

And I would sometimes take one of the yard's dinghys and row across the river, because it was the only safe time to do so, with the strong current relaxing, and because there was a nest of cranes in an inlet on the other side. And, well, just to be out upon that surface, alone. One time I ventured out late, and got carried in the first rushes of the current about a tenth of a mile downriver, and had to hug the shore rowing back up to the shipyard.

I don't remember doing much more besides this observing, letting the brightness become the sunrise. And, with the sun, it all churned back up. Noises began. It would all be part of a strong current now, and I would take what calmness I had gathered, and keep it with me, as my work was done, as I preferred the quiet inlets of the day.

And, thinking about what I gave to Shellie, I do know she loved the serenity my love offered her as we relaxed in each other and watched the mornings- her rest being the result of her years of incredible work, and mine sharing her new quiet with her. Sometimes we would not rise to join the day at all, but stay in our eddy. And other times, she herself was a current I had to stay in, if I were ever to remain afloat.

And maybe I'm crying because I don't quite know where on shore I've landed, or how, without her.

- Wade

Cambridge, MA




2002