The Element of Ether

The rain has returned, moving from downpour to rainbow and back again. The season has shifted as it does, suddenly, from the season of sun, dry grass, desiccation and heat to the season of water and cool clean air. The sun pierces the dark grey clouds and spreads brilliant light for a moment at a time, sparkling all the drops within its range, creating fleeting holes of blue through the layers of dark and lighter grey cloud.

Two days ago, the day was filled with the presence of blue sky. That morning as I stood between the rows of drying sunflowers behind the barn, near the arching vines dripping with the intricate obloid shapes of their hops, I heard a flight of geese flying behind me from north to south. As they veered east, I watched two hawks fly into the tops of two tall trees across the mown field in front of me. Then, as the enormous Vs of calling birds made their wide turn across the sky, one hawk spread its great wings and lifted into the air, flying in its own arc toward the north. The other hawk remained in its perch in the treetop, in the alert repose of the raptor, unmoving.

As the flight of geese swept around high behind its treetop, the air between vibrated with an unseen waft of the finest energy. This is the element beyond air, beyond fire, beyond water, beyond earth, made of infinities. I stood for that long moment, my breath having gone with it somewhere beyond.

I have come all this way and no distance at all to this spot where the sun warmed me, just as it warmed the intricate beauty of each fruiting hop hanging near my arm, my hand, these appendages that hang from my own erect trunk.

Just as the season shifts suddenly and then retreats for a moment, I am shifting, my body becoming more of ether than earth, more of dry vibration like the stands of fireweed, where, just moments ago, the last purple-red flowers flamed briefly at the tops of the stalks and where today the puffs of white seed sway in the wind, dancing on their brown stalks. I begin the process of drying, a transaction both of concentration and of emptying. The water drips from me, hardly wetting what is left, filling my cells with the purest knowledge of delight.

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