Exodus

Angel Sleep 6 16 15A life left behind on country roads
whose names grew from mere letters
to places to memories to triggers
Childhoods and adulthoods passing by
with each mile clicking
with each moment ticking

So much lived in an open-space world
kept simple by poverty and humility
through boom and bust of wood, coal, and gas
through boom and bust of love, hope, and faith
Outsiders and other fools lie when they claim that time
stands still there for it instead rages in torrents
energizing and eroding the body, mind, and soul

Exodus after so many decades of longing
and making the best and the better
than the prisons fears and failures created
I do not leave ashamed as I might have once
or so fearful that not even darkest night
could provide enough cover
I do not escape or avoid but instead
flow toward and fully embrace
a place only partially seen beyond the was

Passing through worlds
a thousand moments a mile
each flashing past in slow motion
past lives and deaths I’ve lived and died
like an snake eternally shedding
Miles and minutes only approximate
tears and smiles only convey triumph
of knowing exactly when to depart

I arrived there a man in a child’s body
departing here now a child in this man’s flesh
A multitude of my lives and deaths resting
in peace on country roads
sunsets and sunrises watching
storm and wind knowing
what they have written into my soul

© Copyright 2017 by John David Higham. All rights reserved.

Photo: Tree (Windfall, June 2016)

The Day, Disappearing

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How beautiful
It is
To just sit and watch
The
Day, disappearing.

On my path,
Solitude
Has always created
Such
Resonating serenity,
Even
When I was immersed
In the
Midst of hell.

How beautiful
It is
To just be
The
Day, disappearing.

 

© 2016 by John David Higham: All Rights Reserved

Photo: Saturday Becoming Night (Windfall, 12/17/16)

 

 

 

My Soul (Remains That of a Child)

December 14 2015 Windfall 421

 

In the morning
As I sent Reiki to my sick Lillian,
My daughter sleeping in my arms
As we both fought head colds
And it felt like the sun would never rise,
I listened to her breathing
And the rain, the latter falling just
Outside my window.

Daddy Day plans all put on hold
By forces greater than her and I put together,
We stayed in our pajamas and cuddled
In bed,
On the sofa,
And back again.

My soul (remains that of a child)
So that I will always know hers,
So that I will always know the truth;
No matter how inconvenient it will be,
No matter how much money it will cost,
No matter how many relationships it will cost.

I want to keep looking
With eyes that don’t belong
To this older man’s body,
But instead with the imbued wonder
Of a child flowing through each day.

A child doesn’t care
About job security,
About being popular,
About finding love;
But instead with just being.

That is who I want to be
When I grow up;
Dead to the waking world’s
Empty “seriousness”
So I can continue
Hearing The Angels laughing.

 

© copyright 2016 John David Higham

 

Photo: Aboard The Polar Express (Williamsport: December, 2015)

 

 

 

 

A Day of Love Yourself Begins

March 2015 Windfall Sky

 

A day of love yourself
Begins with being gently released
By the dream world’s hands
Into
The view of the sunrise,
The noise of the mind,
The realities of the waking world.

Pause now.
Allow yourself
To revisit those sensations
That embraced you
In the dream world:
The views of the dreamscape,
The sounds in that world.,
The realities of your dream world.

In those moments
Allow yourself to feel
As your dream self felt,
And say aloud those words
That might flow through you,
No matter how silly they sound
As they will form a dream mantra.

This is how you love yourself,
This is how you find your dream self:
Do not try to reason,
Do not be sucked into the
Ego trap of figuring things out:
Go beyond the seductive logic
Into the experiential,
Into the dream moment,
Into your dream being
And just feel.

Accept the truth of knowing
That which feels foreign
May not be yours,
May not be the present,
May not be the past,
May not be the future
But it is most certainly real.

Ah, a day of love yourself begins…

 

© copyright 2016 John David Higham

Photo: Windfall Spring Sky  (March, 2015)

 

 

 

Why Living in the Country Sucks

I’ve lived in the country for most of my 55 years. Ten years ago, I moved to rural Pennsylvania as a result of falling in love, literally following a dream, and wanting to provide my second wife, Rachel, with her fairy-tale small farmette.

Fairy-tale and small farmette notwithstanding, country life sucks because of my woodstove. I have heated with wood for most of this decade of rural imprisonment. During this time, I am proud to admit to having accidentally started one chimney fire and two separate grass fires. The fire department put out the chimney fire. Rachel and my children helped me put out one grass fire; I extinguished the other. The fire department arrived too late for both grass fires because they couldn’t locate the house.

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In the coldest part of winter the woodstove heats the basement to a toasty 80 degrees. Because I live in a split-level house, it’s common for the upstairs temperature in the winter to remain a barely inhabitable 60 degrees. Part of the reason for this disparity is that the house is surrounded by farmland. It’s common for my place to be buffeted by winds to the extent that the few trees on my property have a significant eastward lean. Here, rain never falls straight down. I also have a micro-climate; in the winter it is not unusual to encounter three foot-high drifts during a puny (six inch) snow storm. Such drifts are not a problem for most of my neighbors because they own tractors.

After I filed for a divorce from Rachel and she moved out with her AWD vehicle, I bought a snow blower. I ran it for a year before daily winter use resulted in my breaking the transmission linkage, the directional chute, and the tines. Even on a calm winter’s day, I have to battle drifts. I’ve experienced numerous days when I awoke at 5 AM, blew out my two hundred and fifty foot drive and left for work only to find it drifted over when I returned after dark.

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From November through April, I am chained to my house by the woodstove and my driveway. I eloped last year and entrusted the place to my 23 year-old son who works thirty miles away. I flew to Edmonds, Washington to visit my soon-to-be third wife, Kathy. When I returned to Pennsylvania, my son greeted me in the partially drifted-over drive; he looked like am Andean plane-crash survivor. He hugged me, packed his car, and left.

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The country also has pretty animals, like deer. These graceful creatures dash out of the bushes as if fleeing a meth lab raid. They are beautiful even as they leap out of the deepest woods in front of my car. Late one summer night, one creamed my passenger door, stood and seemed to smile at me before it sprinted back into the woods.

Chickens are another animal best appreciated from afar. I enjoy brown eggs and Rachel suggested that we build a chicken coop. I found plans and built one with nesting boxes, wiring, and a nursery area. Our chickens laid delicious brown eggs, but there was price to pay. One night our 20 feathered friends went bitch crazy and pecked out the brains of six of their sisters. Worse than that, they pecked out a single eye of two more. Those one-eyed hens should have crossed over, but my wife insisted otherwise. For several months through winter we kept the wounded pair in isolation and nursed them back to health. Out of gratitude, the menopausal birds celebrated by trashing my flowerbeds and pecking my siding.

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Country people love dogs. These uncivilized beasts chase cars, soil on everything, and bark at invisible deer. I don’t own one anymore. I once shared my house with three: they jumped on furniture and had to be taken out several times daily. And they needed to walk. A lot. About a mile a day; rain or shine. Walking a dog in the country means being fully prepared to be dragged along the road as it pursues small animals and passing cars.

Deer, chickens, and dogs are not the country’s only annoying creatures. In Pennsylvania, we also have the woodchuck or groundhog. Though celebrated as some sort of fat and furry fairy godfather who can predict spring, it’s actually an ugly and useless DNA gob. I’ve several living beneath my garage. My efforts to shoot them are testimony only to my horrendous marksmanship.

“Chuckie owns the lawn,” I whispered to Kathy one morning as she watched in a strange mix of fear and awe while I drew a bead on the world’s largest woodchuck. In my eyes, Chuckie stood four feet tall after he had crawled out from his lair. I tugged at my trigger. No shot rang out because I hadn’t deactivated the safety: Chuckie waddled through the tall grass back home, the entire fiasco affirming that guns don’t kill groundhogs and neither can I.

September 16 2014 386 FINAL

Now I spend my time between Windfall and Arizona, where Kathy lives. Our new home is 2200 miles wide. I’m leaving country life. Not because of the woodstove, the snow, or the animals, but because I realized shortly before my second divorce that I’m not a rural person. I also realized that my first two marriages were about my trying (and failing) to be perfect. Actually, living anywhere sucks when I’m trying to be someone I’m not. At my 35th high-school reunion, several ex-classmates asked, “How do you like Manhattan, John?” I laughed because they knew me much better than I did.

Anyone interested in buying a beautiful country home nestled on four acres with spectacular views and teeming with wildlife? If so, please contact me immediately. It’s heated by an economical and cozy woodstove and comes complete with appliances, weather station, generator with low service hours, and snow blower. It’s a great place for writing, communing with nature, raising children, and embracing solitude.

No reasonable offer will be refused.

Phoenix to Windfall 10 13 2015 105