Monday, February 21, 2011

Rumi Day 11: "Longing"

The hour before sundown—the witching hour—when the light is golden, the blackbirds fly. I don't know, but I suspect they are crows. I have watched the crows fly for a half hours time, through the window of my apartment, one after the next after the next. I don't know where they go to roost. I know they go as far as the road to Oakledge Park; I have seen perhaps fifty of them roosting in trees behind the Waterfront Video plaza. The other day, my husband and I drove past a mom pointing out the birds to her child. She stood on the sidewalk pointing up.

During winter and fall crows roost in groups; roosts have been recorded with as many as 200,000 birds. Crows spread out during the day and an hour or more before sunset the flock back to the roost for the night.

Michael Westerfield's theory is that crows don't always return to the roost every night, and some mated crows might not roost at all. He hypothesizes that the roost serves a social function for crows to find mates and challenge each other: roosts are crow socialization. (Checkout the 7Days Article on Crows in Burlington.


Longing is the core of mystery.

Longing itself brings the cure.

The only rule is, Suffer the pain.

Your desire must be disciplined

and what you want to happen

in time, sacrificed.


The morning wind spreads its fresh smell.

We must get up to take that in,

that wind that lets us live.

Breathe, before it's gone.

Watching the crows flock reminds me of longing. The sky is a form of longing to me—depth of color, distance lost to time, its beauty, a stark and rare nakedness, suddenly empties.

Today I felt that feeling of pressure which I associate with depression. At the laundry mat I knit a hat. Judge Judy yelled at so-and-so on the TV perched above the dryers. Then, Celine Dion and Oprah chatted about Celine's amazing life. The Asian kid, perhaps from the Pho Hong restaurant next door, whispered "shit" under his breath while playing the Pac Man machine. Maybe he was 4 or 5 years old. I thought it was cute, not sad. “Shit, shit, shit.” I threw the plastic laundry basket at my husband (lightly) because I didn't feel like speaking and wanted to get his attention. He said: I don't respond to that. But, he wasn't too mad and later, safely back at home, he made me laugh when I lay in bed wanting to cry.

Do I believe Rumi when he writes “longing is the core of mystery/ longing itself brings the cure”? Is he saying that in time what I want to happen must be sacrificed/ abandoned? I know this. I know how to turn off my mind and let my feet move me. To heal from longing through pain. To let go of my wants and desires and be led by a deeper path. But I don't always feel like doing this. Some days I don't believe. Some days I don't know what is true and right, real and imagined. 

Rumi gives us the last stanza, a reprieve. As though today he speaks to me directly, “we must get up and take that in/ the wind that lets us live.” His last line startles me. He is really saying, live before its gone. To which I add, Emily. Defiance being at the core of my being.

1 comment:

Parker Quinn said...

Yesterday after playing in the waterfront park with Parker and a female puppy named Rumi from Montreal, I was driving on the beltline and saw the crows roosting and it was a gorgeous sight, and it was a wonderful sunny cold perfect day.