more, on forty

These are strange days.

This writing is a kind of waiting. Anticipation for the longer projects. For a time when I can see a path to something sustained, something that requires more of me than this lovely morning hour, before the light, before the press of the day has begun. 

This morning, the pre-light is blue, the air is cool. The house is so still, the men folk asleep in their beds.

These days are full of longing. How can I explain this longing?

I ask everyone who will speak to me: What was it like for you, turning 40?

Did it wrap you in a blanket of memory and desire?

Did it carry you in its teeth, shake you till you broke?

Did you weep, every day, nostalgic and wistful? 

Did your body glow with light, with desire? Did you tremble with wanting?

Did you make lists of the things you still wanted to do? This year, I will do this. And next year, this.

My friends send me words – books and letters and poems. They say: This, too, shall pass. They say: Hold on tightly.

And: You are in your power. Be there.

This does not feel like power.

This feels a little bit like madness, a little bit like fever. A little like the days as a storm moves in, the air crackling with what’s to come.

When I can manage it, when I can find the time and the focus, I am working on a collection of forty short pieces for this year of forty. This magical number forty. I say it over and over until the word itself loses meaning. Let it soak up meaning.

Let this waiting be a kind of meaning.

Forty days & forty nights

Forty weeks in the womb & we are blessed

Forty sons, forty daughters & forty tribes of thieves

Let a team of forty wild horses carry me home to you tonight. Give us forty years & forty more.