Saturday, August 21, 2010

In the fullness of time

In August, in the meadow just over the hill, I found the fullness of time.

Time and space have as many outskirts as Dante's hell had circles -- the outer darkness, beyond the pale, the city limits, the marginal, the liminal, places of exile and ostracism, beyond-the-end-of-the-line places.

"She's over the hill," they say, casually, dismissive, relieved not to be there themselves. And, yes indeed, I am over the hill. I am sweating in the August heat alongside bindweed and toadflax,

in a purple seedhead cloud

by the upraised arms of the fading Queen Anne's Lace.

Elsewhere, springs have failed; hailstorms of derision slice the air. Syllabi of Error are promulgated with new codicils every week, and as the universe of what is valid shrinks, the legions of the deficient and disordered increase.

As the poet asked, "What will suffice ?"

A cathedral as big as the world ? A black cushion in the corner of one's hermitage ?

And what about this "fullness of time" ? How can that which flows be full ? What do the texts offer ?

when we were minors, we were enslaved to the elemental spirits of the world. But when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman

The meadow-over-the-hill is a place of elemental spirits.

There is a fullness of time in the meadow. Come here often, season after season, year after year, and you will come to believe in the resurrection of the body. Maybe not in the way the Creed intended

and maybe not in the way you would like to believe,

but something in the general neighborhood of resurrection -- a model, a scaffolding, a simulacrum, a satire, a parody, a parable, a variation on a theme.

I am walking in the meadow over the hill, a woman who is herself way over the hill, contemplating apostasy. Is there a degree of translation that strays so far from authorial intent that it becomes abdication ? Abduction ? Abdictation ?

In my dreams, the seductions of orthodoxy -- of any -doxy --continue. I awaken in a sweat.

In the night I hear the rumble of the distant factories of faith, the cacophony of gears and belts and pistons, the screech and clangor of alarms, the jotting and tittling of canon and catechism, of confession and covenant. Are the bigwigs asleep ? And is their sleep sweet and sound, these keepers of the contraption, or do they also wake in a sweat ?

How would I know ? It is not a company into which I am welcome, being woman, being apostate, being over-the-hill and always gravitating toward

the outer darkness.

I have desired to go where words all fail.

And here, in the meadow-over-the-hill, in the fullness of time, I may have arrived.

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