Blessed sleep and the long call of light. The morning a mercy of birds. Returned from the black hole of being, she finds all as she left it last night. The chairs askew, the table crumbs, the dishes stacked up in the sink. Yesterday’s dress tossed across the bed. It’s enough to make her think
of how the world just waits for us attending to its nightly song, of how we breathe in time with it and rise again with each new dawn, of how we bear the miracle and find ourselves where we belong.
A flash of colored wing; peacock, pheasant brilliance— turquoise, scarlet, green, bronze, settled soft to downy quiet. Then he spoke a greeting, the same tone as the deepest bell.
He addressed her as favored. Favored? By what? By whom? Even her wonder and her awe did not erase her reason. They conversed between two worlds until she clearly understood.
When she consented and he left, she wondered how her world would be able to wear such brightness. His words still rang the spring air and one, which seemed the sum of all, resounded, rounded, and remained.
Two geologists made this word from the Greek, petros for stone, and ichor, for the liquid that flows through the veins of the gods. They wanted to name the scent of parched earth after fresh rain: The reconstituted redolence of salted silt marbled with terracotta. This old, dry world brought back to loamy life—another name for mercy.
So, I didn’t latch onto a holy word and go into space and, ethereal, lose touch with my body. But God, in those thirty slow minutes, you unfolded in me the bud of a fresh flower, with color and fragrance that was more than my soul was capable of, on its own.
. . . We all, with unveiled face, behold as in a mirror the glory of the Lord.
And when the peony showed up, I knew it as a kind of mirror. This was glory in pink and cream, with a smell of heaven. Petals like valves opening into the colors of my heart.
I saw myself kneeling on a grass border, my knees bruising the green, pressing my face into the face of this silken, just-opened bloom, and breathing it, wanting to drown in it. Wanting to grow in its reflected image.