04 April 2009

Opening In The Wind

"Winter's coming!"

That's what Johnny, Millie's husband, exclaimed when I saw him by his car this evening. The wind whipped around anything that wasn't made of and anchored to concrete, and it seemed that the day grew colder from beginning to end.

At least the wind blew away the rainstorm that drenched us yesterday and early this morning. When I encountered Johnny, I was walking home from the drugstore, where I bought a few Easter and birthday cards, as well as a couple of things I probably shouldn't eat. It's kind of ironic, isn't it?, that one can buy chocolate and tortilla chips in a place where people buy medicines to make themselves feel better,

Anyway...On the way back, I could really feel some of the effects that the hormones have had on me. For one, I felt the cold more than I used to. I was under-dressed for it, but when I was full of testosterone (and, at times, alcohol), I used to wear less in colder weather. But there was another way I felt the conditions more intensely than I would have in the days before the hormones.

Ever since I started taking the hormones, I've felt as if a layer of skin--psychically as well as physically--has been stripped away from me. Sometimes it's a wonderful, exhiliarating experience: I feel as if I've left my body and am soaring. Other times, it's excruciating: a song on the radio or a slight from someone else can leave me in tears. And then, at times like tonight, I feel that I am simply in a more intense and disquieting place than I was in before.

The wind whirled the spreading but thinning clouds across the sky and allowed the moon to peek through gaps. Lanced by the wind and glanced by moonlight, I felt an odd sense of austerity combined with fulsomeness. Somehow I imagine it's what is mirrored in the souls of monks and prophets when, having ascended a mountain, they reach the top--or at least wherever they need to be. I wasn't feeling only the physical sensations of the evening's weather conditions; I felt that somehow my spirit was opening, again, to new joys and burdens and whatever lay beyond them.

Sometimes I wonder whether cherry tree branches feel tired, exhiliarated or something else when they begin to bud and when those buds begin to open. How does it feel to spread one's petals, one's wings, for the first time and to feel the wind, the cold, the rain or even sun rays that are more intense than they were ready to feel? The flower does not have the choice of remaining closed--or does it?

Now I am reminded of a poem of mine I haven't thought about in a while. If you'll indulge me for a moment, here it is:


Buds throb red.

Cold raindrops cling
to bare branches
after the first
April storm.

My fingertips swelling,
my body pulses:

the center
of this old wound,
still fresh.

Still, I don't
pull off my gloves--

There are no leaves
from this tree.

Now, I don't know whether my spiritual as well as neural rawness will lead to any sort of beauty, as the tree's exposure to wind, rain, cold and sun leads it to flower. Perhaps I cloaked myself with the armour of anger, and numbed myself in all sorts of ways, for too long. Or maybe, just maybe, I don't have such a wonderful, bright light within me to radiate through my being and into the world, just as some people don't have the talent or vision to transcend their own egotism. Maybe all I'll ever be able to do is feel.

Then again, sometimes I don't want anything more than that. It's still more than I could do before. Perhaps the tragedy is not in flowering; it is in not opening toward the rain, wind and sun.