high and low

I’m hiking on Via Serra di Musanego, in the Apennines, looking west at sunset, through an olive tree, out at the North Mediterranean, and thinking of something Annie D. says:

“I have always been sympathetic with the early notion of a divine power that exists in a particular place, or that travels about over the face of the earth as a man might wander – and when he is ‘there’ he is surely not here.” – Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

A fine collection of literary and musical loves present or conjured up here in my last week in residence at the Bogliasco Foundation: Annie Dillard and her quintessential pilgrimage –  also C. S. Lewis and the Chronicles of Narnia, also Joan Armatrading, Rush (listening to 2112 in particular), Pink Floyd, Dar Williams, and various incarnations of Bob Dylan and Nina Simone. Divine powers indeed. And the land itself and the sea itself here which I move up, down, and into so urgently in my creative wanderings – resonates in my work. I want to get high, high up in the mountains, and down low, low toward those wild dark waves. I want to get as high and as low as I can get.

C. S. Lewis’ characters cry, in the last battle “Further in, further up!”

There is, truly, urgency like that, in all of us, I believe, and most of the time we don’t know how to handle it, what to do with it. But the spirit wont to pour, and pour, and pour – like the waves crashing over the incredibly particular and individual formations of rock here on the Ligurian coastline. It lathers over us rocks like a good scrubbing, unchecked emotion over our textured bodies, Bailey’s over ice. Spring is here in Bogliasco already. I set off for a week of travel – Venice, Assisi, Florence – then home to Vermont.