Leaving the desert



I have been roaming in the desert longer than forty days and forty nights. What is to become of me, of them?

James Wright’s poem “To the Saguaro Cactus…” really got me thinking in a new way of this usually barren plot of land associated with hardness of earth and heart. Moses and I convene almost every night, listening to God laying out His plan for separation. It’s been coming all along and points back to a tree and a self-possessed decision. And yet. Moses sits, face beaming, taking down the measurements of the dedication of the priests, of the Holy of Holies. The separation begins anew. Even as a golden calf is being shaped and liquid gold is being forged into its parts, there is a part of me that wants this time to be different. Maybe this time they will decide that hoop earrings are stylish and the women will stage an uprising against any sort of calf nonsense. But it’s like any story you become interconnected with- you know what’s coming and you grimace, you brace for the long journey ahead. It’s as if I have as much to lose as Moses once he steps foot off that mountain of Sinai. Can’t he just stay up there longer? Can’t there be another way?

Tonight for assignment packet three I begin reading “The Nakedness of the Fathers” a midrashic feast into the Torah/Old Testament’s integral stories and I am pulled back into what it will take for me to make my way into my own Exodus. The Jacob in me wrestles with the man in the night, but my Jacob is tired and not as prone to tenacity, not tonight. The Abraham in me easily invents safeguards to protect from disaster and perceived malice. The Joseph in me asks that his bones be moved in anticipation that this desert life will not be all that is savored after death. The Isaac in me waits to see what kind of exhortation might well up and pronounce itself. Tonight’s offering presented itself in poetic form, bleak with a well watered spiritual bed, that maybe this time there might at least be a peek at the promised land. If you’re in SF and if I have the cajones to read it, go to the Rock Saturday night and for a spell, enter the desert’s solace with me.

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