Read the first, Things I would like to do with you in the Woods, first.
Read the second, Things I would like to do with you this Evening, second.
Read the third, Things I would like to Remember about our day in Vermont, third.
Read the fourth, Things I would like to do with you in Time, fourth.
Read the fifth, Things I Would Like to do with You Before I Lose You, fifth.
Read the sixth, Things I would like to hear when you are Confused, next.
Then read the seventh, Things I would like to say to you without you Knowing.
Then read this, if you would like to.
“Knowing how to be solitary is central to the art of loving. When we can be alone, we can be with others without using them as a means of escape.” ~ bell hooks
I would like to see you. It has now been too long. I saw you last month, or three days ago, or a year ago exactly: and then I was flooded and now I am parched.
I would like to see you in just a few days when you arrive at my door: and, like children arriving for their first day of school, we will giddily greet this unknown new present with sweet shakey smiles. You will have arrived from no place. No home now but the road: driving from your old ocean home, to our old forest home, to her home, to my home in this flooded mountain valley, and then on into your future. Where is home?
Your visit will not be long enough, which is the perfect length. Unless it is too long: even better.
We can do whatever we want. Perhaps we can eat at my favorite table at a favorite restaurant—I like this spot because it is outside but beneath a big arch, so I can see the sunshine as I work away my life on my laptop. I like it for their well-sourced seven-minute coffee and I like it because it is a big table, from which I can see life pass me by on the sidewalk outside: but, too, the big table is hidden, shaded, and so I can work without too many folks stop n’chatting at me. We can get dark kale chips all over our teeth. We can eat a big salad or garlic potatoes with dijon and drink black coffee or white wine and a lager, because there is nothing hoppy.
(my hometown was just flooded, many homes lost and streets torn open and lives ruined and lives reborn…so I and many have been volunteering to help, and in so doing turning isolation and loss into community and joy. And dealing with my own half-drowned house asked a good deal of me: joy, sadness and stress. And I nearly got sick. And I let go of four pickup truckloads of stuff, though I only miss the memories, not the things. And then one morning, waking up, I helped my neighbor lift muddy wet hay bales without taking time to stretch or coffee or meditate, and my back muscles spasmed: turning me into a tin man)
…perhaps if I’m feeling better we can run up and around and down the mountains in the morning with my Red dog. Or I would like you to drive me into the mountains, if we can find mountain roads that are unfolded, and we can get lost at fourteen thousand feet and see the lakes reflect the heavens, the air so clear up there. Or perhaps I can take you climbing, we will bike along the bike path, or we can play pool and drink good beer in a dark bar or perhaps we can see good friends on the damp lawn on Saturday morning, at Farmers’ Market. Or perhaps we can drive to the City and visit a hipster dinner spot I love, or we can walk a museum or go to a fundraiser or film or cook at home and dress up and light a candle and watch an old movie. I have a list of things I would like to do with you.
We can do whatever we want!
It has not been a month, or a week, or four days. It has been my whole lifetime since I have seen you. I have sailed out to sea every morning, waking when it is still dark. The stars light against the cold sky, unraveling what my wirey hands had coiled up the night before. It has been too long, so long that I did not know you until I met you and said goodbye again to you—a lifetime without your friendship. I would like to see you.
But I would like to have been alone for these many years. Alone gives me strength, stability and clarity in my direction. I have tried on different loves and thrown them off and others have tried my love and tossed me off. Nearly all have been good, and kind, or shallow but fun, and I have appreciated all of them, if only perhaps for a season, and they perhaps have appreciated me, and we are still friends, if still in touch. But they did not make me dream again: an excitement and simultaneous fear of loss that is gratifying and humbling.
I would like to travel, with and without you, and sail with and without you, and date you for those same years: a pleasure to spend a morning dancing like children to an old song while I make breakfast, and you make coffee in wide off-white potter’s mugs with blue rims that say “all done” at the bottom. I would like to do many things before we should ever call this anything. For when we touch the earth, we touch a foundation of interdependence and impermanence: for we build this castle in the sky, in space. We are what stars or trees or streams are, and stars or trees or streams are what we are. And if things come together if only for a moment or an eon it is the same: it is a warrior’s love song you and I can sing in the shower.
I would like to remember that you and I, we…began things properly. Slowly, deliberately, in the old way: as if we meant it.
A love story as maddeningly slow as the Japanese tea ceremony. Taking off our bamboo sandals, entering a tiny house, our robes cinched just-too tightly, our hair combed, our eyes clear, whisking the green thick tea, pouring spring water, my left hand shaking, your cheeks blushing. I would like to remember that we have been penpals; our courtship has been excitedly careful. Messaging on Facebook, Skyping, cell phone, an air visit to you, a road visit to me, a postcard on my refrigerator. Our getting to know one another flows through all available channels.
I would like to go for a walk with you in the Equinox rain through the proud neighborhood with the noble houses and spacious yards: I walk slowly and you walk quickly. I offer you my white woolen blue striped sweater but the rain is light and cool so that it does not bother you. I am wearing a cowboy shirt. I would like to remember our early days, when we talked to one another but do not know one another: strangers, in love. Talking and laughing and sitting up straight and slumping and growing comfortable as ourselves with one another—all before sex seals something and intimacy is gained and space is lost, then regained.
Yes: I would like sex, I would like to fall in love, I would like to think ahead: but I would like to be here, now, even more. I would like to begin things properly: for if I want and respect this match then I must want to begin things with the three kinds of confidence, without hesitation.
And so I would like to come in from the sea and I would like to see you every day, but not all day. I would like you to have space and be alone and then I would like to live our list: we can bicycle with Red dog along the bike path and the creek and we can climb, yoga, run together through those mountain foothills, hit hard by the floods.
You do not know me, you worry, sometimes, am I too bold, is this crazy? And that is a sane question, and I am glad you ask it. When it is dark and you have heard words of caution whispered in the wind from a friend who does not know me you question our course forward. Then I remind you in easy words that I am, simply, me: I am not what you fear, your fear is what you fear, and I am something sillier, tougher—I am something more ordinary than what you fear. I am a basically good man, and I am happy to show my heart to your friends, and they are right to care for and protect you.
“Do not trust, for not trusting makes friendship stronger.” ~ Chogyam Trungpa
But, too, we are clan, and many warriors will sit up and smile their white teeth at the sound of my name.
The beginning of a love affair is like sending a single rickety rocket into the sky. You are right to be cautious: I am cautious, too: for walking into a love affair is akin to conducting a campaign of war. And I shall attack, parry, and laugh: for none of this is serious, none of this matters, but this matters to me, and this is serious to you. And so we may raise the warrior’s cry and put our hearts into it and bicycle through the tunnel; screaming from our hara so that the tunnel echoes this moment into another moment, or two—skipping a rock into time.
I would like to see you most every day for what I fear is to miss seeing what you wear, what you think and what you say out of that, how you laugh, and what you are creating, and what you think about things I have not thought about.
You may not complete me.
You may not take me seriously, I may nourish your goodness. We may expand one another.
“Truth can open the door, but you must enter by yourself.” ~ Chinese Proverb
I would like to see you arrive in my hometown from your home on the road: framed in my doorway, the sunshined white and green behind you, my maroon porch beneath you. I would like to undress your dress against the wall, wordlessly, and take you up, kissing your neck and kissing against your tangled hair, accidentally, and you hurriedly will move it aside. I would like to tangle your heart in mine and yet untangle them the next morning when, foggy, we drink coffee together in a quiet café where men and women and children and dogs still talk and listen to live music in the wet sunshine. Our hair is messy, and Red dog is whining with excitement for the honeyed cookie baked in the shape of a dog bone or two that he knows I will buy for him. Seventy-five cents each.
I would like to make fun plans with you, but then just do ordinary things; or plan ordinary things but find we have stepped through a wardrobe into a world of ordinary magic.
I would like to miss the Farmers’ Market, nearly, because we are busy upstairs. Because we are late, we will get half price this and ten for the price of one that or just fifty cents off that freshly baked loaf of bread or a whole big bag of mixed greens for five dollars and I won’t mind either way because these are our people: farmers who make a living off of this land.
I would like to go to a yoga teacher who I recommend, with you, and see her love you as she loves me, or go to the tamed kingdom in the mountains, and visit the land I have known so well since I was a goldred-headed baby, and I would like to practice being here with you, so that we may be of better service.
I would like to go to hot springs with you, they are my favorite thing. And spend money that I have now to do nice things that I have never been able to do—I have always been stressed, working too much and loving it, poor yet wealthy in life and friendship and art, wealthy in life and love yet bereft in means. And finally I am neither stressed nor poor, and yet I am not yet wealthy in love.
I would like to read more of your handwriting, and go to wide parties with you, and admire you when you are unaware, and give you earrings made out of skateboards, and buy your art to gift to friends of mine, and I would like to see you find your home. And I would like to not let you go because of your own desire. I would like you to be relieved and breathe free because you find I am solid and stable and strong, which I am and have been and am more so, because of you, now.
Fire is surprising, for it comes from wood and other things.
There are many things that I would like, but language constrains my desire into form from dreams. The constraint of these words guides our many possibilities and hopes and fears into one channel, preventing our house from being flooded, but watering our garden nevertheless.
I would like to acknowledge that we cannot know the future, but that we are both kind and good people, who care about society, and prize open minds above opinions. And that is key: that and the basics: kissing, and coffee, and bicycling, and flirting, and art, and sun, and Red dog, and fruit, and family, and work, and work, and work, and work, and work, and curious chaos. And, home.
And then I would like you to leave me and my heart will not know whether to be happy or sad at your visit or your departure.