out beyond ideas of rightdoing and wrongdoing,
there is a field. I’ll meet you there.
when the soul lies down in that grass,
the world is too full to talk about.
Ideas, language, even the phrase each other
doesn’t make any sense.
- rumi -
There was a little mediterranean restaurant in Flagstaff, AZ where I first discovered the poetry of Rumi. A beautifully illustrated translation of his works sat casually at the counter where you could pore over verse, kick back with freshly made pitas, and enjoy the bustle of mountain town traffic outside. I was in college, so it was the late 90s, I would wager to guess.
I’ve never found that exact translation, though I think of it often. Pretty much every single time I read Rumi in fact. I see the way the words as they appeared on the page, feel the summer breeze lilting over my skin, hear the creak of the screen door with each rhythmic line. I wonder if it would be so good, even if I found it? Held the book in my hands once again?
There’s something to be said for experience. Poetry, above all things, is an experience.
I think the home I look for is a poem. Something I read about in a book, a long, long time ago.
Sometimes I get a taste of it, try to catch it, think of how I could integrate it into my permanent atmosphere. Like, can I get a job there? Where would I live? And the kids would go to school…where? Would I be happy in this place? Could I earn my keep?
Resist the urge to flee?
Or would I have to be kept? Again. And again. Just like every time before.
I’m learning, slowly and in great depth, that walking into the presence of such a place is temporary. An experience. My work, I think, is to translate the visions into verse. Walking meditations. Root myself deep in belief and nothing else. Push past the ache of feeling like what I have to say doesn’t doesn’t matter to anyone but me.
I’m not sure if this is right or wrong, but it’s the path I choose.
When my soul is ready to lie down, it seems I find a place like this. A reminder to do the work.
This is Agua Linda.
And it is indeed a poem.
A natural farm located in the protective view of the Santa Rita Mountains in southern Arizona. About 40 minutes or so past Tucson.
We came here for a big time family event, an Easter egg hunt that rivals all Easter egg hunts on earth, as far as I’m concerned. The day was beautiful, the breeze divine. The children (and the mama): relaxed. There were pony rides, face painting, an absolutely delectable lunch that reminded me why mangoes are considered good.
But mostly it’s nice and quiet. Spaces are limited, which keeps it sweet. Intimate. A good place to take the kids.
I had never been to this part of Arizona, but I tell you what: I will be back here again.
This is a place that broke down deep into the ache, my heartbreak of the life I lost. Or chose to give away. My brother said the first time he came here, he knew it would be a spot I would like. That my name was written all over it.
He was right.
It’s the perfect mix of what I love about Arizona … the heat, the clouds, the landscape, conjoined with everything I miss about Montana … healthy cows, open space, a feeling of ease. People rooted solidly in their place. Belief in where they stand.
It made me realize what I’ve been missing.
A deep connection to food. To the substance of community. The simplicity and sacredness of life.
These were things I took for granted. The poetry of who we were.
If it sounds bleak, forgive me. It’s not where my intention takes space. It’s a realization. A clarity.
A bright light in the night.
And here, this is it:
“drink all your passion
and be a disgrace.
close both eyes
to see with the other eye.”
Yep. It’s Rumi. I’ve found him again.
Right out here in the middle of this field. The way it’s supposed to be.