There are no events but thoughts and the heart’s hard turning,the heart’s slow learning where to love and whom. The rest is merely gossip, and takes for other times. The god of today is a tree. He is a forest of trees or a desert, or a wedge from wideness down to a scatter of stars, stars like salt low and dumb and abiding. Today’s god said: shed. He peels from eternity always, spread; he winds into time like a rind. I am or seem to be on a road walking. The hedges are just where they were. There is a corner, and a long hill, a glimpse of snow on the mountains, a slope planted in apple trees, and a store next to a pasture, where I am going to buy some communion wine.
How can I buy the communion wine? Who am I to buy the communion wine? Someone has to buy the communion wine. Having wine instead of grape juice was my idea, and of course I offered to buy it. Shouldn’t I be wearing robes and, especially, a mask? Shouldn’t I make the communion wine? Are there holy grapes, is there holy ground, is anything here holy? There are no holy grapes, there is no holy ground, nor is there anyone but us. I have an empty knapsack over my parka’s shoulders; it is cold, and I’ll want my hands in my pockets. According to the Rule of St. Benedict, I should say, Our hands in our pockets. “All things come of Thee, O Lord, and of thine own have we given thee.” There must be a rule for the purchase of communion wine. “Will that be cash, or charge?” All I know is that when I go to this store — to buy eggs, or sandpaper, broccoli, wood screws, milk — I like to tease a bit, if he’ll let me, with the owner’s son.. He keeps his mysterious counsel, and I’m out on the road again, my right hand forgetting my left. I’m out on the road again walking, and toting a backload of God.
Here is a bottle of wine with a label, Christ with a cork. I bear holiness splintered into a vessel, very God of very God, the sempiternal silence personal and brooding, bright on the back of my ribs. I start up the hill.
The world is changing. The landscape begins to respond as a current upwells. It is starting to clack with itself, though nothing moves in space and there’s no wind. It is starting to utter its infinite particulars, each overlapping and lone, like a hundred hills of hounds all giving tongue. The hedgerows are blackberry brambles, white snowberries, red rose hips, gaunt and clattering broom. Their leafless stems are starting to live visibly deep in their centers, as hidden as banked fires live, and as clearly as recognition, mute, shines forth from eyes. Above me the mountains are raw nerves, sensible and exultant; the trees, the grass, and the asphalt below me are living petals of mind, each sharp and invisible, held in a greeting or glance full perfectly formed. There is something stretched or jostling about the sky which, when I study it, vanishes. Why are there all these apples in the world, and why so wet and transparent? Through all my clothing, through the pack on my back and through the bottle’s glass I feel the wine. Walking faster and faster, weightless, I feel the wine. It sheds light in slats through my rib cage, and fills the buttressed vaults of my ribs with light pooled and buoyant. I am moth; I am light. I am prayer and I can hardly see.
Dillard, Holy the Firm, 64-65