Thursday, November 20, 2008

November Leaves

Walking away from work, workful still and grateful to have meaningful work to do in this desolate time. This time of stripped wealth and wintery expectations. I cross a parking lot to my car where the wind moves the brown, dry oak leaves back and forth. Lifts them. Turns them. Then drops them again and sends them scuttling across the concrete. This way and that. Dead and scratchy leaves animated by wind.

The tree where more than a year ago I saw a red-tailed hawk brilliantly light and perch in the rich green-and-red-and-yellow-turning color of the leaves is now bare as bones stood up in the dark. Leafless. A place for the cold wind now to make its grieving home.

Day’s end. Walking away from work, I’m thinking of money. Money. Money. Money. How it appears and disappears as if by spirit-work. As if spirits swelled it and diminished it, outside of our knowledge or control. As if it were more idea than substance, or if substance, then a spirit substance, different from all others we know of.

We work for money but if only so, it’s poor compensation for what we do. Or try to do.

Really, it’s never enough, is it? Money. We never have enough. It’s never enough to enliven this November place. This place of chill wind, bare trees, and dry leaves skittering across concrete, a walk alone across the pale concrete. The material world stripped to this staccato hissing of the leaves manipulated by wind.

It never quite gets at what we’re looking for from work, either. It never measures up to the sense we have of infinite expenditure. For what? A few dollars? Many dollars?

The expenditure of self. Of possibility. Of one’s only now. And now. And now. The infinite now that we expend in work.

For what? For money. Yes. A sufficiency. Yes. But there is more to this than that. Our hearts tell us that. Our hearts tell us that the sufficiency we work for once reached leaves us. Well. Skittering around in wind like this. Shed. Killed. In a season that maybe we choose more than we know.

Because we fail to know the other purposes well enough. The other possibilities of our work.

My view’s this. God’s given us something here that’s manifold. That’s non-finite and immaterial. Something that bears his signature and his name.

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