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QUINTESSENCE

Secret Machine

“My loneliness is a secret machine,
a flying feather bed in the blue
of a hydrangea…”
- “Galileo,” Christopher Howell

A word on the solitary heart... The reality of life, we are led to believe, is that we row our little boats alone. Loneliness something we are more or less always aware of, there in the secret rooms of our memories. I've found something else to be true: we are truly part of a parenthesis in eternity - a set of those we come from and those that come from us. I think one reason our children can break our hearts just in looking at them, is that we feel ourselves in their innocence, reflected in their laughing eyes. Holding the kids on our laps, or leaning shoulder to shoulder with a grown son on a log by a beach fire, we look down the length of them: recognize our own bony feet in theirs, laugh at the slightly longer second toe. In the shadows of our parents, our grandparents, our children, we experience ourselves as unbounded in the universe. Something of us spools in from the past and through us, forward.

I love this poet's imagery, the idea loneliness takes wing as a secret machine. A trapeze, a buggy, a spaceship, a bed flying blue through dark skies. We are the machine, our secrets safely stashed in our hearts. When loneliness swims up inside, cling to the faces of those you love, anchor to the weight of the old dog’s head on your foot. Love is the skin, the silver, the fierce aluminum, the slingshot of hope that catapults us through space. Space, the blue of wild hydrangea.
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