I run. I write. I post. In that order. With few gaps. Typically. But not Saturday. No. No. No. Disbelief. Fatigue on overdrive. Just not real.
I marinated in it for days.
And then Rilke prods: “ask yourself in the stillest hour of your night: ‘must I write?’ Delve into yourself for a deep answer. And if this should be affirmative, if you may meet this earnest question with a strong and simple ‘I must,’ then build your life according to this necessity.”
So I must.
And I write.
A series of interlocking coincidences which only rose to consciousness after a replay of events played forward from daybreak.
A short reading. It was Leonard Bernstein, from Dinner with Lenny: The Last Long Interview with Leonard Bernstein:
I am frequently visited by a white moth or a white butterfly. Quite amazingly frequently. And I know it’s Felicia. I remember that when she died, her coffin was in our living room in East Hampton … and just a few of us were there—the family and a rabbi and a priest, because she’d been brought up in a convent in Chile. We were playing the Mozart Requiem on the phonograph. Everyone was absolutely silent. And then this white butterfly flew in from God knows where—it just appeared from under the coffin and flew around, alighting on everybody in the room—on each of the children, on the rabbi, on the priest, on her brother-in-law and two of her sisters, on me … and then it was gone … though there was nothing open. And this has also happened to me here, sitting outside in my garden. … White.
The appearance of a white moth. Or white butterfly…White.
From somewhere, an unbeknownst longing for a punishing trail run. It had been months. I’m in the car.
I pull into the parking lot at Mianus River Park. As I walk onto the trail, a Pet Owner with two Vizslas.
“He’s 2 years and she’s 8 months…”
“We had a Vizsla.”
A long pause.
“Yes, his name was Zeke. We just put him down.”
I’m 4.5 miles in. Exhausted, and finishing with a light tailwind. I turn up an incline on the last mile.
There’s a heavy rustle of wings in the woods. There’s its wing span, lifting, rising. There’s its distinguishing mark, its tail. Same color palette on its tail feathers.
A flash, perhaps 3 seconds.
A red tailed hawk
A red colored Vizsla.
A bird hunting dog.
Visited by a Red Moth.
Or a Red Butterfly.
This above all — ask yourself in the stillest hour of your night: must I write? Delve into yourself for a deep answer. And if this should be affirmative, if you may meet this earnest question with a strong and simple “I must,” then build your life according to this necessity; your life even into its most indifferent and slightest hour must be a sign of this urge and a testimony to it. […] A work of art is good if it has sprung from necessity. In this nature of its origin lies the judgment of it: there is no other.
~ Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet
- Photo of Red-Tailed Hawk: Julian Chandler Photography. Rilke Quote: Brainpickings
- Related Posts: Running Series