The other day there was a miracle, but I was looking the other way when it happened and it blew past me like a round of silent artillery. So does it count if I figured it out a week later? If I pieced it all together? And if it does count, do I just make a notch on a piece of wood or something? Once I get ten, can I trade ’em in for something else? Do I get an extra man or a free throw of the dice?
I think at the time I was imagining how it would be if I was more rustic. Like if I knew how to hike up into the mountains in late fall and not come down until the ice broke, and I was comfortable banking fires, setting traps, cleaning skins and knives in the half light, and getting on the same wavelength as the mountain slopes and the snow squalls, if it would be any better. Part of me likes to think it might be. Part of me likes to interrupt from time to time and carry out some inner discourse on topics such as these, and I miss things. The miracles streak past, and an hour later I discover the life I thought was my own has a hole in it.
Miracles scurry around like fugitive bolts of lightning, like firecrackers that leapt off the end of whipped leather and dove for cover, so if you want to see one you can’t be distracted. Because they also blend right in with everything else. You stand looking at a street corner, watching laundry wave from the balcony, watching cars and spinning hub cabs and big buses, watching faces. The miracle is looking right at you, piecing together the next world from the one already here, but you can’t cull it out from the rest. You can only squint and listen quietly, and then feel yourself slip away. Feel yourself loosen from your coordinates. Feel the way faces are oddly familiar, the way dimples in curb stones and painted street markings couldn’t have been any other way. That’s when I feel closest to it, when everywhere I look it’s looking right back. Invisible. Massing like a cloud.
It’s not whether the cars collide or not, whether the sirens come or not, or whether the deal gets made. It’s something inside of all that, something like a rock climber with one grip on the moment in front of you, one grip somewhere ten years ago in a corn silo, and a foot that’s carrying the weight of everything, pushing off the darkness inside of an egg. Then that climber moves and the whole world moves with it, but I can only see that the light turned green. Everything shifts but it all moves together so it looks like it was always gonna’ do that anyway. The front two cars burst off the line, boring a hole through the cloud.
What if I could just look at somebody and know their regrets, or their shoe size, or whether or not they were in love? What if I could just stand on the corner and send little ingots of light into the people walking by, and the ingots of light always knew exactly what to do– like go to the pancreas and throw a few switches, or ride the blood up into the pituitary gland and sing a song, or grab a few hooligan-shaped molecules from their liver and crack them into little tiny flower petals?
Would it be any better if that were so? I can’t answer that. The whole world flickers through its eternity and reappears fresh in every direction, and all I can see is one thing at a time. But it’s enough to suggest a closeness– an intimacy with places far away that brought me here. When a large bird takes off in the forest, too far away to hear, you just see fragments of wing tips, and tree trunks lined up still as posts concealing splashes of white and warmth. I get carried along by that. The world moves me along even though I froze ten years ago, and ever since I’ve been trying to piece together what I saw. With each breath, we all get whisked over the edge by the current, because it was always gonna’ be that way.
The best thing is to just relax and catch your thoughts– the ones that were meant for you. They crawl up inside of you and then go to work. They open up over time. That’s the whole world, taking you with it. The miracle is realizing it’s all happening at once. Everywhere at once, it’s just right. The miracle is the ticket mashed deep in your heart, crumpled and silent, that you were given to this ballet of wing tips and ruffled darkness that somehow takes you exactly where you need to go.