As spring eased its way into the high school, senioritis began to flourish, and I soon wangled several honors passes, which meant I didn't have to go to most of my history or Spanish classes since I had convinced the teachers to let me do more independent study. They didn't have Spanish 5 at the new high school, and I wasn't in the AP History class though I should have been.
I spent many an hour sitting out on the grassy area in front of the high school with other senior friends equally endowed with honors passes. I also had discovered a nook of nature within the campus itself which was deserted once classes were over, and I escaped there one day in the middle of a Yearbook meeting and sat there quietly soaking in the golden peace of a late afternoon, and the minutes dissolved into that timelessness the Greeks called kairos.
The Muse danced and images fluttered out on incorporeal staves, and I tried to pen the notes to a piece of notebook paper in a "Spring Sketch." Looking back, I can see Whitman casting a looming shadow over the verses, but they did roughly outline the moments when time slowed and was forgotten.
There is a blade of grass here,
another there, and a weed,
adding up to a carpet ruffled
with brown grass and leaves
that weren't raked up last fall.
There was a rain yesterday,
but it has all soaked through,
leaving the grass springy
and very softly dry.
There is a tree there
and five more, and a little bush.
The first shy leaves
have crept through the branches
and they wave in the air
that has no heat and no cold;
and the breeze blows
the blades of grass, too.
There was a bird in the tree,
perched among the slender branches
that toss gently in the air.
The warbler sent his low sweet melody
cascading into the sea of grass
where it blended with the endless rhythm,
as the notes came floating
from a chorus in a distant grove,
and the gull's cries rolled in
from a broad and endless sea.
There was a girl here beneath the tree
living with the blades of grass
and the new leaves that drink the rain,
singing the soft notes bequeathed
by the bird, long flown;
gathering her gifts of sun and peace
she held them to her until they were
impressed forever in her heart.
Rediscovering those lines didn't draw up a sketch of the place so much as the quiet that filled the space and coexisted with the bird notes. Whatever was left of high school Sturm und Drang had drained away and left me on an island distant as a mountain valley with the air so clear you could hear cowbells from miles away.
When I finally emerged from my reverie, I had no idea how long I'd been out there, but John Hazard asked me where on earth I'd been and I was a bit elusive in my answer. When I reflected on this memory in prayer this week, I tried to imagine God yearning for me to return my gaze to him, but it is challenging to think of the ineffable Creator looking afar with his piercing eyes to see if I have turned toward him yet.