What Things We Bring

Tanya Holtland

Things come so easy. Banana peels strewn about sidewalks all over the world can affirm this.

During the night I dream I am giving birth to a snake that I care for in a small pond and am not afraid of. By morning all the novels being written are closer to finished. To come or to cry are movements of equal measure. Chopin is easy. Balance is easy. Imagine loving change like loving love. What did you give away and what did you receive today? By the time you read this, how have you been breathing?

Animals come easy. By night they are the size of symbols and cure the matter between. In the Presidio of San Francisco hawks surf currents that bellow in atop shoreline cliffs. They hold their wings outstretched, perfectly still in the sky while the wind gives back to them the movement they were born with. The birds have found it. Worry tells us we have not. Skin and all our people parts keep the breathing from flying out of us.

That line, The breath of life. No one said this.

I can cry anytime of day on any given day since I was a child. Even bananas die by the light. Children ask for what they need in their own way. On the life of the crane, Tom Robbins put it this way: It would survive on its own terms or not at all.

To cry or to come are movements of equal measure. Crabs pass vulnerable over shifty sands while waves tear their vision. Chopin is still easy. Light has no preference or a discriminating bone. Enters a sleeping bedroom, breaks into a greenhouse. Frames our unsuspecting leaves lovely and transparent as children. No one has taught us to capture wind when we are young and abused. Light is when all else fails, something motherly.

Having a baby is easy. All that passes by calendars persists constantly and forever. Sometimes we just need to know where our breath is and where it could be going or coming from. Creating is easy. Imagine what is there.

Meanwhile, movements of equal measure carry. I spent a week inside The Year of Magical Thinking, thinking, I will never get out from under that kind of worry, the kind that has transformed into readiness for loss after so much practice. But maybe I am only able to say this because I don’t believe it anymore. When I got sick you said that you worried for a moment that I might die. But this would be a loss that will not be written.

How badly the practice of loss wants to find its way to every soft-feathered under-wing. Baby birds learning to dive from trees cradling mothers caught in their time. You flew to me when I got sick without telling me. What waits in the lungs but a breath on its way. Ready to come. Easy as a swing. I don’t think the ground trusts us anymore. We are full of surprise.

By city sidewalks paths foot hard. We learn to borrow things that bring us back to the feeling of country, the flat line of the land that mimics where ocean meets horizon. You told me this. That it happens on the plains. That the Midwest is good for something if not this. Imagine how easy the winds must move there, caught up in the potentials of their breath. On occasion, wind spurring all the wings it has, rattling up homes and barns and lives, so big and wanting. Easy in all its love.

So easy it goes. Crabs walking in the winds lose footing constantly, as a matter of course. We don’t just pull up but into how we have learned to heal. In the day to day our practices grow and they are not all bad despite our demands, the wants we put on ourselves that can be so high. I want to tell everyone I meet not to worry. Cities all over the world lie in wait, ready and breathing to turn all kind of hearts towards each other. I have heard it said: You never know what good things the wind will bring.

By morning we have remembered all these dreams. Even the one where the snake gets me in the neck and I black out but don't die. The one where I will later read that the snake is always in part a healer. Losing consciousness can be giving. Into the possibility of the scene.

What the wind sifts through the sky is a bird aware of what it is given. Sometimes I get lost in a particular song, a movement, a prelude. I might love the whole thing but from between 3:08 and 3:13 it breaks me. I replay it over and over as though bottomless. My body the puddle that the rain has filled but continues to dance on. This is a kind of dream. The way memory is easy. Just the future fallen off the eyes.

The past is easy. Trying to learn about breathing is easy. The difference between wisdom and fear. Somewhere behind a dream we are writing these. Like wind lonely on the plains, the sun on your shore making you come clean. Moving back towards all that rises, I remember now. What things we bring.