018. These Worshipful Bones

Everything can be worship–I think we’re starting to believe that in our bones. Worship in the smallest motions, worship in between moments. Worship inaudible and worship like a howl. Worship in the face of beauty, and worship when it leaves.

A couple of Thursdays ago, I saw Phosphorescent (one of my favorite bands) perform at Sam’s workplace. The afternoon was washed in a cool, clear light: Northern California finery. Every member of the six-person gig was wearing cowboy boots, shades and trashy baseball caps. They seemed covered in dust, unshaved and unfed. Two drumkits. Girl on a saloon-organ. Matthew Houck’s broken drawl, his voice cracking the way it might when you’re begging someone not to leave, cracking the way you talk about things you want to forget, cracking like timber falling in the mightiest of forests. Sorrow all the way down to the ground.

We were sitting in the grass up front (I would later discover damp green stains on the butt of my shorts) and hanging onto the faltering verses. Some people were listening and others were milling around, talking, eating free grilled cheese. Houck sang like a wind or a prophet, My feet are gold and my heart is light / and we race out on the desert plains all night. I wanted to remember it all–I was so scared of forgetting anything.

I was mourning the day’s passing even as it cascaded all around us, sound abundant; sensing the coming silence.

Isn’t it true that everything beautiful is passing? Maybe it passes only to be replaced by other beauties–that’s the hope I hold on to. I don’t want these days to end. I recognize now, cusping on change, the inordinate beauty of the ways we’ve been living lately: slow and light-filled, taking all the rests we want, moving through long mornings without apology. Barely noticing the luxury of silences. The luxury of rambling. The luxury of misunderstanding. The luxury of getting lost. The luxury of taking a long time to say what we mean, because we have a long time.

But that’s not completely accurate, because sometimes we did notice. We worshipped as we went. I remember you mumbling thank yous into my hair while lay on our backs, your prayers going right into the crown of my head and traveling through all the bones in my face. Worship, from the Old English worth-ship: the acknowledgement of worth. The act of saying, “This is valuable, this is good,” or of tracing beauty back to its source and saying what we really mean: “You are good.” You are worth-y.


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