Academic journal article Field

Where outside the Body Is the Soul Today

Academic journal article Field

Where outside the Body Is the Soul Today

Article excerpt

Soul stress: the clanging of a bell in the strong winds of the eastern front or an avalanche in the snowmobile exhaust's wake. The weather un-chaining, a slow coming apart. Hairline cracks widening in the vase. Over the phone, my friend's breathing sounds ragged, evaporative. As if it he were thinning to air. My soul is dizzy, he says. What to call this? Precarious structure, like the soil, disintegrating in the rain? Weakness? Pathopsychology? There is horror in what humans do, and the sensitives, those like him, whose hands sometimes tremble, who have no spleens, having lost them in the accidents of childhood, suddenly see auras and must sit down. Just beyond the normalcy of everyday life: the flammable face of the world. The mind, at the edge, just an organ. Its bluster and dying down. Its retina, a shattered piece of glass.

The mule deer, when they spot me on the still-bare ridge, line up in single file at the fence, disappearing into earth-tone with snow-patch on their butts, invisible until the first one jumps. Thought: a small moment. We are made and unmade. The bone smuggler thinks fossils are just rocks. Why should we claim paleontology so important? Wind crosses in front of me, jangling the gate, making the tree caught in another 's limbs moan and shift, igniting a flare down the road. I love winter, have loved so many winters. At this point, my life seems overlong. The ruffed grouse that startles into its loud twig-snap flight leaves me with its heart-thunder below. What is left when spirit flees us and the soul is decomposed? Forked feet and belly-drag of her curious chain-link track. Suicide bomber and drone added to the Webster's.

Where in the body is the soul today? "Anatomy," not "astronomy." Look this morning at the deer, sleeping on its side in a pile of leaves. Put yourself there, under the stars. Protected, really, from nothing. Having to trust the air. Or gray solitaire on the bare branch of the extreme cold. Where outside the body is the soul today? …

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