Book Excerpt


From The Bridge to Reality by Paul Ferrini

Click here to listen to Paul Ferrini reading Song of Forgiveness from The Bridge to Reality

Song of Forgiveness
The snow is falling softly over the marsh, blowing from side to side. Caught in the wind, the pine boughs release their offering. I am there too. I am slipping to the heart. I am slipping down to the heart of love.

Through the sadness, the ennui, the end of personal love, moving into a deepening silence, oblivion of form, into a deep unity, my arms and lips just peculiar shapes of white sadness, forms of fallen flesh whose purpose is now obsolete.
Form will come and go. It is incidental, like purpose.

And I will come like the snow and cover it over. I will come and make footprints in the snow, footprints that look crisp and clean, though they like on top of old footprints long covered over.

It has been only a few hours, but it seems now as if it has snowed for days. I watch hypnotically. The part of me that would struggle nods off. I am gliding along the edge, close to sleep. I am the snow. I am the one watching the snow. Watching the snow is like the snow falling.

My body is filling up. Mind is filling up. Snow sits on my lips, sings in my thoughts, spills in my blood. I am the one watching. I am the one falling on all things, bringing myself to all things. I am the one falling.

I am almost without form. I take the form of whomever receives me. I am a quiet prayer, a song remembered for a moment and then forgotten. My body faces from substance to reflection. It is soft, willowy like the snow. It moves through the branches and hands held out to hold it. For an instant, this tiny, wet, ephemeral form is my body. Then it is no longer.

Mind is clearing now. I wipe off the snow and the surface like a mirror. I see many things, as if for the first time. I am the small animal that tunnels in for the warmth, the child jumping, spinning and rolling, the ecstatic one, creature of this white apocalypse.

"Hey ma, can I go out and play in the snow?" I can hear that voice echo in the space between the white foothills and the lake, but it is with all the other memories, insubstantial, almost forgotten.

Someone died here, but we don't know who it is. The snow leaves no trace of anything having happened. Yet is clear that everyone who has been here has either disappeared, or is disappearing.

I no longer know which way to look, back toward my birth, or forward toward my death. "Where do we Go, Mom? Are you going to disappear, Mom? Are you going to go and leave me here alone?"

I am still a child. I am still mourning the things I do not understand. I am still seven years old and the snow is three feet high. My father is carrying me out to the school bus on Route 3. Where did he go? I got on the bus and waved to him, as the bus sputtered and lunged forward in the snow. Where did he go?

I am just a child. I don't understand these things. My heart is heavy. I don't understand the snow. I don't understand where my footprints go. I don't understand how to recover them.

"Go through the sadness, little one," I say to myself. To me, that child I was will always be little and innocent, like Diedre, who disappeared suddenly. One day I woke up and she was not there. One day the wind entered her blood and I was robbed forever. And I never forgave.

"Go through the feelings, little one. Feel the pain and the moment of release, the promise of love and its disappointment. Feel it all. There is nothing unworthy of you. It is just the snow falling. It is just the snow falling inside your heart."

"What are snow angels?" my daughter asks.

"Snow angels are our friends," I say. "Snow angels cannot walk. They cannot run. They only fly. And they fly only when the wind blows."

"Is it for real?" you ask. "Is it for real?"

"I don't know, my dear," I say. "I don't know what is real any more and what is not." I don't know.

The snow comes down. It freezes on the branches of the trees. The sun comes out, shines on those frozen shapes, and makes rainbows everywhere you look. I don't know if they are real.

The snow angels come to me at night in my dreams. They sound like galloping ponies as they approach, but as I look carefully I see that their feet never touch the ground. The sound I hear is the gentle flapping of their wings. The sound I hear is the snow falling against my window.

Dear God. I have come full circle. Oh, such sweet sadness, this attachment to form. Must I yet surrender it and leave the ones I love?

I have returned to you clothed only in the windswept snow. I have come through the soft blizzard with tears falling. I have come home, Lord.