Annabel Lee

A full night of soft rain allows us spoiled Californians time to adjust for a wetter period. I check my six new skylights for leaks. All above me is good. What lies ahead? More of this, but stronger? My better sense tells me to be ready for almost any severity this time of year.

What else do I ponder this morning? Is the place I come from the place I am going? Who I was when I came here is not who I am now, but will I become like that when I return to my origin? This rainy Friday morning, the mission is to immerse myself in this moment of goodness. It is enough living to satisfy me. Like the coming rain, there will be more life ahead; the rain wet, the life good.

I hear others ask what to do with their time in the meanwhile, as if they are being required to wait for some special sense of living to come to them. I’m often like that. Pensive, listless, undecided, attentive, but unwilling to take action for or against much of anything. I often feel like if I take any action, make any decision, commit to any idea, join any organized way of viewing life, I am limiting myself, or losing a portion of my true identity. I enjoy the sense of faith and hope that religion purports to bring to a person in the form of comfort and assurance of a divine life, but I also respect the logical, rational part of my mind that I received at birth, so I often puzzle over how to accommodate both.

Yesterday when I went walking these sorts of thoughts lingered in my mind. I recalled my study of Emerson from a year or two before and his answer to this dilemma that many stumble over, of faith versus reason.


The simple answer from Emerson is that we also have intuition, which is placed inside of us at birth and placed there for very good reason: as a means of guidance in understanding and in interpreting our individual experience. He would have us live both by faith and by logic, but intuition we learn more about by listening to the still tiny voice inside of us. Emerson calls this lowly listening. I have written more than once in this journal about lowly listening. How easily I forget, but that is mainly because I do not keep up the practice.

I would like to see the FDA come up with a pill that will enhance my intuition. I swallow it daily and the divine part of me that dwells deep down inside is suddenly able to communicate more clearly. I should patent the idea. I’m sure it would be a worth a million or two. But in the event that no chemistry lab could cook up such a concoction–giving us LSD and a few other frightening, mind-numbing drugs instead–I suppose that if I really want to develop better intuitive listening skills, I must do so on my own. Nobody, no government agency, or influential organization, can peer inside of me more effectively and tell me what’s going in there than I can do myself.

I re-read the poem by Edgar Allen Poe titled Annabel Lee this morning because this past week was Poe’s birthday. The poem has some of that sense of looking for the deeper identity that we are born with, the maiden that we may know.

It was many and many a year ago,
In a kingdom by the sea,
That a maiden there lived whom you may know
By the name of ANNABEL LEE;
And this maiden she lived with no other thought
Than to love and be loved by me.

I was a child and she was a child,
In this kingdom by the sea;
But we loved with a love that was more than love-
I and my Annabel Lee;
With a love that the winged seraphs of heaven
Coveted her and me.

The love that we experience when children is perhaps a more full dosage of intuition than we can easily perceive when we become adults and our interior life becomes dulled. The narrator of this poem remains close to that child-like awareness and will not let go of it. That is how one comes to live within the kingdom of the divine, the one by the infinite sea.

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