The Exponent of Breath

The lady herself.

I suppose I was thirteen or so when I realized that truth could be found outside of textbooks and religion.  The fact that the books I read into the morning could give me something of worth, outside of the already happy prizes delight and diversion, was a pleasant discovery. In my own young way I attempted to make the most of this revelation, seeking books and writers that I thought were disciples of Veritas.

My experiment started with an 8th grade me only partially comprehending the unabridged Les Miserables. When I revisited Hugo and his masterpiece a few years later, it was as if we had never met. Despite shaky starts, there were brief moments of illumination when I felt I understood what great minds and great spirits meant when they wrote the words that outlived them. These intances of connection gave me a sense of communion and happiness. Those words, those thoughts, those truths may never have resided in me naturally. To be given them freely by people I could never meet was a wondrous thing. I still search for them.

I began to think writing was powerful. Man's ability to write - to conceive, capture and execute great ideas - was one of my first proofs of God outside of doctrine and tradition. Adolescence is a funny time. In the same year that I begged my parents for tickets to an n'sync concert, I was also beginning to see letters and their shapes and their gathering into words as something related to the divine.

My favorite teenage discovery was a collection of Emily Dickinson's poems. The book was purchased for it's turn of the century bindings and cherished for the glimpses of truth its browned pages held. There is one poem that I read over and over. The lines and their old type still float across my eyes now and then as I close them for sleep or prayers or hope.

Poem 37 

Love is anterior to life

Posterior to death,

Initial of creation, and

The exponent of breath.

 Sometimes, after I've seen those words and felt them again, I whisper a thank you to a woman that picked up a pen and wrote when truth revealed there was something to say.