“I learned how to find the new moon by looking for the circular absence of stars…I learned God’s true language is only silence and breath.” –Kazim Ali (Bright Felon: Autobiography and Cities)
Last summer, I found religion in the journal of a poet who described his hunger and silence while fasting for ramadan. I walked around taking slow, deliberate bites of whatever was around me. Napped on napping trees. Kissed beneath enough moon shadows to call myself a believer of things. Tried a new cuisine called sloped Brooklyn. Became a smoker briefly because I liked the way my breath would tangle with the invisibleness of air. Had a short love-affair with mayflies. Played ukelele on as many benches as my skin could find.
Weeks wait to be found before summer begins but check out this air! One can call themselves religious just by breathing. Just by emptying the winter from lungs and exhaling bouts of lonely or shiver or hungry. Hours can easily climb mountaintops. Clouds wait to be deciphered into a language of picture maps.
This time is different. You may use the same words for things but meanings no longer need to be still and unwavering. You can memorize a prayer like love and it can be new each time. How amazing! How wonderful to climb hands into another’s and trace the elongation of breath traveling without passport to another country just by feeling your way.
Bodies are like religious institutions. Stained glass. Memorials. Psalms and palms. Sermons threading together the meanings of things.
We fast (figuratively and metaphorically) to remember why we hunger so much. We gain weight when we allow our bodies permission to hold on to what finally nourishes us.