Instructions for Autumn Kinhin


  1. Never mind the rain.
  1. Never mind the rain.
  1. Open the door and begin with the breath: one slow inhalation of clarifying cool, one slow exhalation of inhabited warmth.
  1. Maintain a natural rhythm of respiration through the scent that catches you with the violence of storm, the sweet rot of foliage taking you to a long-forgotten Alaskan autumn. Girl tugging at your sleeve will bring you back and back and back. The strike of a bell or a baby’s bite at the breast.
  1. As you move away from home, take care in each stride—one foot balances and roots the body to mud and stone, the other defies gravity, propels into possibility.
  1. Do not separate your steady motion from Girl’s unsure gait. Practice together as mother and child, as you’ve done before—Girl rocking in the sea of your womb, and your form seeking a new posture to hold two beings as one.
  1. Stop often to contemplate the potential of puddle and acorn, of the death of leaves. When you do not understand, Girl will guide you.
  1. Hear the infinite shhhhhhh from the singular droplet. Hear the singular droplet out of the infinite shhhhhhh.
  1. Hear Girl ask, “Ame?” for the hundredth of a thousand times. Answer, “Yes—it’s raining.” Speak with sincerity every time.
  1. Notice briefly the tributaries slipping along the topography of your face and also the salt-saturated droplets that pause at the lip and dissolve into absence. Wipe the water from your eyes with the back of your hand, as needed.
  1. Soften your gaze and let it turn to yellow birch and red maple, to damp earth, to the stone glistening in Girl’s open palm.
  1. Allow your chilled hands to rest naturally at your sides, or in your wet pebble-filled pockets. One finger may sometimes be held in Girl’s butterfly grasp.
  1. Remember always to stay with your body, with the breath. Stay also with Girl. There is no deadline or destination.
  1. When necessary, bring your attention to passing cars and large, unleashed dogs.
  1. Abandon persistent thought and narrative. A moment years ago that broke you—let it go. The four or five important things you need to do before bed tonight. Let them go, too.
  1. Notice your compassion for Girl in this moment. Embody it.

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