Originally posted 4/10/2008.
The word “gunstock”
sends the listener into a maze,
evoking as it does
from the anticipation of a fast run
down the New Hampshire mountain which bears that name,
powder surging around the tips of your skis,
to the feel of oiled walnut against your shoulder.
There’s anticipation there too
of the sound coming a split second late,
the long whoosh of the bullet drawn out into the air
just ahead of the punch of the blow to your shoulder.
You cannot know much of the reality of either of these things
until they have happened to you,
so if you have not skied or shot,
the word “gunstock” is a theory at best.
It is a gate that may lead you to contradictory places,
or at least to places that bear little resemblance to each other
until you decide to cut through the walls of the maze
and see that in truth,
“gunstock” always means
with a related meaning of
That “joy” is also operative in each of those meanings
may not be apparent until you cut through the green walls
that define the maze established by the presence of the word.
Learning which of the meanings is operative
changes the nature of the maze.
Holding all of the meanings to be true in all situations
is a key to cutting the maze down.