A dove in the wilderness
יוֹנָתִ֞י בְּחַגְוֵ֣י הַסֶּ֗לַע בְּסֵ֨תֶר֙ הַמַּדְרֵגָ֔ה הַרְאִ֨ינִי֙ אֶת־מַרְאַ֔יִךְ הַשְׁמִיעִ֖ינִי אֶת־קוֹלֵ֑ךְ כִּי־קוֹלֵ֥ךְ עָרֵ֖ב וּמַרְאֵ֥יךְ נָאוֶֽה: — שיר השירים ב, יד
My dove? A circle within the boulder, a secret within the step, my vision from the mirror, what I hear of your voice — your voice? A wilderness, when dawn is a multitude and the mirror is desire.
The Hebrew for dove — יוֹן — within Shir Ha’Shirim refers to G!d, not to love. In its natural habitat everywhere on the known Earth, the dove is a simile for Ha’Shem. The Hebrew ah’rév — ערב — literally means “wilderness”, but here I decode it as when dawn (ער) is a multitude (רב): it is always dawn somewhere on Earth. Mystics understand cirlce within the stone to refer to Moshe, whom G!d Placed in the cleft of a rock when passing by —
וְהָיָה בַּעֲבֹר כְּבֹדִי, וְשַׂמְתִּיךָ בְּנִקְרַת הַצּוּר; וְשַׂכֹּתִי כַפִּי עָלֶיךָ, עַד-עָבְרִי
And as My Glory passes I Will place you within a gouge of
the rock. It will be as if My Hand covers you until I Pass by.
Every step is a mystery, for one does not know what’s around the corner, though ma’dréga — מדרגה — refers less to footsteps — צעדים — than it does to advancing along a stairwell — חדר מדרגות — e.g., it defines moving up a level rather than moving across the same level. One can walk down a stairwell, of course, but I do not understand there to be any such thing as a “lower madréga”.