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Archive for the ‘love’ Category

what i learned on monday

You can show kindness to anyone, anytime.

You can take a graceful leap over a puddle and dance with rush hour.

You can love both when it does and does not matter.

But you simply will not, cannot, return your library books on time.

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too many books

I want to write everything down, so as not to forget, not to lose the pages of shattered bones and missteps, the descriptions of grief and marked time, the illogical holding and eventual letting go, that coming to know things only loss can show you. How else can I learn all that others have to share? OWL runs down hills, out of arms reach. The stacks grow and multiply.

An unexpected phone call and miles. Essays and meetings over dinners. A quarrel on the stairs and the sweetness of reunion. I want to write my  words. My heart moves faster than my hands. I am restless, out of breath, walking to work, late, skipping over potholes. My boots scuff brick, concrete, asphalt. The wind lifts a corner of my coat, snakes through my dress, slip, tights. Words I cannot say.

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On an island, I read a poem out loud and discover exactly what I want it to feel like if I fall in love.

I hike narrow & steep trails in falling light with OWL on my back because I promised him a waterfall. We make it back before dark.

I remember unexpectedly touching the lips of a friend days before he moved thousands of miles away, the experience of true a moment where the past dissolved and the future didn’t exist. A feeling that, I now suspect, may exist out there, even for me, in that shaky unknowable someday.

I tell myself it is okay to touch the tiny beautiful things that are offered to me.

I try to remember that betrayal and the willingness to stay open in light of a past that’s been undermined and a future I don’t always trust is the gateway to the present moment. That I am on the threshold.

I bathe my baby in a dish pan set atop a picnic table in the woods next to a lake.

I sit in circles and lines and listen to the breath of friends & strangers — sometimes rapid, sometimes breathless, sometimes wet with tears — and join the chorus where emptiness and form make nobility.

I promise to slow down the constant testing.

I ride my bike for miles.
20.
16.
204
5.
11.
28.
9.
(And learn the value of bike shorts & espresso goo shots.)

I practice functional.noble silence.

I bask in the richness of our friendships. Meals made by human hands. Wine in the park. An unexpected (always invited) house guest. Evenings with babies and late night with mamas. Wheels over trails. Cushions in a row. Late night / early morning messaging.

I learn the words to Little Blue Truck.

I practice transforming the many mishaps.

I write in fits & starts. In fragments with a sense of things that will never see the light of day. A lot of notes, nothing coherent. Journals and notepads and folded sheets of loose leaf paper.

I submit 4 essays and hang out with an empty inbox.

I buy a new dress & plan for a picnic.

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Walking with lightness across the past week, down sweet avenues of promise.

Fall asleep to the heartbreak of harshness, how we diminish and mistrust ourselves so deeply, how we salt our wounds at every turn. How we can love anyone but ourselves.

Awake in the courageousness of my heart, aware that I am good enough to be the mama I’ve become, the mama OWL needs. Aware that in this moment, perhaps that’s all there is, and that is enough. I awake aware that the unwavering presence of goodness that is so hard to touch still resides inside, and I am grateful that the week has illuminated it so vividly. But there is more work to do, always more do to.

And so it is just not time. Not for this.

With breakfast tea in hand, discover this quote, posted by the dear Mrs. Marit:

LOVE: when your energetic heart expands out of your body so far it explodes joy and color all over the world around you in such a way that all your beauty is reflected back at you. then your spirit says ‘Ahhh… that’s the purpose.’*

And so it goes, a cross town train and latitudes, into laughter and forgetting.

Regard all dharmas as dreams. Flip a card. Abandon all hope of fruition. Shuffle. Be grateful to everyone. Shuffle. Begin the sequence of sending and taking with yourself. 


(*from a Mountain Sage Medicine postcard picked up at Mother’s Market Pace in Hood River, OR)

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Here is my one sentence, written now, at 2 am.

Sometimes you have to bloom on accord of your own light, no matter how dark the endless midnight hour, to find that the sun was always shining, waiting for you to open your eyes.

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We set a date. The 16th of December. Life and death and funeral all in one. It’s the right thing to do, and well past time. I was disappointed that the 18th was Saturday, when the courts are closed up, since it seemed fitting that it should end 5 years and 6 months to the day, or 8 years and 7 months to the day of the beginning-beginning, whichever one counts in the end, if any do.

This is what I want. It’s Closure, Moving Forward.

I don’t know if anyone really thinks about the ending. I remember so many details about that first day – the bus ride to Georgetown with my friend GR, my red cashmere sweater and chunky black shoes, his baby blue pants, talking about the Pixies, how he asked me for my phone number so he could ask me on a date (“with dinner and a movie and kissing at the end”), a stolen kiss behind the club, the drive home in the back seat of his 1963 Dodge van next to the drummer’s passed out girlfriend, my twisted ankle….

And I remember so many and so few details of all the in between, which I suppose reflects the successes and failures in equal proportion. Either way, I am not repeating them here. I am not a fan of recaps even though I can play scenes from my life in my head – real and imagined – over and over again to the point of exhaustion and depression. And my point is that there was a lot of living even when it wasn’t exciting. Or perfect. That we did bear witness to each other’s mundane and extraordinary. And that in some ways there’s more intimacy in watching someone pick out fruit or learn to cook or demolish a wall or garden in the rain or sign a dissolution decree than there is in anything else. That the day-to-day is where we live, moment to moment, each and every one of us.

In the clarity of this defeat, I see myself and where I hold on. I resist who I am because I cannot let go of what I am not. I see it again and again – here in this day, there in the past long before I crossed paths with then-husband, and in the future where I am always raw and incomplete and never enough.

I long for something rough, and pull out From the Burnpile.  The cello and Madigan’s voice match and settle my mood while I cook rice with stock, turmeric & chipotle onions, and saute carrots with leftover spinach (with cinnamon!) and black beans for dinner.

I’m trying to write you a love song
because I know it’s time you heard one
I’m trying to write you a love song
because somewhere you know you’re someone

Come tell me about yr dreams coming true
I need you to
Come tell me about your dreams coming true

The snow has laid down blankets and the cold air forms ice as the wind sweeps the trees clean and the sky drops more flakes, alternating between perpendicular and sideways. I watch it swirl like a breaking wave, change direction, and gust in sheets to the south. The window rattles against the wind. The cat is curled at my left thigh and purrs when I brush against his coat. OWL sleeps peacefully through the storm, maybe with good dreams about our afternoon walk in the whitened landscape in his red snow suit, a knee-high gnome with his green car in one hand, hairbrush in the other.

But I can’t write the love song. I can’t seem to right the story. All I can do is crawl into the bed and pull the covers over OWL’s body as he sleeps, his cool feet finding the side of my colder right thigh, and weep.

Future happiness included, of course.

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Under a shrouded moon,
among strings and daggers and arrows and love come & gone since,
my needles tap endlessly along a seam I’ll never finish.

My feet walking, walking, walking.

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