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Archive for the ‘snow!’ Category

Saturday. 26-degrees, feels like 16. Snowflakes fell like feathers for 15 minutes and called it quits, preferring the embrace of their clouds to the dance of descent. A second pot of tea steeps on the counter, delicatas roast in the oven, buttery-garlic rice simmers on the on the stove, the sink drips into the breakfast dishes, and the radio plays a soundtrack made, I’m almost convinced, just for me.

After 13 months of unemployment, I got a job. Up early, OWL at school for 8-1/2 hours, straight home to where I’m the cook, dishwasher, laundress, healer, bather, story-teller. Looking back, I see the magical quality that shined through all the chaos and hurts of the past 18-months. And I am forever grateful.

Last month, among the madness of deadlines, I came face to face with myself, again. I wrote and wrote and wrote. I wrote through decades, started close to the beginning, and penned pages of missed opportunities, hurt and injustice, doubt and fear, but also of triumph and learning and love. I  went over the past year, a year defined by the journey through so much loss, how I worked like hell to stay in the moment, to dissolve, to be okay, to experience groundlessness and reality maybe for the first time ever, to grieve my past-present-future.

As the pages turned, my mind kept trying to settle on the metaphor eye of the storm, but I quickly realized that this was wishful thinking. That suddenly, I am on some other side. I know more storms will blow in and wreak havoc on everything I know, but this particular one, this one that I know so very well, has silently come to an end. And within the madness of paper and pen and hours, part of me craves its return because at least, in it, I know who am.

But it is not where I am, nor who I am at this moment. And certainly not what I want for the future. As I survey the landscape of this new shore I see that a good deal of the wreckage has already been cleared, that I’ve done quite a bit of picking up along that way. That through all of this, the little pieces of compassion that broke through took root and are starting to push through the earth, towards the sun as it rises.

Life only grows after falling down, kissing the earth through that dance of descent.

—–

Dedicated to M.D.A.

June 1970 – February 2011

Thank you for your courage and thoughts and words.

I wish you safe passage and travels, and a happier return.

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Intellectually I know that the world is neither for us, nor against us. But damn, it would be nice to feel like someone was on my side.

I often take myself too seriously, and take too many things personally. There are times when it seems like the stars and the universe and the moon are all aligned with the sole intention of totally fucking me over. A karmic twist of the knife for a life lived long long ago?  Who knows. I’m just saying that I can make all this worry and questions and suffering for myself, and don’t care to put it on other people or be their source. I’m not in the mood to be judged and I don’t have the energy or authority to judge. I’m not in the mood to argue or pretend to be someone or something that I am not. All I can do is own my own shit.

I don’t know what the fine lines are, or how three or four sentences – words that didn’t even garner much thought in my head and were gone not long after saying them – turned into judgement, or someone feeling judged. I could say things differently. But there are no rehearsals. Then again, it’s not the first time I’ve heard this sort of thing….

None of this is making sense without the details, but there’s no reason to repeat them and I’m sorry to lead you to nowhere. And like I am sorry for so many things, that’s not an apology but rather an acknowledgement of the unfortunate nature of reality at times. I’m pulled in a million directions and really feeling it – a mama holding a great wide space around my son to grow & thrive, a woman trying to restart, to live and carve out happiness and connections, both with mixed success. And tonight, what I really wanted was the company of a friend, a person to comfort and hold. Because being there for someone else is how I hold myself and how I find compassion for myself. It’s a mama’s way, and a woman’s way. And totally unfair to everyone involved.

In the passing hour, I read this passage:

Survival psychologists have since discovered that the people who are most likely to live through extreme, life-and-death challenges are those who open their eyes to the wonders of the world around them, even as their own lives hang in the balance. To appreciate beauty is to experience humility – to recognize that something larger and more powerful than oneself is at work in the environment. And humility, it turns out, is key to recognizing that in order to survive, you must adapt yourself to the environment, that it won’t adapt to your needs.

The Indifferent Starts Above (pg 285) by Daniel James Brown

This settles me down, takes me out of bewilderment and frustration and disappointment. It reminds me that I have a practice. That I’m not always perfect. That in some ways my life is hanging in the balance, and in so many ways it is not even close to life-and-death. (This book is about the Donner Party.) It reminds me that things are basically good, that my smallness is a gift, and that through the thick & thin and ebb & flow of all this crisis that has been my life this past year, I still marvel at red leaves waving in the sunlight, the crusted snow under my boots, the light of the full moon through dark clouds from my window, the warmth of hands & lips, and the scent of simmering beans on the stove. I can still lose my reference points in the sound of heavy rain. That I feel and sense these things, that I take note and awaken to the tiny miracles embedded in everyday, is a signpost that I’ll get through this. Cross the mountains as a mama and a woman, with OWL at my side.

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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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