Sunday, October 24, 2010

Light and Its Current Location

This is a list of "little things" that relate to my current location, but this location is much more multi-dimensional than I can explain.   But that's no excuse for "not trying" to explain.

1.  I am relieved to have a soundtrack to my life right now.  

"It's not so impossible...It's a long life.  Better pinch yourself."
"Get real.  Get right with the Lord."
"I love you."

I'm thrilled knowing that Sufjan Stevens' newest album Age of Adz has hit #7 on the Billboard charts.  I can already tell you what position it's hit for me:  somewhere between #1 and a little bit above that.  OK.  I know he uses auto-tune, but it's SARCASTIC auto-tune.  There's a difference.  

2.  Nora's daily exclamations:  "I'm as stiff as a rock!"  
We spend about 20 minutes everyday working out the tangles in her hair.  There is no work greater than the work I do to serve her: the cups of cold water, the meals made, all the nighttime stories, pretending the same scene again and again until her imagination is real, until my real is imagination.

3.  I work with and teach and learn from such remarkable people--funny, smart, gentle, and alive.

4.  There is a sort of scientific miracle I'm learning to look for in strange variations in the light.  I've documented them:
  • the underwater waves of the electric red eyes dancing on the side of the boxcars as the train passes at night 
  • the rainbows I find on my spoon, the dish water, the kitchen walls cast from the prism in my window
  • the lambency of light passing through the tree leaves landing in our hands on the couch
  • a path of light on the tile floor in TLEC that moves beneath my feet no matter where I place them
  • certainly the moon racing down the railroad track alongside my car like Charlie Chaplan's hat always kicked out of reach
  • the light of the moon through the screen door, through the windmill, through me
  • the refraction of light through tears growing like frost on a window pane as I squint my eyes
  • All Christmas lights

Thursday, October 21, 2010

A Letter Revised for My Many Sisters (and the men who love them)

And, sisters, be careful of the things you purchase that require mending for there will be a hefty amount of mending to do anyway--the skinned knees, the heart broken, the bread burned, and the moments that slip away before you've had a chance to string them together in a meaningful, unforgettable way. 

And while you have been given the gift of repair, the gift of needle and thread made of your tears and your deep knowing ways, take a moment to consider your own stitches, unraveling in places, held strong in others and take the time to meet God at those places, to hold those places to you as a garment fit for a queen.  For while you are made mostly of the strong stitches, the open places, the tears and unraveling allow you to breathe, to cry openly, to make something new from the places you have come apart.  We reconnect.  We recover.  We remember and we receive.

I wanted to also warn you that you may be inclined to become too attached to what you do, looking to it as if it is who you are.  And while we should always honor the gift of our work and do those works with all our hearts--the work of the daughter, the mother, the sister, the learner, the teacher, the work of the painter, the poet, and the wife--do not forget that before you are any of those things, you belong to God and your purpose is to love Him with all your being.  For when you trust Him and love Him, you will find solace anytime you feel you have fallen short as a daughter, a mother, as a wife or a sister.   As I've grown older, I've come to realize that those titles, the ones that women so often cling to like a life raft--student, teacher, waitress--they are momentary occupations.  Don't worry, my dears.  Don't worry.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Voice. So it is.

Partly the fear of this space has had to do with claiming a particular voice.  Because voice is character and characters have conflicts, I have avoided this voice.  Because conflicts lead to epiphanies and epiphanies lead to action, I have avoided this voice.

I am (passive voice), I think, perhaps I might be ready to.  Write.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

I suppose I'll start with the end.

Should I have allowed the garden to die?  When do you stop watering it?  When do you just let it go?  And now from the window here, I see the tomato plants, all 10 of them hanging like burnt weeping willows from the wires and ties and fence posts I used to support them, driving the posts into the ground with the ear-biting clang of the metal striking down, me in a smelly t-shirt, in the summer, working the dirt for the second time, knowing more but not everything.  So, you stop watering at some point, and you let the garden slump back to the earth.  I wrote that last year.  This year I would write something like this:

Well, there goes the garden.  Thanks, garden.  See you later, garden.  God willing.

I am learning that a successful gardener doesn't rely much on her own knowledge.  A successful gardener relies on the knowledge placed already in the seed, in the dirt, in the water, in the sun, in the wind, and in the worm.  Tell me this secret, and I will leave it alone to do its good work.