I am not here for I am gone*.
Today the rain has come back again.
Spring is nearly over. And as I write, Eldest is flying home which is not home here where I live, but home there where she lives now, where she has an exciting internship, money to earn, friends to make, things to learn. This delights her, this new life opening. And delights me, too, though with twinges.
Two months more and then summer will be nearly over. Two months before we touch back together again, for a brief week together right before Eldest returns again to her real life, before Middlest takes wing for her new life at college. For a week, two months from now, my chicks will all be together in one place.
I wish myself just that contented, though I know I’ll be distracted then, as I have been now, by the details of travel and daily meals and my own inner weather and only the morning after our dispersal will I fully realize what is gone.
I don’t want to endure this summer living only for a brief week between the end of Eldest’s summer internship at one university and her return to her regular lab at her own university. I don’t want to hold my breath gasping for just one brief week between Middlest’s girlhood and the rest of her amazing life. One week, even shorter than this past re-gathering, is too short a time to live a whole summer in.
My life will not be made up of these brief weeks, but broken by them.
Say rather, my life will be punctuated thus, with all that promised variety of orthography (:,.!?!), say rather enlarged, as if my territories, my scope for imagination were stretching wider, or enriched, so that at least my breakfast bowl will be even more full of natural goodness and crunchy sweetness than ever.
Oh, we’ve had such sun this May, everything so very green, with blooms bursting out all at once everywhere.
The sound of the rain is perfect now. Repetitive, like this plangent plaint I keep playing for you. How I miss my daughters. How I am so happy for them, so happy with them — even if that means without them.
The rain is the same as it’s always been, there in the background all the years of their growing up. The price we pay for the intensity of green we live in.
“We shouldn’t have worked so hard at enjoying them,” I said (but I was lying) while last evening Fritz and I watched these girls who are not girls any longer. “Then we could just smack our hands together and give out big gusty sighs of relief that we’d finally got them off our hands.”
They were working together last evening, making matching family T-shirts. We all made them. Only Fritz’ turned out completely satisfactory. But YoungSon wore his today to school. I’ll use mine for gardening, if I wear it at all. Though I don’t need a shirt to remind me of anything that has happened here.
Only a little rain.
A little rain falling down once more.
Because May is May :: In honor of my sister Ironic Women :: To celebrate completing the first quarter of a month-long Double-Iron (so far, 13.5 miles on foot, 57 miles cycling, 40 laps swimming) :: By way of sharing only the hundredth part of today’s ride near the hub of the miracle ::
by Mary Oliver
May, and among the miles of leafing,
blossoms storm out of the darkness —
windflowers and moccasin flowers. The bees
dive into them and I too, to gather
their spiritual honey. Mute and meek, yet theirs
is the deepest certainty that this existence too —
this sense of well-being, the flourishing
of the physical body — rides
near the hub of the miracle that everything
is a part of, is as good
as a poem or a prayer, can also make
luminous any dark place on earth.
(“May” by Mary Oliver)
Where will you ride today?
How many things do I know by heart? The alphabet. My babies’ names. My address when in sixth grade (319 Birdsong Lane). This poem by Henry Vaughn~
Awake, glad heart! Get up and sing,
It is the Birth Day of thy King!
The Sun doth shake
Light from his locks and all the way
Breathing perfumes, doth spice the day!
Awake! Hark how the woods ring!
Winds whisper and the busy springs
A consort make.
Man is their high priest and should rise
To offer up the sacrifice.
I would I were some bird or star
Fluttering through woods or lifted far
Above this inn
And roar of sin,
Then either star or bird would be
Shining or singing still to thee.
Because these words have taken root in my heart, they will often rise unbidden, tripping over my tongue when my heart lifts, shining or singing.
I have learned lately though that the poem I know lacks two concluding stanzas and that the words of the third stanza are properly “road of sin” not “roar of sin.”
But. How flat that “road.” How much better “roar” — the hubbub and carouse of that saloon out on the border where we lose so much of our time. My heart cannot assent to giving up the “roar of sin” –
Which is why Vaughn goes on without me, for I cannot agree whole-heartedly, knowing what I do of the fecundity in good manure for the most beautiful flowering:
I would I had in my best part
Fit rooms for thee! Or that my heart
Were so clean as
Thy manger was.
But I am all filth, and obscene,
Yet, if thou wilt, thou canst make clean.
Sweet Jesu! will then. Let no more
This leper haunt and soil Thy door!
Cure him, ease him,
O release him!
And let once more, by mystic birth,
The Lord of life be born in earth.
I cannot pretend there is no good in any earthly thing. I cannot wish for sterility in the place of vitality. I cannot turn my back like Vaughan does on that lion-like Sun shaking a mighty mane, breathing fragrant life into the waking world. Instead of striding out to meet that Day, Vaughn strings up the danger line right at the border, denying any entry into that ringing wood.
Danger? My stubborn heart goes on warbling what I will, what I would, how I want to be a bird. Or a star.
That’s it! All the eggs in this past year’s carton: October 2010, November 2010, December 2010, January 2011, February 2011, March 2011, April 2011, May 2011, June 2011, July 2011, August 2011 and that brings us to
September 2011 – “Look on Inward Glory”
Not many pictures from September but I really like “Look on Inward Glory” — I wonder why?
Which? “Soak” or “Come Around Back”?
You’ve seen me through 11 months of favorite pictures: October 2010, November 2010, December 2010, January 2011, February 2011, March 2011, April 2011, May 2011, June 2011, July 2011, but now I’m stuck.
Maybe it’s just because I’m writing this in a cold and rainy March, but every single picture from August is so gorgeous to me. The sun shines, flowers and fruit everywhere, and everyone is smiling. How can I pick just one?
How can I not choose ”Am So Comple-mentary“ or “Become the Bean“ or “Like the Word Bramble“? How can I not pick ”Shine Like Summer” just so I can bask in those yellows? Doesn’t ”Am the Great Saladini” deserve honorable mention for its name alone (not to mention the reminder of “Toss Summer Salad” growing right outside my door)?
I love “Soak” for the cool and refreshing colors and for its portrait of water – the contrasting textures from utterly still to bubbled, the reflections from the window above the sink, the brimming meniscus around each upthrust leaf — and I love all the squiggled and curving white lines of rootlets and leaf-ribs and feel settled so nicely by seeing the strong diagonal cleaving through the roundness of the watery bowl in its square frame.
“Come Around Back” though is such a great study of rectangulars, all done in soft and warm primary colors — and then hand-painted signage as well, to which I am never immune.
July 2011 – “Exchange Virtual for Vivid”
An ambitious plan to record everything I love about my town left me with almost too many photos.
My favorite picture this month, “Exchange Virtual for Vivid,” is from a slide show of a bike ride to Portland’s Farmer’s Market. I think it may be my favorite picture of the year– all the bright colors, vegetal shapes and the communication of the hands.
Other shots that turned out well in July: “Pay Nothing Just to Look,” “Bite into Berry,” “Softly Dream of Moth Mullein,” “Am For Sale,” “Finish at Last,” and “Ave Ava.” Are these great pictures, or do I just love the color red?