because one can only lament so much about the current divisive atmosphere. and then it need cease. at least for a moment. for a breath.
we look around for randomness – arbitrary, non-thinking imagery, things that will effect little to no rise in blood pressure, little to no anxiety, no hot flash.
today, this image is ‘pear on wine bottle’, a still life depicting the ingredients of a 5pm cocktail hour. the time of day when maybe the pressures of the day are easing up a bit or the weariness of the day is catching up. a time of a deep breath, a long walk, an old-fashioned or sliced pear and a glass of red wine.
we are fortunate to have these moments at the end of the day when we can take a step back, sit in broken adirondack chairs on our patio and watch dogdog run circles around his roundabout sign in the garden.
we wonder, like you, when we can gather together again. we sigh, not knowing.
when the waning sun warms our faces out back this day, we will tip our glasses to each of you, sending you love, good health and a breath of peace.
and as yesterday passed into today and i drifted off to sleep i knew, despite that she is on a different plane of existence, my sweet momma was holding me close to her. it was bracing to think of the five year mark that has just passed now since she has been gone and the every-day-missing-her that goes along with that. no different with my dad. in a month it will be eight years and i can hear his “hi brat” in my heart. i have no doubt that he is right there, holding on tightly. both of them. forever and ever.
it is a fact. this parenthood thing is mind-bogglingly paramount. ever forward from the day they are born. it is all-consuming. in every good and every daunting way. every most-jubilant and every brutally-difficult way. every securely-confident and every tumultuously-distressing way. every way.
in this pandemic time of chaos we pine for a sense of normal which escapes us. anxiety barges in and replaces our regular routines; peace escapes us. we long to see each other. we feel tired; we feel restless. we sleep more; we cannot sleep. we are astounded by the surrealness of this; we are crushed by how real this is. and we worry. it is hard to be away from those whom we love and knowing that right now we cannot go to them compounds it. my heart needs to hug My Girl and My Boy and see that all is well. we feel anxious. our wishes go unfulfilled.
and yet as today passes into tomorrow and they drift off to sleep i know, despite how busy they may be or where they are in the world, that i am holding them close. that no doubt can exist – i am right there, holding on tightly.
and i hope, like you with your beloved children, that they can feel it. forever and ever.
“hope…it makes you breathe differently. it makes your heart beat faster. it makes your knees weak and your ability to wait strong. it makes you weep with anticipation and holds you close with others who are also hoping.” (reverse threading, dec. 7, 2018)
i have done time on the kitchen floor. like you, i have been brought to my knees with grief, anxiety, worry, pain, shame, fear, sadness, loneliness, anger, disappointment. when you are on the floor, any movement seems monumental. anxiety is crushingly powerful. it seems unlikely you will rise. and even as you go about your days, doing the things you do in life, it seems you will remain on the virtual kitchen floor.
but then, there is a moment. it appears illusory yet it is luminous. it is a mere butterfly wing, the slightest of silk tendrils, but it is there. elusive and tiny, it asks for absolute focus. like viewing through the eyepiece on binoculars, you slowly steady your gaze. something inside you knows. something tells you to reach for it and hold it gently in your shaking hands. it is hope.
“hope. there aren’t many words like this…describing that which you can actually – viscerally – feel in your body. it makes you breathe differently. it makes your heart beat faster. it makes your knees weak and your ability to wait strong. it makes you weep with anticipation and holds you close with others who are also hoping.” (reverse threading, dec. 7, 2018)
like many of you, i have laid awake many nights now. exhausted when i lay my head down and then, voila!, wide awake. the middle of the night has many monsters these days. it used to be that as i lay awake and would get hungry and hungrier, i would convince david that the perfect thing, rousing him from sleep, would be to have a 3am bowl of cereal together. since we went dairy-gluten-free i’ve substituted and have chosen a banana in the wee hours. somewhere i read that bananas are sleep aids, so waking david up to have a banana seemed like i was helping him. but now, we have no bananas.
we need to go to the grocery store. but it’s complicated, with disinfecting wipes during our trip there and being absolutely careful upon our return home to wash everything or store it for a period of time. it’s important, vital. we step back from the person who is a personal-space-invader. we make room on the walking path for those coming the other way. we marvel at the recklessness of large numbers of people still gathering in spaces. we weep for those who have succumbed to a disease that is apparently sorely underestimated.
this painting, eve, is a beautiful landscape of color and shape. eve, religiously historic as the first woman.
is it possible that the apple of eve and adam, the one in the story from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, could now be seen as a casualness toward the spread of this pandemic, a cavalier attitude, a lack of regard toward social distancing or the peril facing citizens, medical personnel, workers at essential businesses? the apple that, in the story, changed everything, for all time?
i don’t feel as much in-a-boat as i feel that i am relentlessly treading water. but there was no handy treading-water bitmoji and i remember the exact moment that this bitmoji showed up on my snapchat mapping…in the middle of a lot of treading.
treading, treading. guessing at why what-is-happening is happening – in wide concentric circles around us, tightly close to us.
and today, both valentine’s day and d’s birthday, i want to express gratitude for this man who is standing in the water with me – waves crashing over us, undertow threatening to pull us down, riptide ever present – and holding my fiberglass-cast-encased hand. the person who is equally as perplexed at this time, who takes turns with me being alternatively flabbergasted, philosophical and soberingly pragmatic.
he continues to zip my jacket, buckle my seatbelt, paste my toothbrush, carry my music, pepper-mill my breakfast and dinner, put the ernie straw in my coffee. he has learned the fine points of where-on-the-head to place hair conditioner, how best to tie plastic bags on my arms, what stool will work best at the piano, which wine glass i can pick up at the end of a day. he has watched me learn how to hold mascara with two hands and pull up girl jeans by the belt loops. he has been treading water with me as we look to the horizon.
maybe this watershed is the thing that elicits change. at the end of 2019 i could feel it coming. and i can now, with all authority and certainty, say that the change is not that i will, smack dab in the middle of middle-age, become a professional snowboarder. nope. but there may truly be things out there i just didn’t see or consider. perhaps the things that are vexing us, stunning us, deeply disappointing us, are just the things that will propel us. ah, if that just didn’t feel so pollyanna-ish.
this life is bigger than anyone can ever live it. that includes us. treading water in the watershed might be a time that forces dynamic change. like everyone, i wish i had some prescient inkling of what’s-out-there, what-will-happen.
my perceived lack of control is maybe a misperception. maybe that which has taken away control is conversely granting control, granting the creativity that comes with grabbing onto flotsam and jetsam in a sea that seems to be swirling. maybe the grasping-at-straws is grasping-at-ernie, a touchstone that seems flimsy and unimportant, but which actually is grounding, rooting, and gives voice to more solid footing, less wave-action, more direction-choosing.
the watershed is here. moment by moment we stare at it. we roll our eyes, we yell at the angst-y details, we shake our heads in confusion, we stop and stand still and, yet hyperventilating from treading, we wonder. we try to breathe, to center, to be in the eye of the storm.
holding hand-cast, we look forward and we guess that this ain’t the last watershed on the horizon.
and then, while no one really paid attention – distracted by other things….
this painting is called ICARUS and, not being too much of a study in mythology, david told me the story. now, somewhere in the bank of knowledge that i have learned and somehow forgotten, it resonated. no matter. it is certainly relevant now. the shout of “squirrel!!” and the shifting of gaze happens time and again. our attention-deficited-culture becomes distracted by you-name-it and we miss things that are happening, that are more monumental than we realize. icarus flew too close to the sun. we try too hard. we push. we seek to achieve. we don’t pay attention. we miss. we get burned and fall. others fall around us. we don’t really pay attention.
what is really happening in our world while we are paying attention to the latest headline? what is really happening in our world while we get caught up in the latest rhetoric? what is really happening in our world as our politicians play shell games with us while the stuff of real importance they skirt past us?
david knows that i don’t really like this painting. it’s one of a very few that i would say that about. (just as i am quite sure there are musical compositions of mine that are not his favorite.) i feel a kind of mayhem, a kind of negativity from it. it unnerves me. but, alas, it is a contemporary statement. we don’t really pay attention.