Archive for November, 2012

Fire!

Thursday, November 29th, 2012

I had an extraordinary day. I’ll spill details later, but for now, I can’t stop thinking about the fact that my (come on, who believes in this stuff, but it’s so dang fun to read) horoscope said it was going to be this way… it’s been building up to this outrageous pinnacle all fall. Indeed, it’s been puffing and panting along toward this summit since the low of 2009, when, unbeknownst to me at the time, the stars conspired to murder me. Well, kind of. But really. If you’re an Aries, maybe you know what I mean?

Back then, in fall/winter 2009-’10, my whole life shifted cataclysmically.  The axis didn’t just move, it split in half. Along with a billion other wrenching changes and challenges, I left my decade-long role as a teacher, which was kind of like peeling off my skin. Teaching had become me. It wasn’t a job. It was more of a spiritual/emotional/physical/mental whole-fucking-body-mind-spirit immersion, and if you’re lucky enough to know what I mean by that, then you get the idea that it was a big scary change. Like, hey, who am I? Are you my mother?

Anyway, today was an extraordinary day. Earlier this fall, my horoscope said this:

“You certainly do need a little fun, dear Aries. Life has been so serious and no-frills lately that you must have concluded that life as a grownup is like this, and you can’t expect things to change anymore. No, dear Aries, you CAN expect better days. You may wonder how long you can endure things continuing on this route, but it may help to know that you are very close to the end of this phase. By October 4, you will be out of the woods for the first time since October 2009.”

And then, no sooner than the stars heralded this news, the weeks of autumn  (incidentally, my favorite season, the shimmering colors and pungent smells, the lukewarm  sunlight, the squashed crab apples making that fragrant spicy paste on the sidewalks, the bees and the red berries, the backpacks and the school busses, the pencils and the squeaky sneakers, the cold mornings and the sweet, sweaty afternoons, the blueness and the grayness and the crispness and the rot and the  beauty of it all, and the aching sadness, I love it so), continued to match my horoscope as it declared how this and that eclipse and alignment would be making all manner of amazingness come my way.

And today, today was that kind of day. In honor of such a day, and in honor of the light and the dark and the ouch of 2009/’10 and the lovely of now, however fleeting now may be, I share these harsh yet light-filled words from D.H. Lawrence:

Phoenix

Are you willing to be sponged out, erased, cancelled,

made nothing?

Are you willing to be made nothing?

Dipped into oblivion?

If not, you will never really change.

 

 

The phoenix renews her youth

only when she is burnt, burnt alive, burnt down

to hot and flocculent ash.

Then the small stirring of a new small bub in the nest

with strands of down like floating ash

shows that she is renewing her youth like the eagle,

immortal bird.

 

 

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Barbed Wire

Tuesday, November 27th, 2012

With each year that passes, I get more desperate to take Jon to Wyoming. I want to get in the car and drive, drive across the country that I remember from when I was six, my mom at the wheel, my sister pinching half-moon marks into my thighs in the backseat of the purple Impala. Mountains weren’t supposed to look like that! That’s not the way I drew them. What a heartbreaking disappointment.

I want to take Jon to the tumbleweeds, to the sagebrush. He knows this landscape too, he knows the harshness of it. It’s the landscape of his first marriage, the years in California, where it fell apart. And yet, he still loves the West, still exclaims over its beauty. I learned this secret last summer in Los Angeles, as he swooned over one of the ugliest stretches of beaches we’ve ever visited as a couple. The beach right there in L.A., an arid, heavily built, way overcrowded and smoggy coast all snugged up to the congested highway. It didn’t seem beautiful to me in comparison to the turquois horseshoe beaches of Culebra, or the deserted white sugar oases of Tulum, or the entirely barren white and wild grass beaches of Michigan, or even the lovely, if popular, beaches of Florida’s Ft. Meyers, Sanibel, and Captiva.

This ability to see beauty, to continue to see beauty, to grip beauty, in spite of its flaws, is most certainly Jon’s most potent human gift.

I want to bring him to Wyoming, my Wyoming. The ugly place, the place I haven’t returned to in all these years. The place of childhood memories no one wants to share, the irredeemable place. I wonder if he can find the beauty there? In the unimpressive foothills of Casper Mountain, in the endless winds, in the stinging dust and tumbleweeds and barbed wire.

Be Careful

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Airplane Poem

Friday, November 16th, 2012

 

There’s a lot I don’t know
I know the small of your
back, that hollow just above
the round muscle of your ass
That patch of soft hair
There’s another heart
beating in my chest
The rising heat of your body
Your hands, the graceful fingers
their scars and ridged nails
their peeling skin
Flying over the ocean
the enormity, the loss
Take me not with you
but within you
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