When I was a kid, my dad had a standard question when he handed out my 10 cent allowance. ‘Are you going to spend it or save it?’ he asked.
If I said, ‘spend it,’ that was that. But ‘save it’ produced another dime from his pocket. I used to think my parents had ruined me for life with thrift. But today I’m grateful for the capacity to relish life in slow motion.
In times past, members of the masses, those with very little clout to start with, were neatly packed in God and Country. These two cellophanes remain, reminding us to be humble, idealistic and resigned. We work, we pray, we soldier on.
This never made it to the blog this summer. Life intervened. But here it is.
You might say it doesn’t take much to make me flee the pungent porch on a late summer night for the sanctuary of bright lights, notebook and lanolin. But here I am, resigned to write, and itch and wish I were sleeping.
Certain sons and daughters asked to stow their overflow with us so they might follow their dream to far off places. Since I’d begun to clear out the glacial accumulation of stuff from our attic and basement awhile back, inspired by the dismantling of my dad’s place, I was less than aligned to the prospect of yet more stuff. But family can hardly be denied when room can be made.
In Folly, protagonist Rae Newborn works her way out of debilitating depression by building a house. Artisan of wood in her former life, she pieces together her redemption on a solitary island in the Pacific northwest.
Rae is not only the scarred creation of her writer. She is the writer’s scars, revealed as socially useful things.
Mama hadn’t been gone too long when my Dad ended up in rehab. I was in rehab too at the time, where an equanimity of spirit and growing roundness to my form could only mean on thing: I was pregnant.
It happens sometimes, you know, when life’s unredeemed losses pull you down into paths of least resistance? Humans cope by the means available. So there I was, impregnated by a familiar friend I’d relied on in many a tough situation, but never to this degree.
Asleep in the trees, I feel my fingers itch from palm to tip, but dream swelled eyes resist the open air. I hold the netherworlds and blindly smile and scratch, until I stop: the itch remains.
Sleep undone, I spring the lids and there she is, madonna moon, a silver shimmering sheen. Hanging baskets join the boughs to rock this pearl, this tiny apparition.
Summertime in Cleveland has me sprawled on the back porch like a flayed goose, awaiting the nightly visitation.
The shaman has been revered by purveyors of culture who link our storied past with a starker spiritual present.
If there’s one place on earth where joy eclipses toil and grief, it’s music.