Monthly Archives: December 2009

green

Another Christmas done. They’ve arced through a continuum of joyous for so many years that I thought such joy would always be mine to a lost wandering through the internal debris of the blast of divorce, hurt to children, loss of a first, dear, unexpected love affair. The landscape was bleak, desolate, incinerated, nothing green, only smoke, small fires, charred and ruined trees, writhing memory, hissing doubt. I thought I would never heal. It was unbearable this time of year. And yet… I’ve slowly created a Christmas I can bear, a Christmas which brings me small joys. I am content, grateful, humbled to have them. I celebrate friendship at lunches and Ann’s wonderful brunch. I go to a play or festive event. I watch my grandchildren at their music pageant. I buy too many gifts. I decorate, for me, not on the scale of my once-upon-a-time life, but on a scale which pleases the girl who thought she’d have what she wanted forever, that there was nothing that could overwhelm her. I cook and serve a homemade dinner, adding fine folks to family so that the ruin of all I once had isn’t the ghost of Christmas past sitting silent and pale and mocking at my dining table. There’s a saying from the Talmud: every blade of grass has an angel bending over it, whispering, grow…grow. Heal is what my angel whispered. Not possible, I thought. Surely when one’s psychic legs are cut out from under you, you never walk again, you always feel the ache of what is no longer there. First I lay weeping. Then I crawled. One day I stood and stumbled forward into my life. Green has reappeared in my once desolate forest, widened, reaches skyward again. I almost dare to hope, to expect, in the wild way I once did. Almost….but not quite.

sweet

Listening to the liquid silver voice of Sarah McLaughlin as I drive along the freeway. Her songs are sad; they make me remember failed relationships. I think of that place with another where you stop trying. It’s before I don’t care, way before, but it’s a bad sign. I think, if I had any advice to give, I’d said, darlings, don’t get cynical with one another because once you allow that, it’s too hard to get back to where the healing sweetness is.

Are relationships harder to sustain than they used to be? Is romance real? You tell me.

ancient myth

Long ago on a galaxy far, far away……..

Before 7th grade, she’d been her own exuberant maiden; she’d written plays, loved boys, bossed them, fought them. She’d always been full speed ahead. She’d been a leader. It’s in junior high that Hades rears up out of his dark palace and takes her to an underworld of inferiority, not enough, a place where she can’t match the ideal of femininity in the mid 1960s. She runs for class president. Friends tell her they can’t or won’t vote for her because she’s a girl. Her body betrays her. A lithe androgyny changes to busty, hippy, plump, womanly. The cool girls are slimly, primly ripe. She doesn’t have enough confidence to play Marilyn Monroe, to use the body to manipulate. But later that’s a saving grace.

She can’t go steady. Her mother and the religion they practice won’t allow it. It seems like everywhere she turns in those years there are walls around her, walls she runs into and bloodies herself upon. Her mother is secretly pleased at her failures, her mother who can really do anything, but has only been allowed the roles of wife and mother and who has married into a family of broken men, harsh, handsome men, who order women about as if they’re nothing. She loves learning, the academic piece. It’s a place where she’s allowed to achieve without disapproval. But she doesn’t have a boyfriend. She has boys who like her, but they’re not the boys she yearns for…the heroes. She wants a hero…an outer hero to reflect the inner hero she’s had to suppress.

She is years coming out of Hades. There are no Hecates around with advice. Persephone is searching for her, but she doesn’t hear her voice for a very long time.

snow

Houston came to a halt last week. It snowed. Not only did it snow earlier than it ever has, and we seldom get snow, but it snowed all day. Amazing. Children ran out of schoolrooms, and teachers ran with them. People walked outside of offices. There was glee and excitement everywhere. Our airports had to delay flights. I doubt they own a de-icer. A friend of mine coming in from Minnesota, where winter is ice and snow, had her plane delayed for our weather. She came in late, looked around, and said, What snow? Of course, by then, it had melted. Her amusement at our delight and confusion–the news people warning us to stay indoors because of the freezing and icy streets, evening events cancelled–doesn’t bother me. It was a magical day, the swirling flakes of snow kissing my face and Houston’s. My grandchildren were beside themselves with elaborate plans involving gloves and snowballs. We were all children for a day, from overexcited weather forecasters to the man or woman in the streets. Delighted children. And it was great.

(Photo courtesy of Ann Bradford. Sculpture by artist Mark Bradford)