Monthly Archives: March 2010

bitter

She’s still bitter. I don’t blame her, but life is both sorrow and joy. There is nothing we get to keep forever, not even our lives. I ran across Wordworth‘s words the other day, and I wanted to email them to her….

What though the radiance which was once so bright/Be now forever taken from my sight,/Though nothing can bring back the hour /Of splendor in the grass, or glory in the flower;/We will grieve not, rather find/Strength in what remains behind….

But I didn’t. Nor did I watch the aching long-ago movie with those words as its theme. As a young woman, when I saw the movie, I didn’t understand it. But now I do. Hold tight to what you love while you have it, grieve it when it’s gone, but move on…and on…and on…..because that’s what life does.

Have you let go yet? Tell me how you did it….

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ghost apron

Today I thought of a story I’d saved from the paper about an exhibit called: Apron Strings. Do you even know what an apron is? Women used to wear them to protect their dresses as they did domestic chores. And female servants always wore them, going as far back as the 1700s. Today we see Betty Draper‘s maid in one on Mad Men. Somewhere between the 1960s and now, the apron died. Did civil rights kill it? Undoing the memory of legions of black maids in starched, white aprons?  Or feminism? What did they symbolize that they died the way they did? The old newspaper story made me remember women in my life who’d worn them, women who’d worked hard and kept family together. But I didn’t learn to sew or cook or embroider or quilt or crochet or tat because the women who did those things weren’t respected by the men I loved. These days, I am learning old ways, cooking, hand-stitching. There’s a yearning in my learning. I don’t know quite what for. Is it the lure of the simplicity of making something small and necessary, of service with quiet, quick, deft hands? Am I appeasing the ghosts of the women who reared me and the women who reared them, gentle ghosts, gallant ghosts, indispensable ghosts who kept the home fires burning and likely wore aprons?

Who are the ghosts in your life? How can they be appeased?  And why is that necessary? I know it is. But why?

tender

It’s that tender time of year, sweetness showing in the new green of grass and tree buds. The redbud and tulip tree define the city in such tender colors: not quite purple, not quite pink for the tulip tree. And as for the redbud, even the thesaurus can’t summon a tint to match its beauty: amethyst, wine, madder, violet, none of them quite fit.

New beginnings, birth, rebirth, that’s what spring signifies. What will you begin? What project or life goal have you put off? What in you needs to be birthed? What in you needs to be born again, this time into a kinder frame? When the green shading of  the grass is so clear it hurts to see, it’s life itself prompting us to unfurl, move, shake, grow, dare. Can you, will you….and what?

stack

They’re sitting there waiting on me. Books I want to read. I have them in stacks by my favorite chair and by the bed. Here’s their roll call:

Lord of the Rings trilogy (afraid of this one…why won’t I start….help me out, those of you who’ve read them); Thames, the biography; Art & Soul; Ottoline and the Yellow Cat; Horses: history, myth, art; London: the years of change; Sweat Your Prayers; Good Poems for hard times; I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings; We are the Ones We Have Been Waiting For; The River of Doubt; Animal, Vegetable, Miracle; Visioning.

That’s just the stack by the chair. There are even more by the bed. When I travel, I have to take at least three books with me. And then I usually find something in the airport bookstore. I seldom read more than two of the books I bring….one always on the plane. I’ve thought about that. Why don’t I just look at the people and maybe engage? There might be something interesting I’d learn. But I can’t not read a book on a plane. And then the book gets me through the sleepless nights when I travel. And the others––they’re for security. I have to have a stack wherever I am. Sony Reader, Kindle, IPad….what about us stackers? Maybe a virtual stack is just as comforting. Is it? You tell me.

And then I have my fall back: Georgette Heyer’s regency novels. They comfort me when nothing else can. I know all the plots by heart. I don’t care. She’s never stale to me. She’s my pacifier.

What’s in a stack by your bed or chair?  It probably doesn’t matter if we ever read them, does it? It’s all about the stack. Wonder why….