spent xmas with the future inlaws (which sounds totally scifi) in the south burbs. this holiday already has been most relaxing, welcoming and familial: full of tasty eats made by several different sets of beloved hands; a new stocking with “floyd” glitterscript by “grandma”; cards and packages by post including little schoolboy cookies, a cheese-making kit, and a hand-spun, -dyed, and -knitted hat from my sister. we welcome a new learning guitar into the house for the shower crooner. watched “julia and julie” this afternoon and identified so much with its chaotic women and their quietly brilliant men.
[interlude: at the moment floyd is giving the toy some love in a fashion that feels utterly wrong to us to witness.]
ten. daaaaaays. without any work schedule. open air and wide open space. we’re planning a couple of mini-adventures, getting out and about, packing cameras and setting out to discover fragile dilapidations or inspiring conglomeroddities out along the Somewheres Roadside. we’ll see what turns up, which is the point. and I’m booking some playtable time, for sure– got a start xmas eve eve– started out with wrapping and kind of took off. glue now sits drying, ideas jelling amid cluttered and resifted cutouts. I foresee several cups of cocoa, cups of tea, glasses of wine in the days ahead. this is the friday night of the long holiday stretch. staring down the double barrel of 2010 and 43– out of the aughts we go!
I have been remembering to articulate the need for TIME. just to be, time without feeling rushed or late for or behind on one thing or another. really I have missed timelessness. to have it, even in small sputtering doses and within a confined space before returning to whatever ordinary routine, defined of course in part by having a routine to return to– this feels like such a gift just now.
and quiet deeply craved… tho my inner mouth yearns to say “craven”, just all kinds of wrong meaning, obstinately meaning-full language. logic foiling the tastiness of the straight and curly sound of things. a frequent trouble in my poetry days– I’d let myself go traipsing down some nonsense for the pure auditory seduction in words, of letters thrown together in loving hodge-podge, and then wind up amounting to what, exactly? ah, yeoldesaga of sarah’s tumultuous relationship with writing– fraught with long silences and adverbial clot, the struggles with and hellyeah against meaning.
o, hello, quiet to listen through all this hubbub, the engine-starting, throat-clearing first paragraphs of getting down into the underneath and moving it forward. by gum and golly. Ima be moving it forward. that’s the deal. into the fear. right into the jaws of a host of discomforts. toward the other side, up over the wall.
there’s a gathering down at a friend’s family place in georgia or louisiana, a reunion of sort of generations of good girlfriends long parted organized around a marriage or some other event. there are myriad sweet and homely activities around about the house, both specifically preparing and also just for savoring. I go down to the swampy waterside with one of the older women and sit on the dock where we’re visited by manatees who thrust their short elephant snout fingers up through the water to investigate us newcomers. then there are odd and comical ground foul running through the brush who have scattered-looking downy, sunset-colored plumage with bright orange stripes running down their breasts. I ask my companion what they are, and she says some ridiculous name that marks their derivation from both wombats and something else silly, nonsensically two land mammals, and that someone introduced them to the area from australia years ago.
back at the house we’re exploring and trying to reproduce a whole host of arts and crafts produced by the women and girls of the family over years and years. there are tracings of some kind on old table and bed linens (ironed crisp) of vintage ad imagery. I’m dashing around with chalk and crayons, an electric iron, a stack of newspapers, and a crumbling tome with yellowed pages falling out, conducting experiments, partially on the sly out of fear of making mistakes and ruining something.
later on (possibly a separate dream altogether) I’m sitting outside beneath the arcing branches of an enormous ancient tree with thisbe and her husband and laurel and, for part of it, thisbe’s mom, who has begun the slow and painful process of dying and is being handled carefully and cradled quietly with both arms and words– and we’re having a gentle conversation that feels very real about dying and childbirth and the parallels between the two. then the others are discussing and telling me about a beautiful book they’ve all read called see. I’m listening and marveling and overcome by gratitutde for these people and all the love surrounding me.
pots of tuscan white bean and swiss chard soup made with thanksgiving turkey stock: 1
big screen movies watched (2012– woo! upheavals!): 1
good long walks with chris & floyd: 1
cups of hot cocoa: 2
loads of laundry put away: 4
hours of rolly polly puppy play time: infinite
rattled this morning, set coffee cup on top of car while lifting floyd up and in. drove to work in grey funk. pulled into parking lot, killed engine, and suddenly remembered coffee. got out, and voila, cup on its side, trapped by luggage rack– with still a couple of sips of (now iced) coffee inside!
I enter a house hanging on the edge of a cliff to rescue a tin box of letters and papers. the ocean has come up over the lip of the cliff and covered the grass where we were formerly sitting. an older man (our teacher? the descendant?) and I have taken off our shoes to go retrieve what’s left. the old house is tippy, precarious, and our added weight causes it to shift alarmingly, so we step back across the old wood floor gingerly– I find the letters, though they’re somewhat scattered. mostly they seem to be innocuous and not much worth the effort of saving– routine classmate valentines and such– there’s a good deal I may just throw away– the at the bottom are a few pieces that seem more meaningful– there’s a sheaf with handwritten messages from all my friends, expressing concern and care over my dark mood, and then there’s a folded-up piece of my own writing– I stuff it all back into the box and resolve to review it later on outside the tipping, sliding house. my companion is still working on his own search, so I poke around a little and discover an old handbag belonging to the former tenant– it hales from another era and seems to me to be redolent of history and character– it’s a large satchel type bag, and I’m imagining its owner, thinking how it’s just the sort of bag a lady might use to carry a shawl in, and lo and behold, I reach inside and pull out a length of fabric– which turns out instead to be a dress of deep blue and fascinating cut. the other guy has come over to see what I’ve found (there’s the sense he has prior claim on the house’s contents), and I hold up the dress to show him. I’m thinking I might be able to wear it, as the fabric is stretchy even though it at first appears quite narrow-waisted– but he gives me a dismissive look, and I feel quite horrible suddenly, though I play it off and offer the dress to him, telling him it would make an intriguing piece of art hung on a wooden hander on the wall.
not quite clear exactly how it came about this morning, but suddenly everything is terrible. not where I want to be, or doing what I want to do. just everything. marked pattern of a distortion, and I know that although it feels utterly real, this is an illusion that will pass. keep shaking off the dark thing perched on my shoulders, stretching my back and taking a deep breath, stepping forward foot by foot, only to have it settle its heavy shadow once more. this thing has pursued me the length of conscious memory, with blessed stretches of unblemished sunlit daytimes and mornings and even bright evenings, whole weeks when it seems to have retreated to some moldy stinking grotto, only to return again and again and again.