I could tell you a version of my life that would be intriguing, but would it be true? In just under seven decades, memories are viewed through a prismatic lens of dazzling colors or in black and white depending, and I think it has perhaps always been thus;
To retrieve fodder from far back requires I plumb the mind of a child, dazzled by a world of human behavior she never understood, coming in, as she did, with a certain clueless high mindedness and expectations of how things ought to be;
And I was not perfect, not by a hearty stretch, I recall both mistreatment from others but also a secret meanness in myself, cavalier with my mother in ways I would never be now, safe to make fun of her then, taking for granted that unconditional love and acceptance; I could do little wrong, and I know now how fortunate I was;
So easy to find fault with those we know love us without reservation, so facile to treat our beloveds with praise or scorn, parsing out kindness like breadcrumbs for hungry birds, not realizing, until perhaps too late, the nature of our own blunders, products of an overinflated sense of self importance in a world starved for kind words and deeds given simply now from a heart filled with the sublime grace and benevolent perceptions of others.
Nothing is ever a mistake, not even what we toss into the maw of a waiting donation bin, our acquisitions and castoffs equally important to us in their time;
And aren’t we a part of nature, bright flowers blooming their prolific heads off out there in the garden, then shedding copious detritus once they’re done, the difference of course being that their kind of death contributes to life and does not impinge on the health of the planet by piling up in mountains of landfill;
We also gather people to us in this life, some challenge us, others delight often in the same breath, unexpected, sometimes unwanted, and our responding feelings of joy or sorrow enrich this journey into awareness, as deep as we are able to dive in and emerge, again and again;
Mis-take, mis-step imply we have acted in error somehow, and yet without stepping on your toes in the proverbial dance, we might not have met as fully and honestly as we did and as we continue to do, day by day, year after year, and now, some thirty years later, we can laugh about what others thought the boldest move, the grandest mistake of our lives.
Stepping into that ladies parlor made me shiver, reminded me of a rich friend’s house, her mother’s shell pink bedroom with attached bath, gold gilded pink tufted velvet chair she sat on to apply considerable amounts of makeup and tease her platinum bleached blonde hair;
It scared the wits out of me how certain people live, and I, her daughter’s friend, knew secrets she of necessity would have to learn later, the pregnancy, her firstborn running away with a beautiful Mexican boyfriend to marry, something her mother would never endorse in a million lifetimes;
And I thought then and I think now, what is this path of exclusion, the shunning of dear family, friends, people who don’t comply with another’s version of what they ought to be, how things must look in order to be acceptable and to whom I cannot imagine if not themselves, the bitterness rising as gall in the throat or feeding a tumor, black wad of hate and resentment somewhere, now hidden, later to be discovered somewhere in their own precious body;
We are all on this earth to learn unconditional love, and experience schools us, molds us, polishes us like diamonds from the roughest coal if we but accept the tutelage, the sooner the better, in order that we garner something of value to pass along to a world in need of wisdom when our time here is done.
Are we really meant to impose shame, humiliation, mortification upon ourselves and others in this life? Is this really the higher road our spirits wish us to take; in other words, is this the desire in the mind of the creator of stars, of galaxies, of worlds too vast for our knowing?
As I watch leaves unfurl from the book of my own life, I see events in the past flashing by like pages stripped from a journal and tossed out the window of a moving car, tears of frustrated adolescent confusion staining every one;
And I know, over fifty years later, the folly in these perceptions, parents and others tasked with shaping our impending adulthood simply repeating patterns not found in Nature (She who does not shame her children, She who follows the template of a higher calling), not knowing, for how could they? Generations of it, locked in roles meant to be outgrown, just like the clinging chrysalis bursting tight constraints to reveal the extraordinary beauty within;
They gave me life and lessons, and for that, I am grateful; and will assume, now they are gone, that under the anthills of their own vexations, they would have wanted for me, as I dearly desire for my own daughters, to see them walking higher paths, ears leaning always into the voices on the wind, the whispers of the spirit, urging forgive! forget! carry on! Make this world a better place than you found it!
There is a pause, before the rosy light of evening blinks her last, as fragile hummingbirds cease their whirling dance around feeders and the incessant cackle of jays, the waterfall trilling of blackbirds, retreat to the deep arms of the forest as night creatures emerge from hiding to seek sustenance;
Can they comprehend, these young progeny, how invisible luminous threads connect us, one to the other, in the busyness of the everyday, illusions that prop up economies, small dramas of striving toward loves we sustain patiently without question, the push and pull drawing them toward consciousness or away from the light?
Coyotes howl in the distance, owls softly hoot in snags across the road, insects scurry about seeking their own forms of shelter and it is so simple, these rhythms of the cosmos, the silent grinding whirl of planets in orbit, moon and sun taking turn in the daily business of living, the opening and closing of days and lifetimes.
The longing to be loved is profound,
the soul sings life into being,
a journey not yet taken, yet once
in progress, so often reprising
experience already inked and dried,
fading on paper not meant to last;
The manuscript is not complete,
we are all unfinished works
in the making, and repeating
what once was
brooks little space for a new
unmanifest destiny of envisioning
all we may dream into being
by dint of our own acts and visions;
Be wary of casting others into molds
too snug to allow for expansion,
human proclivity of those seeking
sentience whilst ignoring the limiting
tendency to love with condition
merely what is befitting,
rather than embracing
with wholehearted acceptance
the splendor of a liberated co-creation.
I would rather die laughing,
even if I am the butt of the joke;
Life has too many twists and turns
and not enough levity, yet not
for lack of instances that might
provoke hoots of delight;
I remember in college
there was a gal who wanted
to write about serious things,
death, sex, loss, pain, using humor
and I thought it tasteless, seemed
no respect accorded the suffering,
probing issues too sensitive
and personal, and I would likely
feel the same today;
Yet there are always small things
one notices if observant,
the funny way the dog stalks
his companion’s food dish
once he’s cleaned out his own,
she with lips pulled back in a snarl
the way she dreams sometimes,
if he dares to feign interest;
the lowing cows on their way
to the river for a drink, sounding
like a group of drunken college
frat boys after a night of indulging;
the angle of that massive tilted pine
across the street, as if caught
doing something it ought not,
pointing directly down our road;
There is no need to contribute
to another’s angst for a laugh,
the strange way an old man
with a bad hip walks, the overly
made-up woman trying to impress;
surely there is enough humor
in the everyday, my own blunders,
say, and if that’s what it takes
to spark a chuckle of recognition,
let it be me; oh, please,
let it be me.
We are all moving on to the next level, just as he did after coming through walls, us sitting at our kitchen table, pleading eyes confused, conflicted;
Nobody spoke of suicide in that place, yet there he was, and I had to ask another neighbor if she knew what had happened;
I remember passing by a lone figure walking a small white dog, and sometimes I thought it a woman, sometimes a man; ahh, this being was mahu, a two spirited one, yin and yang that might have merged into a lovely ebony and ivory symbol, while instead, his Japanese parents felt only shame, and so freedom was sought by moving to a large east coast city where those of like kind could seek a life free from judgments that bound them in ties far too snug to house the beauty of their souls;
Distressed parents conspired somehow to bring their son back, yet back to what? A life in this tiny town with its own ideas of how firstborn sons should act? Instead in despair, they found their son hanging limp from a rope in the garage, imagine;
When his spirit came to us, it was with a desire to find a way to transition between this world and the next, and so we envisioned a beautiful beanstalk, glistening ivy green with heart-shaped leaves, its sinuous vines a strong rope without obligation of gravity, and it grew and branched out, carrying this dear one into a magical realm where harmony might prevail, higher, further from the suffering of simply living with yearnings his broken family could never comprehend.
The heart is a lonely hunter, soaring high above, taking the long view, eyes ever sharp, focused on the objects of its affection, and yet in flying free, never asks another to suffer bonds; Still, heart without head can be an isolated experience; some of us, you know, have little choice in the matter, we are simply called to another realm beyond logic with which the world seems entranced;
Perhaps this is why I am beguiled by the redtails who hunt here, setting down whatever I am doing to contemplate with rapture as they glide, formidable gaze missing nothing of import to them anyway, landing heavily to stand, thick wings mantling and flexing, muscular thighs poised to run down what they cannot grasp in that free-falling dive, oh!
The patience of these majestic ones as they hover over a prairie dog hole, waiting a seeming eternity for something to emerge as it will, sometimes; I admire them as I do no human being, the wild animal soul suffers no fools as does the heart, where it suits, the mind’s record keeper absent or sleeping, tucked away in an old musty library somewhere, lost in rumination, weighing rights and slights and caring not at all about connections so fragile they might cease to exist altogether.
Go alone, I will join you later, you are free anytime you wish; no strings, save the vows into which you entreated me, all those years ago;
Go as you will, you have earned my trust, my soul safe in your keeping; that, at least, I can count on, even as I abhor restraints myself;
I would not entrap you, yet you stay, always returning like countless waves thundering onto the same beach, each changing the composition of shoreline forever, each renewing the sand, glistening like diamonds as the salty water calls itself back to the swollen body of the sea;
Not everyone is kind. Not everyone has integrity. All is imperfect. And yet you are, we are this, in the purity of our striving.