The act of caring for plants, digging in the dirt, has also become a journey into my past. Pulling a weed here, trimming a dead branch or clipping spent blossoms, I am making a more orderly, accessible garden. And while I am doing all of that, in my head I am weeding and trimming old conversations, events, trying to make sense out of what could have been said or not said, what could have been done differently, what would have fit the place, the occasion, better.
Today the news is full of predictions. The end of natural food sources, the end of water supplies, the grim fact of more global warming than previously predicted, the unsolvable conflicts in the Middle East, the immorality of the corporate world. So my choice is not to focus on any of those particulars but to get right down to the business of offering my experience with cooking artichokes. How mundane. But I think you will see my point as you read along.
Some people slip easily into new ways of being. I am not one of them. It takes me some time to find out where I fit. I am cautious. Those critical voices in my head crank up the volume when I am on the edge of a new thing. Sometimes those voices are so loud that I am frozen, immobilized by fear. Paralysis sets in when whatever I am about to do, to try, to undertake must answer to all of those interior nay-sayers.
I have a friend who tells me, on occasion, I am
What makes you feel young? Kids don't have to worry about this -- they just are young, of course. Young adults don't have to think about it much, either. They are still young. And it seems to me that young adulthood gets longer and longer, and that is a good thing. My granddaughter expects that I will live to be 100, and that would give me another 28 years to the finish line.
A few days ago I had the pleasure of perusing books at Children's Book World, a West Los Angeles bookstore that is filled and overflowing with amazing selections. There was an entire section devoted to women who had made huge break-throughs in science, art, literature and human rights. It was hard to tear myself away, but I had a lunch date and it was time to go.
I am told, by someone who knows her stuff (my granddaughter), that if you put a golf ball where a chicken can find it, the chicken will be motivated to lay an egg. Her first-grade class is raising chickens, so what she tells me must be true. Now that is a new fact for me, and I am very glad to learn it. Should I have a chicken that is not laying any eggs, I will know just how to remedy that. Inspire the chicken with a golf ball!
Bringing out the bears is something I do each year with a little fear, and a great deal of joy.
I can never wait until after Thanksgiving to start the Christmas music. It isn't always appreciated by those who are circling in and out of my living spaces. And it isn't as if I am religious anymore. I am not pushing any particular message except to support goodwill and good cheer -- and a setting aside of any pressing issues that are, in any case, beyond our control. Goodwill and good cheer I am heartily in favor of, and will continue to champion. I won't be solving global warming or war in the middle east just now.
Living for a long time is not easy. Your consciousness has to be challenged, your intellect too. Never mind the physical. Your body doesn't respond as it used to, you are slow. You sometimes get really tired. But because of these things you may be given the opportunity to sort out some things. Reflection is a big important word, and I would like to use it here, but I think sorting is really more about what I am doing these days.
I am beginning to think I have left it too late. The writing life, I mean.
What if you went to Hawaii and fell down some stairs in Kauai and broke a rib just halfway into your trip?
'If we sip the wine, we find dreams coming upon us out of the imminent night' D.H. Lawrence
When Kate returned to the table, she found Cliff deep in thought over his drink. 'Penny,' she said.
Something my kids used to say -- short for "penny for your thoughts.'"
'Ah. I don't think they're even worth a penny, frankly. You okay? You were gone quite awhile.'
'Alas, she who cannot see the bars of her own cage will find it difficult beyond measure to escape.' anonymous
It is in the details, the minutiae, that we discover and begin to understand another's life. So much meaning in such tiny things. Purse dust, I call it.