22 December 2008

Saturn return

This is the time of year when my brain goes all retrospective, and I start to think about what has gone before, and the question always presents itself: "How exactly did I arrive here at this moment in time, in this particular incarnation that I very much wasn't last year?"



Just a year ago, the son had complex knee reconstruction surgery, and now is back to playing basketball at school. There are times when nothing is harder than being a mother.

Slightly less than a year ago, I bought tickets to Puerto Rico, and here I am, eight months out from that adventure. There are times when nothing is harder than being myself.

Endings and beginnings.

In the last year, I've learned the power of my own words. Oh, I know that I'm quite good with words, and when I write Very Important Things that then must go and be read by the intended audience, I'm fine. Care with language, with words, has always been a responsibility in my work: facts must be correct, meaning must be precise, logic has to be impeccable. But even here, in a more casual setting, I feel an intense responsibility to take care with my words, to be conscientious and scrupulous, to be very certain that I mean what I say, that I mean what I do.

From D. (which made me laugh, but oh, how true), after she read last night's entry: "You are SUCH a Gemini. You run away as much as you run straightaway into the fray."

And here I stand, right in the very middle of the fray, with the knowledge that at some point, my writing experiment took on a life of its own. At some point, rather than just fiddling with point of view, rather than just forcing myself to write with the internal editor off--sometimes with the external editor off!-- at some point, rather than just writing as an exercise, I began to talk to you.

"Who is the 'you' you're talking to?" the son asked me so long ago.

Simply, it is you.

And you.

You, too.

Most definitely you.

And yes, sometimes I am talking to myself.

You are everyone and no one. You are universal. You are the world.

It's true that sometimes, I am talking to someone in particular. Sometimes when I can't get the words right, I think, ok, if I were sitting on a bench by the beach and you were there, how would I tell this story? When I consider those conversations, sometimes the other person is one of my friends, perhaps a family member, sometimes someone I don't know. For reasons I can't exactly fathom, people in the real world do just talk to me, suddenly strike up conversations in the frozen food aisle or when I am walking down the street, in a queue at a bookstore, and these impromptu exchanges can be hilarious, instructive, and sometimes, touching.

So if I can talk to them, certainly, I can talk to you.

How do I get through to you? By deciding I want to get through to you. By deciding I'll take the chance on you. Because you intrigue me.

I get through to you by choosing love over fear.

I would give you anything. I would give you food to eat and clothes to wear. I would give you a shoulder for support and advice if you asked for it. Most are content with that; it is sufficient and meets their needs.

But you. You wanted my heart. You wanted what I wouldn't give to anyone: myself.

Just for a moment, I gave you what you wanted. I pushed the button and let it go.

You looked again.

I talked about the weather.

I transcribed a recipe.

I sought same. I knew what I'd said, wondered why I'd said it. It was a little easier to be lazy, easier not to make decisions.

One of these things is not like the others. One of these things just isn't the same.

I do not-the-same much better.

I don't remember how long ago I discovered that I could climb on the roof of the house in which I grew up. Station wagon bumper to station wagon roof to top of carport. I crept across the flat wooden carport roof to a ledge where the carport met the roof of the house. I would lie flat on that ledge and watch the sky revolve over my head, night after night. Orion and Cassiopeia shifting, the drift of the Leonids, the Geminids, the Perseids, raining over me, black night alive with falling fire. And I would dream.

Sometimes that enormous velvet darkness seemed limitless, and my body would thrill to the sense that I could do anything, that everything was possible, that I only needed to choose the path. Other times, that black void was overwhelming and I felt so small and inconsequential and powerless. Helpless.

I stood on a mountain a few weeks back, and I watched a star shoot through the sky. Possibility rested in my hands.

I don't believe in fate; I believe that we make our own luck and that magic can live within us. I don't believe in coincidence; I believe that everything happens for a reason, but that we choose the meaning. We choose the door we walk through.

I believe there is a chance that we can touch the sky. I don't believe in the future, but I believe in the moment that I first saw you--on a muddy road, on a distant mountain, in a place where we were both strangers, in words on a page. You sat across the aisle. You chose the desk next to mine. I met you years ago. I met you last week.

You. You wanted my heart.

And that is how I arrived at this moment in time, in this particular incarnation.

For a moment, I forgot fear.

Go listen to some good music: "Saturn Return" from the album Reveal by REM. The joy of having everyone off for the holidays is that it takes me two days to write a post that, if I'm lucky, is marginally coherent!

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