Mythical Fish

I need to write. My computer crawled through updates before allowing me to begin. Goddamn technology and its plodding fallibility that I should be bound to wait on electrons and connections by a machine. I need to document the mood and inspiration when it besets me. I need immediate release when the chemical landscape in my brain is ready to be transcribed into language. I cannot put thoughts down fast enough on paper with a pen. I need a screen. And a keyboard. I fear now the mood might be lost. But I will try – I know the words are still there. I must breathe and allow the frustration to dissipate so I can transition from exasperation to contemplation.

You see, I watched “The Hours” this morning as I have watched it many times. This film resonates with me in the way a conversation with a kindred soul might. The burden of life, the dear escape of imagination and creation, I live these things too. Not all of the time, not every day – but I have held the black bird of suicide in my tired and thoughtful hands. It was not repugnant. It is only death. It is the final peace. When I am tired to my bones, those onyx feathers glint quietly in the corners of my thoughts.

My week, these past two weeks have been filled with new and exhausting work. What a price! To give up the precious seconds, the hours, the weeks of existence to wrestle with certain technicalities which drain me. So I soak up this Saturday, nestled in bed clothes, absorbed by the dearest thoughts I experience; those unimpeded by worries and concerns of the other beings in the world. I explore my own interior landscape carefully, as a scientist or a philosoph– gently moving, prodding, and observing, taking notes and simply absorbing, tasting. I can never predict what comes from these mindful meanderings. I am never mining for something of predetermined meaning or value. I only know it is the ultimate satisfaction to reflect and write undisturbed by obligations or worry. What comes from this work is less relevant than that the work occurs.

These moments of solitude are necessary and indeed are the nourishment my mind requires for peace, for sanity.

For all my complaints about the necessity of being engaged in other work to earn a living, I recognize the necessity for that as well. Left alone too often I stagnate and stink and rot into dependence and melancholy. Perhaps when I am truly ready to write for months at length, potentially for pay, I will thrive to be entirely left to my own devices all day. Who can know? That time is not now. But it is coming I think. Yes, it is coming.

I sense the arrival of this moment like the changes in the weather announcing an impending season. The form of my story I already know. It is a fish brushing past me, my bare feet and ankles aware in a muddy current. I know of its existence for its fin has scraped my skin and its sides have slid through my ankles, glancing off my medial malleolus, that bony protuberance. This slippery creature’s general shape is familiar. I have seen others. But you see, this fish is MINE. She has never been seen before. Not by anyone. Can you imagine the breathless delight I must feel to glance at the oil spill shimmer of her scales when she surfaces,  exposing her shining spine to the air? Do you know the warmth and comfort of holding something beautiful and yet unuttered within you?

I live for many things, not least these moments in which the world calls me idle, when in fact, I am doing the most necessary and intimate work I can do. How else might one produce a mythical fish?

HS 9.19.2015

blurry-fish
Photo credit:unknown

Insomnia

My head is full of dreams my love

and yet I cannot sleep.

My mind is busy weaving things

my hands have yet to keep.

So weary I’ll tomorrow be,

please patiently withstand

the sleepy eyes and tired sighs,

the short and curt demands.

I spent a wakeful, busy night

a building in dreamland.

H.S. 9.7.2015

Witching Moon

A witching moon is out tonight.

Its contours are blurred by fog.

Its face is smudged with dark clouds

like charcoal finger prints on paper.

 

Suggestive is the moist breath

of the nearby river.

It collects furtively in alleys,

condenses on glass surfaces.

 

Reality has an oily quality.

A boggy scent fills the streets.

 

Wandering home

to the hopeful chirps

of lusty crickets

my body feels powerful,

inhabited by

an irregular presence.

 

The animal in me

purrs in response to

the moon’s provocative full face.

 

Yesssss, hiss all my slinky sinews

connecting aging, thoughtful bones,

not so old they have forgotten their youth,

but old enough to know it’s gone…

 

Yes, tonight we will dance.

HS 9.14.2016

It Seems To Me

If I were a parent

teaching a child

I would always say

“it seems to me”.

 

It seems to me

kindness is important.

It seems to me

you might consider this.

It seems to me

you are sad.

 

It seems to me

all I can offer

are my own imperfect insights.

I am not the owner 

of infallible truth.

I am no authority

on another person’s life.

 

In response

children could decide

what they thought

about their own experience

without the weight of

the law of your words.

That would be good

it seems to me.

HS 9.14.2016

Bound

Darling world of autumn eve
So tired I upon my arm
Rest silently in soft tristesse
to leave this night unplumbed, unwed.

Little town, my second love
Humming on in nonchalance
While I, askance at all to do
wish hours more to do it in.

Husband mine of honeyed eye
Jewel of the human race
Alone you are while I alone
heal my mind in my own space.

Tired so of being tired
Bogged down is this girlish brain
Ready not to gird her loins
yearns instead for loins unleashed.

HS 9.13.20163

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An Evening Conversation With Myself About Nothing in Particular

An Evening Conversation

With Myself

About Nothing in Particular

Forewarning – I will not spellcheck most of this and certainly typos will abound. I don’t care – I just feel like talking/typing to capture the experience of this moment as I live it.

I am writing now for the entertainment of following my own thoughts. I’m not saying my thoughts are always graceful or clever, although sometimes they appear to be to me. I am saying I enjoy thinking just to see where it will lead and to discover what I might feel. God this could be so boring for other people to read now that I’m rereading this. No more rereading. It’s cocking the whole process up.

It is Monday – Labor Day to be exact…so September, and early. I am sitting contentedly in Redbud Forest of The Rosebud Cottage Garden of Cottage Manor. I like to name the different parts of our tiny downtown property. It makes it seem more magical to me.

I am tired but at peace. The air is warm and pleasant. I recently buried my nose into the velvet center of a thickly petalled pink rose.  Its breath was sweet and smelled faintly of peaches at the back. I thought to myself, “how lucky I am to have these hours where nothing at all is required of me but that I do what I like and enjoy how I feel”.

It took me a very long time to create this situation for myself. I believed that I had to earn a certain amount of money or perform certain kinds of tasks to have worth. All my time and mental energy was either absorbed or interrupted by those thoughts. I let go of that. My husband and I have both worked hard to create a life where I am free to have these kinds of days. Too few people of the world have such golden hours and I wish they did. Perhaps we would be more peaceful a species. But I digress. I have no interest in speaking on politics. Too thorny, too spiney. Too pokey and hurty. No, only pleasant thoughts for now.

Beneath the eldest redbud, (who is really only a sapling), I recline in a wicker (plastic) chair we got at Lowes. Just now on the summer side of the autumn cusp, this adolescent tree has the wingspan and the breadth of leaf to provide the very first useable shade. It was this very shade I imagined I would sit under when I planted it. It is satisfying to partake in the success of an idea realized. I wanted this and so I made this happen. This kind of satisfaction is good. Satisfaction is more concentrated when it is immediately experienced. At least it is for me. But this garden has been a long time in becoming so diluting the satisfaction is bitterness. Bitterness that my vision wasn’t realized in one season but many. Lingering is the resentment that I had to work harder and wait longer for what I wanted. Such is life. Still, it is nice to be here, now, out in the open evening air, protected from the hot sun.

The mosquitos are either lazier now or they are less in number. For the whole of August they were as unbearable as the humidity. Together, these things made porch sitting impossible. The only way I could tolerate it was to wrap myself entirely in a blanket, with only my face exposed, so as to protect myself from being constantly irritated and lightly punctured. In this way I could only ever be out at night and even then only briefly. Obviously a human body wrapped in wool is not in its happiest state on a humid summer night. Being human, you would think I could have predicted this. Or maybe used bug spray. But – bug sprays often have cancer causing ingredients and I was honestly just too lazy to find any or purchase or make an alternative mosquito repellent. Instead I sweat. For about five minutes.

Alright, I have moved inside. I was wrong about the mosquitos. They were only hiding and waiting for me to relax so they could practice guerilla warfare. I attempted to spell guerilla as “gorilla” and thankfully spell check saved us both.

Inside, my cottage is very messy. I am in transition in many areas of life and this is always mirrored in my housekeeping. Things are everywhere on the floor because my head is everywhere else. I moved the stacks of mismatched pillows off the window seat to make room for myself.My garden explodes in rose blooms outside the window. Although the sun is obscured by a neighboring house, it remains bright in the garden, the white fences reflecting what light is left. I fold my legs Indian style to balance my laptop. I open the window. I listen.

The insects have begun their courting rituals and chirp and whistle fervently. An air conditioner hums one hundred feet away. It’s rhythmic sounds are comforting. There is a young child next door, his piccolo voice producing staccato notes. His father near him responds; a low tenor hum shaping a language of rolling “ohms”. Their duet is short. I can not understand what they are saying. Their words are sanded of their sharper consonants as they are pushed through the thick air and the cracks in my tall fence.

Stacked behind the whir of the air conditioner and unintelligible conversation are infrequent and erratic crescendos of growling sounds. These are the revving engines of trucks and cars arriving and exiting Madison on 421. What used to be unwelcome noise to the country girl of Michigan is a seductive symphony. I now love these sounds.

It took me seven years to fall in love with Madison. Seven. Doesn’t that seem such a long period of time to not love the place you live? I loved Michigan, my home state – even when the weather turned to shit. It’s the scenery of nostalgia for me. And I don’t love easily things that are unfamiliar.

The pain of resisting my life here was more uncomfortable than the pain of the idea of giving in. And the fear of what giving in might mean for me. I had my reasons for not wanting to accept this life here in this small town so far from my family but I was miserable with depression from resistance. From living in a stagnant reality where I only longed for what was not. Finally I said fuck it. I looked at the place I lived with eyes and mind willing to discover what was beautiful about it. I actually tried to find things I liked. I decided it was okay to make friends with the people and the scenery here. It was obvious I was staying so I started to participate in and accept what was in my present. Worth it. Now, with only my perspective and perception shifted, I adore living here. The same kind of mental restructuring has allowed me to rediscover my husband, and myself. Shit – once you get a bit of a handle on this kind of thinking- once you realize that you have some power over your own mental comfort, the world becomes a much more tolerable place.

I haven’t really much to say, no agenda on which to persuade you. Neither do I wish to inform you of anything in particular… it is just a beautiful night and it’s been a truly good day. I wanted to sit with someone and just talk out loud about whatever came to me in these succulent moments before the moon.

HS 9.5.2016

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This is why.

When I am tired,

overworked,

thoughts packed together like

beans in a jar,

sleep closes its door to me.

I become someone else.

Less patient, less gracious.

My ability to perceive,

to structure my responses

is limited to instinctual

instead of intentional.

This is why

I choose a life of less

in the conventional sense.

Less hours of work.

Less hours of thoughts devoted to outside things.

My darling love.

My handsome monkey man.

My winsome puppy funny guy.

My dapper gentleman.

Your generous hand

allows me to be generous in spirit.

I can offer you a full heart and a ready ear.

While I bathe my mind in unstructured minutes

so grows the contentment

in the garden of my soul.

From those vital flowers comes

the fruit to nourish us both.

I have the strength to

hold your feet,

to maintain our land,

to wash and fold our laundry,

to paint our walls,

to braid words into poems,

to nurture myself,

to love you,

to be whole.

When I see questions

in the raised eyebrows of others

“Why don’t you work as I do?”

My fingers reach for yours

and I press our palms together

feeling the lovely callouses.

Their roughness is precious to me.

I kiss the darling, dark hairs

of your knuckles and smell

the sweetest musk of

your warm, salty skin.

I have the energy

to be present,

to value,

to taste,

to notice,

to love.

This is why.

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Me & My Love (photo credit Tara Williams)

HS 9.13.2016