Odd coincidences.

There are in this life, the strangest coincidences, and I think sometimes that they are not coincidence, rather they are the universe swirling the waters, to get your attention.   There have been a number of these in the last handful of days, that have made me stop in my tracks and say.  Wait.  What is this.  Dreams of shaman, and then a message about shaman in the reflection of the day.  Opening a magazine I might not have ever looked at before, nor ever will again and finding an article about a man I knew long ago.  Standing across the table from a woman whom I had begun to connect with moments before as we stood over a box of mystery tools at a party game discussing weaving tools and antique jar openers, my Mom had one of these.  I know what it is, that looks like a tool for making pleats, I think that is a spinning hook.

Did you used to live on Thurber Street?

Why yes I did.

I thought you looked familiar.

And I you.

Later as we cuddle under a blanket on the couch ( you have to know this friend whose party we were at heats with wood in an old drafty Victorian house and it was very cold in the room we were in, but our comfort with one another was also a factor).  And we have talked back and forth now for several hours, I realize this is too an odd coincidence in these handful of coincidences.

When I moved I thought, I will miss this mulberry tree, her mulberry tree, but I thought, this other friend has a mulberry tree.  And here I am at that friends party and this woman is here.

And now she lives on the same street as the woman with the triplets whom I dreamed of just a couple days ago.

Its all so very strange.

Sometimes it is allegorical.

Sometimes it is utterly real.

As she leaves we hug tightly.

I suspect I will see her again.

Trainwreck

In the morning hours, as I lay in a place of not yet awake, I thought of a friend who had triplets in the midst of the end of the marriage.  I dreamed of three baby boys in a bathtub.  Who knows what this means?

One day, the last day ever I saw her, she told me how much she loved the man who had left me, at that moment I could no longer be friends with her, it was too painful.

Why would I throw aside a friendship, for a woman that I threw a baby shower for, that I knit sweaters for her babies not yet born, though I loved her dearly?

How can you love a man who would park his car, with his family inside, on train tracks, take out the keys, get out of the car, lock it and leave his family to be crushed by the oncoming train?  We had no time to get out, no warning.  He walked away unharmed.   Saying some time later, I am happy now.  Of course you are happy, you walked away without the body cast, the internal injuries, there was no recovery for you, you moved on immediately, hopped into another woman’s car and drove off, leaving us to die on the rails.

I have this other friend, we have grown apart, she was another friend who came with the failed marriage.  I feel badly to think we have grown apart, but she has not really initiated any contact with me in ages, and she is cold when I try to.  I think of her as the sun rises in my mind, she was one who said, while we lay shattered on the tracks, get up and walk already, the crash is over.  It is hard to love people like this, isn’t it?

And I know.  Now I have been walking for a while, and the external injuries have healed, and the internal injuries have healed, but scars still remain, the broken pieces of our shattered lives have been glued back together and life goes on for us.  As it always has, as it always will.  But still it is on my mind, even in my unconscious mind, even when I wish it would disappear forever.  Just like he did.  His callous disregard for the people who loved him for 11 years is not deserving of my regard for him still after 4 1/4 years of his absence; and yet, and yet, my mind goes back to those moments just before we came to the tracks, when he said he loved me, when he said everything he did he did for his girls, when I believed, how could I have been so stupid?

How could I have been so unaware?

How can I not have moved on all the way yet?  What is wrong with me?  Why can I not just stop?  It’s as though somehow I am tethered to the wreckage.  As though I died and my ghost, unresolved cannot fly up to heaven.   As though I lived but a vital piece of me was left there on the tracks.  Its as though I lived, but a huge piece of the train is forever embedded in my rib cage.

The weight of it is exhausting.

But I cannot put it down, no matter how hard I try.

Someone, please tell me, what must I do to be rid of this?

rustII

 

 

The Lone Tree

my own blood

my beloved

my heart beats loud in my chest,

i know it is because my heart,

it is not so good,

too soft, too big, too fragile

I find beauty in these things

the solemn melancholy

the smallness of me

against the bigness of the world

i revel in each of my broken branches

the storms that have passed over me

leaving me in pieces

i curl in upon myself

a moth not yet emerged

from its brown leaf cocoon

i do not want to leave this place

it is safe here.

i am a stone foundation

still holding back the earth

while a tree grows inside me.

i once dreamed that my hearth fires burned bright

that my tending kept it strong.

now i cannot find the matches

and the wet wood will not burn

these cold fingers are a revelation

i weep against the morning sun

leave me to my darkness

leave me to my cold bed

leave me to wonder if spring will ever come

i wrap myself in furs

and step naked into the snow

my breath like a dragon

it wraps around my ankles like a Scottish mist

the wind takes my hair

and i toss my head like a wild horse

only there is my shadow,

and i sidestep afraid

i turn to find comfort in affection

and only my own arms wrap around me

i stumble lost in the woods

and fall before her feet

abandoned.

my heart

it is not so good

it is fragile

soft

i stand in this place

and my breath it is like the reaches of space

i cannot find the air to breathe

as i see how beautiful

this whole world is.

and how unbearably

ugly

man

has made it.

.oldmaple

In the Light of You

As I was preparing to leave, the dog and I walked down the hill to the road.  The creek runs under a bridge, the one where I caught two bullhead last summer. Along the road were deer tracks, large and small, and giant dinosaur like turkey tracks.  I rounded a corner and between the trees was the most beautiful blue of a mountain I have ever seen.  A color unlike any I have ever painted, or dreamed of.  My breath is caught as I take in this royal color.
Image

 

I walk on lost in my thoughts.  Stuck on this notion that here in the country, this is civilization, this is sanity, this is normalcy.  But on the long hill down back to the city, I am stuck with this notion that it is not something I would want to do alone.  There is too much work in running a home, particularly up here where there is wood to be chopped and the same work to be done.  I am annoyed with this man when I walk in the door, he never seems to say the right thing, he never seems to be quite what I want.  And yet.  And yet.  I look out the window and see him cutting up a dead tree at the top of his land.  I put on my boots and a warm coat and walk up to him.  Do you want some help?  Do you want to help? If you stay here and work alongside me, yes.  Ok, you can help.  We work until it is too dark, burning the junk mail in a barrel, and having a beer in the crisp dark evening.  

Image

Image

I think on this, all week.  This problem that I have.  The one that doesn’t allow me to love all the way.  This one that seeks to condemn and destroy when all I want is to loved, and cared for.  More than once in this week he asks to go up the hill to our tree, to finish its decorating.  More than once I say no, I don’t want to.   And I don’t.  Why can’t you drive?  It’s too dark.  It’s too cold.  

On Friday, we are talking as we walk up the long hill.  What makes a person want to take a gun and shoot a bunch of little kids?  Do you just wake up one morning, look at a gun and say ah ha?  And is it guns?  No it is mental illness, it is the increasing violence in our media and culture, it is the numbing of people to violence through the increasing graphic quality of video games, it is a split from the heart, a split from love, a split from connection, it is all of this, it is none of this.  On the hill he says something, one of his stupid jokes, that I become so angry at, I stand turned away from him, from the top of the hill, I turn to call my dog, who has abandoned me and I am forced to finish the long hard push up the hill, in the dusk a giant doe and I catch site of each other and I stop and she stops and then runs.  I go to the tree, and he hugs me, I am sorry.  I am sick of it, I say, I don’t want to do this anymore.  I don’t want you to say things like that to me.  I know he says.  I know.  I am sorry, and I hear you.  Although what he said was maybe more than a little bit true.  He reaches in and takes out the bag of decorations, which is the wrong bag, and it is the one full of art supplies.  I start to laugh, I am an idiot, I say.  He just puts his arms around me and kisses my cheek.

In the morning in the market, I pass a small, elderly Nepali man.  I look into his eyes and I smile and his eyes sparkle, and he smiles and between us our grins get bigger.  As we exit the door, I am laughing.  What he says.  That man, I say, the light inside of him was just shining out of his eyes, his soul was full of light and I saw the great sparkle in his eyes and we both grinned so big.  

You are an idiot he says.  

I know I say, but can you imagine, if we were all like that no one would want to kill little children.  

Fucking Aye right, he says.  Fucking Aye right.

We walk up the hill to the tree again.  The day is cold but bright and clear.  He goes on a bushwhack, and I dressed in a wool skirt and long underwear remain on trail.  The dog cries for him.  And we call back and forth on our phones until we reunite.  I have dropped my mittens on the trail and we back track to find them.  

Today, as I washed the dishes, I decided to wash the stein where we keep the cooking utensils.  I finally looked at it.  It has a woman on one side and a man on the other, she clutches a book, he a rifle.  In the middle the two are together clearly in love.  I turn it over in the washing and the rinsing, and I see his initials and a date on the bottom.  

Image

Huh.  You mean Mr. Prickly Pear Cactus is a romantic?

I suddenly see him differently.  

But I guess I knew this all along.  If I hadn’t known it, I would have let him go.  

But for me.  I have a wall to breach.  
It is my own.

Don’t we all build walls to protect us from hurt?

Day in the ADK’s

The day is foggy and drizzly but after we run some errands in town we set out for a walk.  I have written before about the difficulty of the way up the hill to the barn at the end of the gravel and sand road.  The beavers have built a house and a considerable dam which the town has come in and dug out to keep it from flooding the road.  Large trees are half chewed, and we laugh about how her father would love to be here with us just now, to speak of the beavers and all the effort to prevent them.  I smile with the memory, realizing my daughter was still breastfeeding when I was given the Lake George Beaver Tour.  A little further on I exclaim, I smell pickles!  Why do I smell pickles? And she tells me, beavers smell like pickles.

The mist has shrouded the mountains behind the barn.  I could walk here every day for a year and take a picture of this barn, just for the sake of it.  We see bear prints in the sand on the curve upwards towards it.  The long claws and the pads pressed in.  Her dog injured from an encounter in which she chased the bear away from her children.  I pat her, and fuss over her, calling her fierce bear chaser, and tell her she is a good dog for protecting her family.  Later she lifts her paws and asks for more love, I give it freely.

The long down hill is easy, I am sweaty and have unzipped and removed coverings the whole way up, and do not put them back on again as we head down.  At the bottom we both switch into our suits and climb into the hot tub.  My skin and body are cold and the warm water makes me realize just how.

It is this kind of ordinary that makes me happy and content.

foggy barn2 foggybarn

Dry Year in the Adirondacks

Hinckley Resevoir

hinkleytwo hinkleythree hinkleysix hinkleyone hinkleyfour hinkleyfive

These images were taken on my way home this morning from points north of Speculator.  They were taken along the edge of Route 365 as I headed south.  This is Hinckley Resevoir.  In years past this has been a very full and active reservoir.  I was absolutely astonished on my way up because it is really low to my eye.  There was essentially no snow pack last year, and it seemed like the foliage was so dry on my drive and my walk up the road where my friend lives.  It poured all the way up, but even where she lives there was not yet one tiny patch of snow anywhere and remained above freezing the whole time I was there.  She said she has a friend who is a forest ranger who was quite worried all summer, frankly I was thankfully surprised there was not one single fire this whole summer.  I am really concerned about how tremendously dry this is.  This reservoir feds the city of Utica, as do a couple of other very dry lakes I visited in a region northwest of here in North Lake and South Lake.

NorthLake

North Lake in August

NorthLaketwo

North Lake in August

 

Aside

I watch the rain fall on the white birches and the pine trees, ragged and barely clothed.  I wonder if they are dressed so poorly for the endless cars, the rapid reduction of oxygen, or the lack of water.  The reservoir is so dry its edges are mud, and its tumbling brooks are a ragged scar in a dry bed.  I slow down, as the thermometer reads 43, 41, 39, 36, 34.  I do not want to pass the salt truck, which like the deer are smaller up here.  I stopped for bagels on my way to work, and the car smells like fresh baked bread.  Do you want anything from civilization?  I ask, snickering, because I know full well where she is is civilization and where I live has gone beyond civilization into sheer madness.  My phone rings, yes, I shout, thinking the speaker is a dullard, because it never understands me.  Hi Honey, Drive safely okay?  Thank you.  I just wanted to tell you I love you!  I love you too.  I say in a goofy voice.  Get a deer for Godsake this is your last chance this season.  

I write warm by the fire, tea in hand.  

Someday, I will live here, and make art here.  For days.  

And yet so small

I wake after a fitful rest
I find my body naked in a vast expanse of desert
I am thirsty
It is night.  I lay on my back the sand

I gaze up at the stars
and I fall asleep again
I wake floating somewhere out beyond our solar system
far beyond.
I am nowhere
I am everywhere

I float and drift into sleep again.

I wake and find myself a stirrup bone
in  a pile of bones
I vibrate against
all the bones of all humanity

I sleep, I wake

I am a spider suspended from the ceiling of  the palace ballroom
I am an ant in the rain forest
I am a mote of dust on a ray of light
I am a duck in the desert
I am a moose in the city
I am an octopus in outerspace
I am a mosquito at the bottom of the ocean

Yesterday I was a giant.
I couldn’t find a cage big enough to hold me.

I read today that mystics feel small.

I was already infinitesimal as the words came to my eyes.

But I am an ignorant savage.

I wake on my expensive mattress.
Truly worth its weight
Insomniacs deserve such a bed.
I feel the dog twitching in his dream
Breathing heavily as his legs muscles make larger twitches

A tear falls down my nose
as I realize
I am a sliver of glass in amongst all the broken hearts of all humanity.

I reflect on how, I am never jealous of this man.
How I encourage him to go out with his friends,
How I don’t give a rat’s ass how he spends his money,
How he never has to be told to do the work.
Or pay his bills.
I never question where he says he is.
I do not ask when he comes home late.
I don’t care who he is talking to on the phone.

Who was the one who was crazy?
CooCoo finger spiraling around my ear.
Who was the one who was “co-dependent”?
Why was it ME when I only ever had these problems with him?

I was blindsided I tell her.

I never saw it coming.

I was too busy

Pretending everything was alright.

And covering my own insanity.

I hate myself for still carrying this burden.
I ask myself, what would it feel like to go a day without thinking of him, or her.
I wish they would disappear so I don’t have to ever think of either of them again
I wish they would hurt, so I won’t anymore.
I learn to embrace this hateful me, this ugly me, this dumpy me, this frumpy me, this cactus of pain that stabs me, this tapeworm inside of me with its gnawing and infernal hunger.

I have so much more now than I ever had then
SO WHAT IS IT THAT I CANNOT LET GO OF?

They say that we are more like an etching than an intaglio.
We are not what is scarred onto our surface, burned and blackened,
We are what is left when everything else is worn away.

I fall asleep.

I wake up.

I am naked now.

But I am not shivering.

In a Cage

IN A CAGE

The bull mastiff
hang dog
crouched in
a pug’s kennel
a lovely hand embroidered quilt
draped carefully
over top
a warming pad
scrunched up
underneath.

an over stuffed heart
its maroon
soft tissue
oozes out between the ribs
each pulsing torturous beat
in its trembling and swollen and pinched vessel
like red jello dumped into a clenching fist

like

an eagle in a parakeet cage
its brilliant precise piercing eye
searching  a terry cloth towel
draped carefully
to keep out the light.

A woman
paces the same paths
day after day
like a kit fox
in artificial night
as small children scream
and bang on the glass
her giant ears quivering
Barefoot
she steps toes deep in a fresh pile of shit.

Meanwhile in her mind which is wrapped in swaddling cloth, a crown of daisies, tinkling bells and doves fly in circles around her
finds herself filled with a hateful violence, the cloth is burlap, the crown is thorny, a piercing animal scream, and horseflies madden.

You see, all these things are the same.

Caged birds do not always sing.

Wishing this would leave her
Wishing she could embrace it
Too tight to fit through the gate
in this cage which can no longer contain her.

The only thing left is to wait for the key
or to smash the cage.