I sat at my front-porch-desk, writing, wanting to review my lines for “You Can’t Take It With You” – my show which opens this weekend. I felt horrible about my work at rehearsal last night so naturally my desire was coated with “sheesh, will I ever get this right?” plus Constance the Cat had placed her feline bottom squarely on my script and made rather treacherous noises when I attempted to remove her from the page.
I held my face in my hands, feeling the blandness in my skin, the quiet of my ears as they listened for something, anything. I had read a poem earlier in the morning from Sara Teasdale and was listening for the messages it was sending me.
The poem I read is “My Heart is Heavy” and today’s focus was this stanza: My heart is heavy with many a song Like ripe fruit bearing down the tree, But I can never give you one— My songs do not belong to me. A round jay landed on a low branch of the pine tree in front of Constance the Cat’s striped face.
He stood there, looking about with his back feathers to our faces. I couldn’t tell if he knew we were there or not. “So close,” I thought, “I could reach out and touch him if he would let me touch him.”
I could feel Constance thinking the same thing. We breathed together and watched. We watched and breathed. Sam stood, waiting for the bus, unaware of our unscheduled meeting with the jay.
He who would never let me touch him.
He who would always have the least pretty – to me – birdsong in my front yard chorus.
He who looked so robust and bawdy, a peacock of a jay.
He who lived in my yard, resided in the same place as I, who wasn’t “mine”, who wasn’t able to be possessed by either me or Constance, as much as I would like to feel his feathers and Constance would like to taste his ripe-bird-sweetness, we needed to content ourselves with this forever moment in eternity.
Just like he had appeared so suddenly, the Jay leaped off the branch and flew away. My mind went back to Sara Teasdale’s words: My heart is heavy with many a song Like ripe fruit bearing down the tree, But I can never give you one— My songs do not belong to me. I had thought I would conclude these thoughts with something like, “I was reminded how the Jay does not belong to me, just like my songs do not belong to me” but then I realized something significant and completely opposed to that thought.
The Jay might not be able to be touched by me with my fingers, but in these brief moments both at my outdoor desk and here, with you, on your screen and on my screen, the Jay is very touched by me and in fact, belongs to both of us.
I am, in fact, giving the Jay to you.
What we possessed, together, was that “Eternity moment” – that is what I am sharing with you, here – in fact, recreating it, here.
My heart is the bearer of that moment, pulsing into eternity with my words.
Remember the first line?
My heart is heavy with many a song.
Songs of eternity moments – held, experienced, treasured – and shared – because they belong to each of us. All of us.
It belongs to You, me, Constance, the Jay, your neighbors, your boss, that person you haven’t met yet that is going to have a significant impact on your life – our heart, together, passes out these moments, strung like necklaces and sometimes---far to often, actually--- remain invisible, as if the fruit on the branches, heavy laden with something we can’t quite make out, we can’t quite touch, until we breathe into the eternity moment at hand and simply stay present, alert, focused, watching it in all its vivid color, its rich texture, its pungent earthiness.
I can always choose to give you one.
You can always choose to give me one.
To give him one. To give her one. To take one and give it to yourself.
I like this expresison on my face, the one I caught in one of my random self portrait moments, but I don't know what I was thinking about... and yet, I wonder.
I am sitting here at my desk on Tuesday morning after Memorial Day. My children only have a couple more days left of school and I am excited/nervous about what the Summer holds... since I have very little planned except nothingness... which for me is actually something.
(Interesting how that works.)
I am downloading the latest issue of Windows Media Player in hopes of listening to Radio Swiss Classic. My newish computer still isn't configured exactly how I like so frustrations come... and don't do much going... yet.
My self-talk station is set to "I can't believe how many times I screwed up my lines last night. I am so humiliated that I sucked so badly."
So I review, I write, and I pray - and I know tonight will be better.
Last night I sat in the darkened theatre, living through yet another Elementary School performance. I was there because of Emma.
I also had a rehearsal, which I had to come to late, because of my commitment to my little girl - my heartstrings get tugged for a variety of reasons.
One, because of my story of giving up theatre at age 11 because of my Mom's absence in a very important show I was in AND the fact that I missed Emma's evening portrayal of "Dorothy" in "The Wizard of Oz" and this upset her soooo much, that I chose my theatre work over HER theatre work.
It didn't matter that I saw her show during the day, I let her down by not showing up for her evening of glory.
Made me sadder than I ever let her know.
After Emma performed, I slid out the back and came face to face with my gorgeous little girl. (In the photo, she is the one with the red shirt on, plaid pants, baseball glove, ""looking up for the fly ball"....)
"You stayed!" she said, her smile spreading across her face and across the room.
"Ofcourse I did, honey!" again, not showing how much her words sliced into my heart.
Why would she know?
She thought I showed up early to take photos and would then leave. She thought I would make my stuff more significant again than her stuff.
I try so hard to insure my kids know of their importance and significance in my life and sometimes I feel I fail so miserably.
The other day I walked up the pathway to my front door and looked over at Marlena's Rose bush. I planted this rose bush on the year anniversary of her birth/death, which makes this plant 17 years old now.
Somehow some other sort-of-like-a-rose-plant has gotten tangled up in Marlena's rose and a part of me thought I should just dig them both up.
That is until yesterday, a few minutes before I took this photo.
Several roses had bloomed in between my thought of "dig up" and the "wait, look, learn" that happened yesterday.
I bent down to smell the flowers. I inhaled, deeply. I noted the tangled interloper and realized this phenomenon was a metaphor to me to learn from, not to destroy because it was too painful to see.
How often do we look at things and immediately leap to "too much trouble" or "too difficult" or "not exactly as I want" rather than waiting, opening and connecting.
Interesting, isn't it, that my would-be-eighteen-years-old-if-she-had-lived daughter teaches me so many lessons, still.
I see your feet I wonder how cold The water feels against the Top of your biggest toe Your shorts, wait, hovering (hoping?) you will make a Startled lunge so they will Dip, just so, into the Glint of the golden water
# # #
I can see why Golden Trout live here They can hide, stay safe, Burrow under the gentle giants, The granite boulder-rocks
And when ready, just when ready Come out to play with The gentle giant of the man Who soothes his soul Looking, hoping, yearning For just a moment with you.
I discovered today how angry I still am at the Educational Bureaucracy that was involved in Sam's life last Spring and in the earlier part of this school year.
I went to see Kate, the tremendous therapist, who gave me an assignment to process-through-writing... and then, I happened to bump into the School Psychologist who failed Sam and then the Principal who failed Sam and I could not believe the energy that flowed through me at just seeing them.
Very, very, very angry. Not weepy, not sad - but very, very, very angry.
I am glad I am conscious to it.
And I can see why bad stuff happens to folks who mess with children.....