For years, the women whittle away perfectly productive days in parks and cafes and street corners with little ones at their knees Grasping for food or love or the toy that has fallen While they attempt to finish/speak/have a complete thought
And now they are all gone…
Replaced by aged men Who fritter away entire mornings Engaged in the ritual of companionship and conversation
While their female counterparts similarly aged, Practice yoga or Pilates or run a campaign or build a community center
Each balancing what was lost in the heat of living
the ten thousand things a divination of attention ~ all burdens made light by the sea ~ she captured attention not with her beauty which was great but with her presence which was full of grace ~ dutch travelers ask how it is that their flag hangs in front of every shop in the USA with one word: OPEN
I want to tug only on those things that are truly ripe. I want to let everything else take its sweet time. (Virgo New Moon, Wise Harvest, Dana Gerhardt)
As an adult, I’ve never been an author of fiction, and yet I remember delighting in it on Thursday mornings in the 4th grade where each of us got to put her hand into a packet of prompts: one for characters, one for setting, and one for plot–and then get to imagining!
I loved the surprise of it. Not knowing what strips I would get. Not knowing what story would unfold.
It’s the same with the writing I do now; even though I harvest the strips from my own life: this quote about the Virgo New Moon at the top of the page for instance, and this vision that has been rippling in my mind’s eye of my mother on the front steps of my first house in Vermont, 20 years ago.
I’m not sure how or if they go together or what may come of either, but they beckon and I follow…
My mother disliked Virgos. My father was one. She cautioned me about my choice in a husband, scolding me that it was only a matter of time before his easy nature revealed a truer self–one with a critical need for perfection.
She was right and she was wrong. (My father and husband must have different risings.)
My mother loved astrology. The tarot. The runes. Transcendental texts. All things beyond.
Me too. Only I came to it slower, and then sprinted–when my mother was taken from me too soon.
In the years before her death, before we knew she would be dying, I left my hometown by the sea for a little house in the Green Mountains of Vermont. Though my mother was 50 at the time, she still had little ones at home–my youngest brother and sister, twenty years my junior–and I brought them up to enjoy a week in the country while my mother enjoyed a rare week to herself.
When my mother arrived to fetch them the following weekend, they were covered in bug bites and bruises and they had so much to tell her. That next morning, while the children were still sleeping, I was surprised to see mother out on the steps that led up from the field to our front lawn.
She sat there on the stones in the warming sun of a cool, summer morning, with a steaming mug in her hand, embraced by the mountains.
I was struck by the depth of her presence. Of her stillness. Of the stark contrast to her lifetime of doing. And I paused in my busyness in witness of her.
It’s where I find myself now. At the same age. In the same season. The sleeping children–my own. The house–the one my husband later built–the home my mother never met. And the stone steps? Brand new.
For ten years, I’ve had to leap out the French doors to place myself on the front lawn.
But with the ripening of August and age, I am invited to step down.
To be still.
To receive the embrace of mountains.
And the warmth of the early morning sun on stone.
With the added delight of an unexpected communion, across time.