Happy Fall

There is a fourth body in the house, with its own nocturnal habits, which leads me to question, at 4 am, the decision to select latch handles instead of boring door knobs all those years ago.

Twenty minutes later, in the dark, I spoke aloud:

“The basil. Did you cover it?”

We had been covering the basil, just in case, every night, this entire month, ever since nightfall began forcing sweatshirts after dinner at the pond.

Just yesterday, I ripped a few pieces for my lunch, thinking how tender the leaves were and how I must get to making more pesto before the frost.

Instead, I went to the pond, and swam nude toward the sparkling sun, and afterward spread my tarot cards on a blanket for an Equinox draw.

The month had been so unusually pleasant that I’d missed my annual nude swim to the dock because the heat had populated the pond even after the children went back to school.

Now the dock is beached so it’s not the same as lying naked in the middle of a mountain range in the middle of the water in the middle of your life, and besides the pond is populated today too.

I did take a moment in the heat, bare breasted, beside the water, before wrapping my wet body in a towel, on this first afternoon of Autumn.

But it’s not just the basil and the summer. My youngest got his drivers permit yesterday. In fact, he showed up at the pond and put it in my face.

At 5 am, I consider that 15 is the Autumn of youth.

Just the other day, I was forced to go down into the cellar, in search of hanging files, where I found, discarded, on what had once been a train table, the remnants of his childhood.

FUCK PINK

pinkandblue_feetBLUE was my favorite color as a girl. I had a blue coat, a blue 10-speed, and a blue aluminum bat. I’m not sure if I really loved blue or if blue was a statement–AGAINST the color–to which I had been culturally assigned.

When I was 14, we moved once again, and not only was my blue bike stolen, but I was given a room of my own. My very first. (Quite a coup in a family of girls.)

The room was PINK.  Not just the walls, and the ceiling, but the floor–a deep shag dipped in every shade of IT.

Each time I stepped inside, it was like drenching myself in a bottle of Pepto Bismol. Even in the dark, and under the covers, I could feel PINK on my skin–sticky and sickly sweet.

We didn’t live in that house for too many years, and I soon had another room of my own which wasn’t pink at all. But in my senior year of high school, when my mother sent me out to pick the Easter dresses (because I always complained about her choices), I surprised us both by returning with matching ones: with tiny pink blossoms.

Later that spring, my prom dress, which had been a deep shade of slinky turquoise the year before, was a soft, airy pink, sewn at home.

In the years to follow, shades of pink continued to slip into my life: a favorite sweatshirt at college that I wore unzipped to my cleavage, a wool scarf bought on the streets of London, a journal with thick pages picked up at a bookstall in France.

By my twenties, ashes of roses was my signature color; and I began to yearn for motherhood.

Early on, my mother warned that I would only be the mother of sons: “You don’t have the patience for girl-like things.”

Intuitives affirmed that my first child was the girl that I wanted, but they were wrong. The second time around, EVERYONE told me that I was carrying a girl, and even when the color blue started streaming through my soul–into my clothes and jewelry–I was certain. But she was a boy too.

When I go to the dentist, I accept the pink toothbrush from our hygienist, instead of the green or purple or blue one, which I would prefer, so that we can easily tell them apart at home.

I’ve had a pink toothbrush now, off and on, for almost 20 years, even when my favorite color returned to blue, and then to purple, and then to soft shades of green.

Just this past week, I decided to invest in another dental care item called a “tongue scraper.” I browsed the aisles of the grocery store until I came upon them, and was relieved to find that these crude looking aluminum objects were softened by colored rubber handles. There were 4 colors available.

Suddenly, I was furious at PINK.

Why me, I thought. Why should I have to have the pink one.

“Mom always takes one for the team,” I recall a waitress saying when I succumbed to sitting at the counter instead of waiting for a table which I preferred.

Suddenly, it occurred to me, at the ripe age of 51, that there was no reason why I should be the one to defer to pink.

I thought back to my nephew, who I spent so much time with before I had children. I took him shopping once and he asked for pink curtains and a potted flower for his new room.

His mom got him a plant and blue shades.

I thought about the baby doll that Santa brought my son at his second Christmas, at how his grandmother bristled when she saw him carrying it around: “Can’t he develop his nurturing skills in some other way.”

There is a green, a blue, a purple, and a pink tongue scraper, and this time around, someone else is taking one for the team.

FUCK PINK.
(except for that new cardigan in my closet)

ps. this video clip arrived in my message box just as I was finishing this post:

 

nauseous with vision

Hopper
Hopper

i see shimmering wood floors

i hear music playing

i move across the room

a bright silk scarf brushes against my skin

I dance alone

in my center

a center for learning and consciousness and connection

i feel spacious inside
at ease
offering all that i have to those who come through the door

they soften upon entering

sink into self-compassion,
self-knowing
self-celebration

returning home to strengthen their relationships

to nurture wholeness and integration and acceptance

to release their gifts into the world

this place is my home
my work
my family
my everything

but where–in the world–is it?

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ps. I think it’s some place a bit warmer than Vermont, but with the same good water, good people, good politics and community.

Ripening still

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,  )

My youngest brother & sister, 1994
My youngest brother & sister, 1994 at the farmhouse we rented when we first moved to Vermont

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 sit.

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.

~
(more on stillness: The Still Ones)