Wind Chimes in Winter | 2014

Gifts in the New Year

Gifts in the New Year

In the spring time I will plant wind chimes. Dancers in the wind. In the Goblin King’s labyrinth on my back porch. They will swing and sway and bring fantasy and warmth to the sound of the ages. They will be small and large and made of turtles and stained glass. They will be dreams I had in memory, latching on to things that would solve so many pieces of last year’s puzzle: the regrets I left on the lake in the Adirondacks, so much I don’t ask for.

In 2014, January began with a vortex, it swallowed the whole year whole. Those first few dark days reading Fortunes of Feminismafraid to step outside. What great science fiction is this? What bubble of a world in which it would physically hurt to step into air? What force field I found myself in?

On day two, I was lonely. There was no one in the company of my home but the mice my landlord swears do not exist and the imaginary cat he tells me would be lazy, had I one. The guidance of so many others redirecting the guidance of myself.

By February, my mother. The days between then and March, darker and darker as the light grows longer, and I thought: I wish you would stop dying every year.

How I sent a love letter in the mail that month anyway.

By Mother’s Day I hated Hallmark, the sickening warm wishes of every person in the whole world who could buy a badly written holiday card to send to their mother, their grandmother. A pink and rose colored catastrophe in a CVS in downtown Evanston when all I wanted to was to buy my co-worker a birthday card. That storm blew me out onto the street, naked and raw in the May afternoon sun, though spring, still felt like winter. The trees not on the leaves. No one more grateful or blessed in the blinding grief of a daydream.

I worked to kill this daydream. I attended a 6-week grief support group that, by my birthday, brought daring back into my heart. By mid-August I met a new friend whose birthday shares my mother’s. How much hope and weight is placed on mechanics and new news. How much logic and magic and faith where the heart is always seeking. How even this sparkle, this warmth, can have seraded edges. How feminism is what I still fall back to:

“Do not be jealous of your sister. Know that diamonds and roses are as uncomfortable when they tumble from one’s lips as toads and frogs; colder, too, and sharper, and they cut.” —Instructions by Neil Gaiman

How, by October, I killed the need for a person in my life whose actions imposed it better I not be romantically in his. How this relationship broke my heart.

How the ghost of my sister’s kitten protected her dog during the month of hallows. How taking the back seat is something I am blessed and never good at doing.

How, by November, metaphors on first dates at Hungry Brains began to look like favorite childhood animals and favorite colors and dogs that are the same color and how all of this means everything and how delusion is so beautiful and how foxes on soxes brighten brown eyes in the morning and how crazy hearts leap out of bicycle bags and thereright thereis where beauty remains. How this looked a little bit like love.

How by December my friend Medicine Bear was teaching me how to use a sewing machine. How I have been terrified of them all of my life, a spool of purple thread tattooed on my back.

How in 2014 my friend eric said yes across the table at the Pick-Me-Up Diner when I asked a big question and how much weight lifted from my heart.

How sometimes you’ll put up a good fight and lose.

How, even though, those yeses turned out to be only slivers of what I wanted, I still asked.

So, for 2015, more asking.

On the first snowfall of the year followed by a sad rain and the sound of cars driving through slush on Damen Avenue, I no longer worry that I have left my bicycle outside. I know I have not left my bicycle outside.

To things I will choose to leave outside.

To planting wind chimes I wanted so badly last August and arrived on my doorstep the last days of December, small gifts from old friends who remember us as we are. Trusting that blessings we’d asked for, someone knows we need.

To those in our lives who will force us to remember that we are messengers of hope. Where once our spirit animal, the turtle, carried us along on their backs, now the snail’s swirling body whorl plots along our life in moral fortitude, leaving a trail of slime behind us.

We won’t go back that way.

To remembering the change has been made.

To being objective.

To learning to write in third person, eventually, better, and at all.

Happy 2015.
This Mama.

This Mama.

I can / eat as I go.

I am reading Cheryl Strayed’s Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail. It has been one year and one half since my mother passed away. I am on page 65. She is talking about junipers and sage. She is talking about memory. She is talking about a woman hiking the Pacific Crest Trail on her own. There is a scene where she confronts her backpack as burden.
 

To the right of my blog post, the “About Me” section, replaced a long time ago, is a Denise Levertov quote: “I can eat as I go.”
  

My grief has been less harrowing than that of Cheryl’s account, because I think the time leading up to it was actually when I unraveled. But the wilderness is the same.

I turn 30 in August. I plan to be in California for the first time in my life.


I look forward to stepping westward.


STEPPING WESTWARD

by Denise Levertov

What is green in me 
darkens, muscadine.
If woman is inconstant,
good, I am faithful to
ebb and flow, I fall
in season and now
is a time of ripening.
If her part
is to be true,
a north star,
good, I hold steady
in the black sky
and vanish by day,
yet burn there
in blue or above
quilts of cloud.
There is no savor
more sweet, more salt
than to be glad to be
what, woman,
and who, myself,
I am, a shadow
that grows longer as the sun
moves, drawn out
on a thread of wonder.
If I bear burdens
they begin to be remembered
as gifts, goods, a basket
of bread that hurts
my shoulders but closes me
in fragrance. I can
eat as I go.