“And as you promised that if you didn’t come back, the river would whisper to me about the strength of your kiss—and about you, about us.” ~ Consuelo de Saint Exupéry, from The Tale of the Rose: The Love Story Behind The Little Prince

Tvanas IX (from “The Flood Cycle”)
by Mikalojus Konstantinas Ciurlionis (1904-05)*

“Someone spoke to me last night,
told me the truth. Just a few words,
but I recognized it.
I knew I should make myself get up,
write it down, but it was late,
and I was exhausted from working
all day in the garden, moving rocks.” ~ Dorianne Laux, from “Dust”

Friday, earl afternoon. Sunny, hot, and humid, low 90’s. Hoping for thunderstorms later.

Well, Corey is scheduled to arrive in Brooklyn today, but I haven’t heard from him in a few days, so I’m not sure if they are still on schedule. I’ve had so much nervous energy that I’ve been cleaning myself into a frenzy. Of course, the result is that by evening, I am walking like the crooked man in the limerick. Don’t know why that popped into my head, but it seems very appropriate.

Zodiakas Mergele (Virgo from the Zodiac Cycle)
Mikalojus Konstantinas Ciurlionis (1907)

Yesterday, my goal was to clean my desk, which, because of the lack of computer, tends to become the repository of all things tossable: magazines, mail, clothes, whatever. I went through all of the paperwork, made myself a nice big pile of things needing to be done (can’t wait, truly), and wiped everything off.

Then I decided that I still needed to do more, so I tackled the fridge. I pulled out the two vegetable drawers, and scrubbed inside and attempted to clean all of the bunk that tends to settle beneath these drawers. Somehow, not really sure how, a mass of what appeared to be caramel was pooled in the bottom. When I couldn’t melt it with chemicals, I finally had to take a spatula and try to scrape it out. I got most of it, but there was one spot that refused to budge.

All of this deep cleaning takes me back to my OCD cleaning days, which makes me realize that I’m back there. This is both a good and bad thing. It’s nice to have a very clean house, but I pay for it with such pain I cannot even describe.

“There is never a later, but for most of my life I have believed in later.” ~ Donald Hall

Last week when Brett and Em and I were out running around, I stopped in Sally’s Beauty supply to purchase yet another nail hardener. The woman at the register assured me that the one that I bought was a good one as they (the employees) had all been given samples, and she said that it worked on her. Right . . .

Saulelydis (Sunset)
by Mikalojus Konstantinas Ciurlionis (1908)

Anyway, after purchasing this nail hardener, I have spent the last week doing the kinds of things that absolutely destroy one’s nails. It wouldn’t have been so bad if I had remembered to wear the gloves that Corey bought me for just such occasions, but I always forget, which means that when I cleaned the double ovens, I didn’t wear gloves.

The nail hardener may work, but I won’t be able to find out until my nails come back. Granted this is not terribly important in the huge scheme of things, but it’s kind of lame to have a nail polish addiction and not have enough nails to polish. I’ve never had naturally long nails like my friend Sarah, but I really don’t want to go back to acrylic nails. I’m over that phase. It costs money that I would rather spend elsewhere, and besides, I’m not working any more.

Oh yeah, that.

“In a dream everything is pregnant with a dreadful and unfinished meaning, nothing is indifferent, everything reaches us more deeply, more intimately than the most heated passion of the day. This is the lesson: an artist cannot be restricted to day, he has to reach the night life of humanity and seek its myths and symbols.” ~ Witold Gombrowicz, excerpt from Diary

This past week has been filled with strange and wonderful dreams. A few nights ago I dreamed that I was on this journey, and somehow, I ended up in Middle Earth, but it wasn’t anything like Tolkien’s Middle Earth. I was with a group of people, and I think we were on a tour. We went into this room, and it had been retrofitted to look like the 1950’s: the same kind of yellow Formica everywhere. There was a coffee percolator that I was particularly enamored with, but after I poured myself some coffee, it disappeared. We were told that we couldn’t eat the food and that we had to go back to our own world. I didn’t want to leave and begged to stay.

Tvanas VII (from the Flood Cycle)
by Mikalojus Konstantinas Ciurlionis (1904-5)

Last night—and this one is really weird—I was driving down a main road in our neighborhood, and a man dressed in a Spider Man costume was lying in the road. I swerved to avoid him, and then I stopped the car. I was driving my old Isuzu, Izzie. I ran to the man just as another car stopped. I asked them to call 911, and I got a blanket out of the car to cover him even though it was hot. He was alive, but very shaken. Someone had hit him and left, and I kept asking him if he was on a bicycle.

Then a few night ago—and this one is very, very weird—I dreamt that I was in a dark bar, and there was this man of whom I knew I needed to be wary. I knew this man, except he didn’t look like anyone I knew. I knew that he was a sexual deviant. Then I was fleeing from him, and I ended up going through these rooms, and behind the doors I could hear people having sex, and I came around a corner, and he was there just smiling at me. I told him that I was going to call the police, but he didn’t seem to care. I walked over to the bar manager, but it turned out she was a, em, Madam, and she told me that I knew what I needed to do and that I never should have come into that bar.

“There are days that haven’t arrived yet,
that are being made
like bread . . .” ~ Pablo Neruda, from “We Are Waiting,” (trans. William O’Daly)

I’ve been buying a few plants here and there, nothing like the massive plantings I used to do every spring. Although, I would probably have better luck with so many plants now with all of the shade in the front yard. Yesterday, I bought two more from Wal-Mart, and I have to say that the pickings were very slim. Their garden section looked like there had been a collective wilt in response to the oppressively hot, humid air. The ones I brought home I soaked and left over night. I’ll move them into pots today.

Zodiakas Svarstykles (Libra from the Zodiac Cycle)
by Mikalojus Konstantinas Ciurlionis (1907)

I had thought about going to the chair yoga class this afternoon. Still haven’t made up my mind. I have this incredible desire to do sit-ups, which makes no sense at all. I used to have one of those rolled bars that helped to take the stress of the back when doing sit-ups. I’m not sure if Corey threw it out or if it’s somewhere in the mass of things in the garage, but I sure would love to have it now.

I’m not really sure where this desire to work out is coming from, but I really should go with it while I can, don’t you think? Well, can may not be the best word, but perhaps want? I mean, I want to work out, but I don’t know if I can, or maybe I can work out if I want it enough, or perhaps, I won’t workout if I can’t, but I will if I can . . .

Sheesh.

“Water: no matter how much, there is still not enough.
Come rain, come thunder, come deluged dams washed away,
Our thirst is unquenchable. A cloud in the water’s a siren.
We become two shades, deliquescent, drowning in song.” ~ Marin Sorescu, from “Fountains in the Sea”

So I just spent about 20 minutes looking for an ab roller online. Seems I can pick one up via Wal-Mart and have it delivered to the store without having to pay shipping. My love/hate affair with Wal-Mart continues . . .

Saules Sonata (Scherzo from Sonate of the Sun)
by Mikalojus Konstantinas Ciurlionis (1907)

Speaking of online ordering, I ordered the replacement hose for the pool. Perhaps (maybe, please maybe) it will arrive today, and eldest son can get the pool working. I mean, on days like today and yesterday, slipping into the pool would be heavenly, and it would also help to keep the dogs occupied, another bonus.

You know, I was thinking about that comment I received on an old post, how outlandish it was. I’ve decided to try to keep politics out of my blog as much as possible this election season. I know that I won’t always be able to do so because sometimes it’s impossible to ignore all of the stupidity, but during the last presidential election I allowed myself to get so worked up over the rampant racism. I’m not going to sit here and try to tell you that such things do not still bother me, because of course, they do. Rather, I’m going to try to remove myself as much as possible from the fray. My blood pressure will thank me.

At least that’s my position for now. Talk to me when it gets closer to November.

More later. Peace.

Music by Benjamin Francis Leftwich, “Box of Stones”

*All images are by Lithuanian painter and composer Mikalojus Konstantinas Ciurlionis, whose works were considered to be representative of the fin de siècle (end of the century, end of an era) epoch. Fin de siècle is a French term that usually refers to the end of the 19th century in Europe.

                   

The Wind Blows Through the Doors of My Heart

The wind blows
through the doors of my heart.
It scatters my sheet music
that climbs like waves from the piano, free of the keys.
Now the notes stripped, black butterflies,
flattened against the screens.
The wind through my heart
blows all my candles out.
In my heart and its rooms is dark and windy.
From the mantle smashes birds’ nests, teacups
full of stars as the wind winds round,
a mist of sorts that rises and bends and blows
or is blown through the rooms of my heart
that shatters the windows,
rakes the bedsheets as though someone
had just made love. And my dresses
they are lifted like brides come to rest
on the bedstead, crucifixes,
dresses tangled in trees in the rooms
of my heart. To save them
I’ve thrown flowers to fields,
so that someone would pick them up
and know where they came from.
Come the bees now clinging to flowered curtains.
Off with the clothesline pinning anything, my mother’s trousseau.
It is not for me to say what is this wind
or how it came to blow through the rooms of my heart.
Wing after wing, through the rooms of the dead
the wind does not blow. Nor the basement, no wheezing,
no wind choking the cobwebs in our hair.
It is cool here, quiet, a quilt spread on soil.
But we will never lie down again.

~ Deborah Digges

” . . . When light spreads over the pastures like wings, and fans a secret color into everything, and beats the trees senseless with beauty, so that you can’t tell whether the beauty is in the trees—dazzling in cells like yellow sparks or green flashing waters—or on them . . .” ~ Annie Dillard, Holy the Firm

 

Night by Burlacu Lurie (Pixdaus)

                

“We live in succession, in division, in parts, in particles. Meantime within man is the soul of the whole; the wise silence; the universal beauty, to which every part and particle is equally related . . . We see the world piece by piece, as the sun, the moon, the animal, the tree; but the whole, of which these are shining parts, is the soul.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Fall (Pixdaus)

It’s nine o’clock on a Saturday . . . no wait . . . that’s a song. It’s eleven o’clock on Saturday, no crowd rushing in. My mother’s house is finally, thankfully, quiet. Earlier today when the television was actually turned off, I managed to sit down and actually get a signal. I turned on the music, opened a new page, and just as I prepared to write, my mother awoke on the couch and said, “You don’t mind if I turn on the television, do you?”

What could I say?

She is much better, though. Much more mobile, even took a shower on her own today. I think that we may have conquered the stomach problems (hope beyond hope), and I am preparing to make the gradual move back to my own home. Tonight after I finish this post, I am going to go home to sleep. Corey has a shift, and Brett is away at a conference, so it seems to be perfect timing as far as going home to my own bed.

I know that I am hesitating, and I realize why: Each time I have thought that things may be getting better, getting well enough that I could go home—at least at night—something has happened, so I am reluctant to think that the situation may actually be stable enough for the transition, that, and I would feel horribly guilty should something happen if I were not here.

It’s actually the same logic that kept me at the hospital for 20 hours out of each day when Caitlin was ill. Oddly enough, it was one of the times when I had actually gone home for a nap and a shower when the hospital actually called to ask me to come back as soon as possible.

Such has always been my luck.

“Not yesterday I learned to know
   The love of bare November days
Before the coming of the snow
But it were vain to tell her so,
   And they are better for her praise.” ~ Robert Frost, “My November Guest”

Autumn in Chairi Lake (Pixdaus)

Many thanks to those of you who have sent well wishes and have asked about my mother. Thanks also for the reminders to take care of myself as I do tend to ignore my own signals when someone close to me is in need.

Sleeping on the couch hasn’t been too bad for my back, but lately I have awoken with a very sore neck. I could sleep in my old bedroom, but it just doesn’t seem right somehow. Since my mother has come home from the rehab facility, she makes her way to the living room couch by 8 a.m., and the television goes on shortly after, so I head to my old bedroom to try to catch a few hours of morning sleep, this after making her coffee, getting her breakfast and meds, and feeding the cat and dog.

I have planned to set the alarm at home so that I can get here in the morning to take care of things and then perhaps play the rest of the day as it comes. As tomorrow is November 7, a particularly painful day of the year for me, I don’t want to set any kind of schedule for myself.

To be honest, the melancholy crept up on me this year. Being so prepossessed with my mother’s health issues, I have had little time for great introspection. Then I found another envelope of photographs containing pictures of all of my children when they were quite young. Within these was a picture of me in the hospital holding a newborn, and I had to think for a moment to identify which birth it was. The telltale sign was the gown that I was wearing—sleeveless, white cotton. Brett was born during a record heat wave, but for just a moment, my heart had tricked my memory into believing that I was holding Caitlin.

That was all that it took: a photograph, one second in time, recovered accidentally while dusting a box on a shelf.

“Somehow they always find me, seem even
to be waiting, determined to keep me
from myself, from the thing that calls to me
as it must have once called to them—
this temptation to step off the edge
and fall weightless, away from the world.” ~ Dorianne Laux, “For the Sake of Strangers”

Autumn Leaves (Pixdaus)

Truthfully, I don’t really know what to call this state of being, how to classify it, how to give it a name. Is something real if it is unnamable? Does something truly exist if it cannot be molded and shaped to fit into a specific niche?

Perhaps, then, this state is the actual grey area, or twilight zone—the fictive terminator between night and day. This state of existence does not bear scrutiny since it does not in fact exist, or it exists only in that nanosecond the comprises the movement from night into day.

Do I even know what I’m saying here?

I only know that a few days ago my mind was wholly unoccupied of anything of consequence, and then today I woke with weight on my chest so heavy that I felt as if rocks were being piled onto my body, like the “wedge-shaped core of darkness” that Virginia Woolf spoke of in To the Lighthouse. It is invisible to everyone else, but it is there, nonetheless.

“Once more
Uncontradicting solitude
Supports me on its giant palm;
And like a sea-anemone
Or simple snail, there cautiously
Unfolds, emerges, what I am.” ~ Philip Larkin, “Best Society”

Solitary Swan on Lake in Autumn (Pixdaus)

I want only solitude and quiet, to be alone and to be left alone, to have no demands made of me so that I do not have to force to the surface the persona of a normal person, do not have to cloak this ache with the mask of normalcy.

I want mountains and trees and the sweet, sweet smell of cold, fresh spring water running over mossy rocks. I want to feel the chill of air on my face and to smell the earth, to inhale the natural descent into decay that is autumn and to walk beneath a tarpaulin of the burnished reds and golds that precede the naked limbs of winter.

I crave a retreat from sound, a respite from the everyday clicks and hums that fill my immediate environs. At this very moment, this is what I hear: the ticking of the living room clock, the annoying click of an anti-bug device in the kitchen, my mother coughing, the gunfire rapidity of the keys on the keyboard, and an insistent, low hum from somewhere indiscernible.

These things I want; these things I need; these things I crave like a balm for my soul. These things will continue to elude me for now.

More later. Peace.

Music by Starsailor, “Some of Us”