Friday, November 20, 2009

Hard Rain

Last night, coming home from a girlfriend’s house, the proverbial skies opened up. I laughed as I walked down the street, an unopened umbrella hanging from my wrist.

“Seriously?” I yelled at the sky.

“Seriously,” she answered.

And with every cold drop that hit my face, I smiled a little wider. Because seriously? This is what it feels like when our hearts love a little harder? This is what it feels like when we finally get honest with ourselves and our souls? I thought it would be warmer. I thought I’d use my umbrella.

Remember when we transplanted all those plants last year? You taught me how to firmly grasp each root ball so as to save the center of it all. How to gently massage them, letting them know we were quietly waking them up, moving them to bigger and better places to unfurl. It’s a delicate process. When the rains came last night, they watered all those seeds I planted a long time ago. I didn’t know it would rain that hard. I didn’t know how it hurts to grow.

Last night’s rain took the last of the remaining leaves from the tree outside my bedroom window. This morning I woke to bare branches and missed the amazing yellow I’ve been so blessed to wake to for the last few weeks.

But I know that come next spring, green tips will push their way out of dark soil, strong and sure of themselves, regardless of how far they are from where they came. And they will breathe in the scent of a love well learned and they will bask in the glow of a heart well worn. And we will scatter our seeds again and again and again. Because we are perennial. And we are loved.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

The Clown: A short short story

He thrived on impossible situations. Especially those of the love variety.

If there were a clear cut path to Mecca, he would blithely pass it by in favor of an overgrown artery just off to the side. Forging through the bramble, fighting burrs and bees, he would soldier on to the beat of his very own drummer. His heart thumps steady but slowly into the dark and cloudy night.

Rain soaked, lantern out, he makes his trek, despite the moon taking a well-deserved night off. She’s had a rough week at the diner, constantly attending to the needs of townies demanding recognition. She can see him but he can’t see her. She’s laughing at him, high above the insulation of her stormy ether. He laughs too, albeit unaware.

There are moments when the tempest lets up and the gales die down. He doesn’t take the opportunity to rest because he knows that these are the times when he can put down his pack and run.

Possessing nothing more, he is light and wet. His feet make squishy sounds as they slap through muddy earth. He’s lost his shoes but that just makes him move faster, toes making contact with the soft terrain, heels digging in to maintain his foothold. The rhythm of this run is redeeming him.

Out of breath, he slows. There are no obstacles in his path, but night is black and the moon is still laughing. Mysteriously, impossibly, he hears her. She didn’t mean for it to happen, but one of her giggles hitched a ride on a soft breeze and he’s caught wind of her revelry. She makes herself be quiet even though now it’s probably too late.

He doesn’t know what to think but knows he must keep moving. So he divorces why from what and keeps on. There are levels of knowing, and it doesn’t bother him that he is just on the second floor. If there is a penthouse, it exists regardless of whether or not he finds it.

The moon is getting sleepy and she really should just go to bed. It’s hard to take her eyes off his expedition, but time doesn’t really take requests. She has no choice but to tuck herself in and turn on the television, which will eventually give way to light.

The television stretches its beefy arms and its clumsy fingers wipe crud from its eyes. Its not all there yet, so it puts on a rerun.

Our journeyman senses the reoccurring of dawn and hurries his gait. As daybreak arrives, he notices that he is not on a virgin path per se, but rather that road less traveled. There is evidence of previous adventurers. One even left a thermos.

The sky lightens and he realizes he is nearing the end of this groove. In fact, there is a clearing up ahead and sounds of civilization are calling to him. His calves are spattered with drying dirt and he wonders what they will think of him when he finally stops to rest.

He has nothing to offer so he will have to take before he can give. Lucky for him, the cacophony of sound in the clearing is a large and mighty circus. Fearless acrobats and bearded ladies beckon to him and he goes to them.

He is welcomed unconditionally. Music wakes him up and freedom is served in hot steaming mugs.

“How was your trip?” asks the ringmaster.

Our journeyman pauses and thinks. “It was mine.”

“Welcome,” says the ringmaster. “We’ve been waiting for you and we’re happy you’re here.”

So our journeyman decides to become a clown because of his unusually large feet. He figures that at the very least, he will have an easy time finding new shoes.

A few days into his new life as a clown, he realizes that he is incredibly content and supported, but there is something that he misses. He looks around, but he is alone. Television beams bright and he stares at its screen.


He doesn’t quite know this, but he is missing the sound of the moon. He longs to hear her chortle, her cackle and her banter. She’s been busy serving slop. He walked away from her, but it’s he who feels abandoned. She’s just been trying to make ends meet.

The ringmaster pops his head up from the bamboo shoots and startles our journeyman.

“Don’t fret my young charlatan. Everyone misses her. But she visits at night. She checks in on you when you are sleeping. While soaking her feet in a salt bath, she counts her tips and sends you blessings.”

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Dear Me,

If I knew what to write, I would right it. If I could, I would tell you how I've replayed the tape and identified all the instances where I went wrong. And once I'd found them, I'd want someone to judge them. Is there at tribunal? Because if there was one, I would prostrate myself before it and ask for its forgiveness.

How long do I have to be sorry for squandering you?

I read somewhere that when someone's wounded, the first order of business is to stop the bleeding. So I found a tourniquet for you. I can't be sorry for that.

But what's next, exactly? Explain to me, please, how I go about finding an experienced surgeon to suture up the holes when there's this big fleshy scar in his way? Who do I tell all the details to? Who do I direct how to save you? Who judges you now when I've deemed everyone else unworthy?

My mom explained how white knights are always in demand but she's pretty sure we don't need one anymore. She said it in a nice way, and I agreed.

I just wish I could tell you how I went wrong and why. I would make it all better for you and I would save us. And if I couldn't do that, I would tell you to forgive me and give us clearance to begin again. But you'd have to mean it, because I'm running out of patience. Aren't you?