In starting a new blog, one naturally leaves behind something. For weeks, I’ve struggled with understanding what this one will be about. The tone, voice, subject matter all seemed to elude me. I was eluding myself. Then this morning, over a poached egg, I picked up a collection of diaries by Anne Morrow Lindbergh (aviator, writer, wife of Charles) and read this:
People don’t want to be understood – I mean not completely. It’s too destructive. Then they haven’t anything left. They don’t want complete sympathy or complete understanding. They want to be treated carelessly and taken for granted lots of times.
Anne would have just been in college writing this, coming off adolescence, away from home for the first time. Just a short period alone with her thoughts brought this perspective of people – that perhaps the deep connections we search for aren’t, in the end, what fulfill us most. But rather the time spent apart, the longing, the looking inward. Adolescence, Anne says, gives us “a foretaste of the inevitable tragedies of life along with one’s early confused attempts to understand or meet them.” It also gives us our first crack at self-examination. To begin the drift away from parents, siblings, friends until – alone in the little room of our souls – we first discover ourselves.
Come call away and tell me
Of things I used to know
Of rainstorms not remembered
And puddling mounds of snow
Melting far away now
Cold and out of reach
A pile of drifting leaves
A soft forgotten beach
Spring has run off with my mind
And winter taken hold
They wait for me to sort them out
Should my dreaming dare so bold
I’m dizzy with love
for the thing that I cage
small sparrow without any song
Singing you do when
chased or pursued
and my love I have had all along
The bars overlap
like a trick of the eye
little pattern to make my love pop
Eyes rolling with joy
all cornered and coy
it begs of me please not to stop
Turn not off the spigot of love
caught close by the claw and the wing
Sing not for the freedom of choice, my dove
buzz instead with consistency’s sting.
A boiled down song is a word
rattling soup bone without any pot
My heart is – of late – a blacker bird
Heard and not seen
Hunted not shot
This time last year, I was on a plane headed to my friend Greg’s wedding in Washington state.
At the time, I wrote,
"On a plane, it’s just you and the abyss. A call to oblivion. A reminder of mortality. An opportunity for salt-laden snacking."
For me, turning thirty has been all those things. A wake up. A check in. Life smacking you square in the head with a tennis ball.
Oh jesus, life calls from across the court. Are you okay?
I’m good, really. Thanks, you mumble back as blood drips down your nose.
Life is like that though. It plays hard and fast doubles and doesn’t ease up on the serve. It slays you at the net if you’re not on your game.
So give it right back. Return slices, watch the lines. Give a heavy-handed shake after the game is done.
Wipe the blood on that white tennis skirt and hustle, always, for something more.
And fie most things
and fie the rest
and fie the in between
And fie the things I’ve looked upon
and things I haven’t seen
Fie to both my parents
and fie the ones I’ve loved
Fie to pets I’ve starved to death
and fie to pets beloved
Scorn to all things equally
and equal scorn to all
Dismiss the noise
and faster fall
What doughnuts do and don’t
is business nut of mine
the icing on that cake
is neither frivolous nor fine
but sprinkled and delicious
and purrs with sugared care
Dough not heed the dieters
whose figures dare not
Jump instead aboard the happy train
down a doughnut.
God, I think, running along the boulevard by my apartment, how is it that there are hundreds of squirrels along this thing and not one bunny? One just doesn’t get that same fuzzy high off seeing a squirrel. They’re too calculating - all that compulsive nut hiding and digging up - and for the most part, their cuteness factor oscillates somewhere between an ugly chipmunk and a better than average looking rat.
The blood on my finger
waxes and wanes
a little moon
Peeled back skin layers
make it easy to see
the good of the gore beneath
Like choosing a melon
kicking a dog
it must be ripe and worthy
Else back it goes
wound without depth
great gutless trout returned to the sea