-The Police, by album of the same name (I have to confess that going to the new Discovery World in Milwaukee this weekend and seeing an exhibit of old Atari machines made me realize that I spent a few langorous and fat summers listening to this album in the basement of my parents house, playing endless Tetris. Ah. The laziness of yuth).
I went to Frugal Muse last week and sold off the first set of a series of books I have kept around for years, hoping I would renew my interest in myriad topics: French film, European history, theater. These are certain things, once well-known topics like no longer fitting clothes, that may fit me again one day, but the fact is there are books I actually need now (like another copy of Brenda Ueland's 1938 classic on "contemplative writing" called If You Want to Write) in order to teach and prepare to teach and continue to grow. It felt good to turn in over 40 books and even though I only "got back" 6 for the same price (trade in, along with a couple of snuck in cd's like The Police, Synchronicity), they are books I have either read and know I will use, or books I have been waiting to read and Know I Will Read Soon. Funny how knowledge can be such a burden - or unread knowledge, in this case.
My mother always warned me that my smartness would only cause depression. This certainly appeared true in her case, and not just to her (to us as well), however, this weekend I experienced some things that showed me I can cut short overdeveloped IQ and listen to instinct in the flash of a moment. I have experienced this a great deal outside of actual emotional in-the-moment situations, in meditation, and then in situations while on the slowed-down retreat world of Dathun this last summer (one month of mostly silent retreat in Colorado) but to do it while working on love, for instance, in the moment, is so hard. And I can't say that I "got it in real time" but just noticing was enough to console me that I am with me now, most of the time, not off somewhere else like I habitually had been for so many years, just like mama taught me to do.
My parents travelled a great deal - as well did their parents, and as well do I. While travel in itself is far from problematic, I cannot seem to shake (after having spent the weekend in Milwaukee) this feeling that the division my mother felt between her mind and heart wasn't healed by traveled, rather, further severed her connection to herself. Travel can be shaky that way. It seems to have something to do with timing, which Virginia reminded me lately (when I told her that my favorite line lately has been from Overlap by Ani DiFranco: "either you don't have the balls or you don't feel the same") is crucial to a lot of things - love in particular. Or not love. My parents had that one down, but that could neither heal nor eradicate deep, existential unhappiness. The timing of travel for me varies a great deal, as it may have for them, too, sometimes healing, sometimes killing.
Watching Rivers and Tides (a docurama on Andy Goldsworthy, I heart Andy Goldsworthy!) tonight, I felt this incredible loss in fall, this incredibly beauty in knowing that we will die. The only thing we don't know really is how or when. Why is it that we pretend we won't die? My mother, and all of us, taken by surprise. My father, with so much warning but little preparation (how can you really prepare the heart for losing a father?). And the leaves while walking Roscoe tonight, turned to turds by his bruising paws and grasping jaws and, well, his own excrement alongside, under, on top, mixed into my plastic bag hand. Erika and I joked about making excrement art, about making cairns like Goldsworthy makes, that will stay frozen all winter in our backyard. What else to do with poop but laugh?
How to stay in time with timing? We make such effort as humans to link everything up just right, just to find out that the few pitfalls we had so carefully healed up (or heeled ourselves against - just saw Open Season this weekend with my nephew, and I am thinking of the beavers and their damned dam) are not the only weak spots after all. We are made of weak spots, this is part of the natural variation of our existence, and I am slowly learning to not flinch when I either discover new ones or uncover old ones now that the stronger weak spot previously protecting this new found one is healed. Just when I thought I had figured how out to determine (I gave up on scientific determinism years ago, lord knows why I am still clinging to it emotionally.) the perfect lover, the perfect job, the perfect friendships, it's as if the lake I am living on turns into a mountain and the cake falls suddenly in the oven. It seems the only way to synchronize with organized chaos like that is to open the oven door and eat it as a cracker. Or give it to the wildlife outside. They, too, have a winter for which they must steel up, and