Friday, September 6, 2013

And in and out of weeks and through a day

For my friend Lara Turchinsky, with whom I have sailed vast oceans. Thanks, my friend.


“And [he] sailed back over a year
and in and out of weeks
and through a day 
and into the night of his very own room
where he found his supper waiting for him
and it was still hot” 
― Maurice SendakWhere the Wild Things Are

My mother used to remark that every time she sat down in a movie theater, she would fall asleep. These were in the post-Dad-dying days where her burdens were heavy and, I suspect, nights restless. We would load into the car during that hot Oklahoma summer and in the cool dark of the theater she'd drift off until one of us would gently nudge her as it was time to go.

In the darkness of the music auditorium I have a similar experience. Away from handheld devices and computers diverting my attention,  from conversations and questions and things needing to be done, I let my mind drift and wander. I visualize my life in snapshots and pictures. I let the music seep in and replenish the dry landscape of my harried mind and heart. Within this space, I have learned to let go.

Tonight I spent a good long while with a blue-period painting projected on my mind. Eyes upon the back of a woman sitting in a small boat, the water is flat, the sky and the sea enjoined in one monotone color. An arial view shows no land. There is no wind for the sail. There is no obvious way north, south, east or west; no clear direction and nothing propelling the boat forward.

It's not a frightening scene. Just dead quiet glassy water, humidity so thick you can feel it in your throat, close. It's a scene that is wistful for a cool breeze and for the clouds to part. It's waiting. It's not knowing how to get moving or which direction to go. It's not knowing what land will look like when you hit it. It's not being afraid of what you will find but confused about how you will get there. It is being alone in a vast sea, and either waiting for someone to come and tow you in or figuring out how to do it yourself. It's a lot different than being a leaf on the stream.

This is what my life feels like now. I can blame it on cancer and its aftermath. I can blame it on the stress and pressure from every side I feel so acutely that it pools upon my skin in bumps. I can blame it on loss and distrust and the feeling of being alone in the world. But the reality is that no matter the cause, it is a long journey of sailing back over these years that will take me to the place that I can call home.

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