Theses days it feels like everything's already been said, and often said repeatedly. So here I go again, this first day of autumn, on the eve of Post # 2000.....
Blustery rain and wind today, long awaited from me after a summer more glorious than any I can recall here, where I've lived all my years. To welcome the new season I baked gingerbread with a lemon glaze, and pork ribs are tenderizing in the oven in the heat of a low flame, awash in homemade BBQ sauce. I'm going to mash a giant sweet potato with coconut milk and ginger, and I'm awaiting a note of criticism from R., who will undoubtedly point out that BBQ and a Thai-themed potato mash commit the sin of flavor clashing. I say So What.
Feeling a sweet sadness at summer's passing, especially now that I'm on the side of the hill where I'm counting future possible summers in a set of numbers that, most likely, will be less than 50. When did this happen, this change of perspective?
If I could I'd stretch out each day so I could stay awake as long as desired, and then stretch out each night so I could stay awake under a moonlit sky even longer. I'd insert an extra day between Saturday and Sunday, call in Someday, and linger there, in dark or light — awake, alert, listening, seeing.
There is never enough time, in all of eternity, in every moment that has slipped away and in every still-possible second/minute/hour before me.
The challenge, of course, is to be present and in appreciation of all of it. Even in sleep, when my dreams each night launch me into ever more extraordinary scenarios: last night I was packing for a trip to India, opening a cafe, examining a new fabric that rippled like water, watching old episodes of Mickey Mouse on a television from the 1950's, choosing from dozens of kittens with sky-blue eyes. (I'd say that was sleep-time well spent!)
Tomorrow evening is the launch of Easy Speak, my new open mic venue at Hummingbird Saloon, not far from my home. The last time I initiated a literary function was in 1991, when I formed a poetry critique group, which still meets monthly and with a history of people coming and going, many staying, for 22 years. That decisive act, which was met with a lot of opposition from my very-controlling husband, changed my life. A non-profit poetry press grew out of it, which has operated in the black for all of its 19 years. Deep friendships were formed, and continue to evolve.
New friendships are still being formed. Off and on for these years, it has served as a kind of backbone to my social scene.
When my husband passed away, I stepped away from it, and from poetry, for a long time. Poetry was my source of spirituality, and I felt disastrously betrayed by that which had for so long sustained me. I came back to it — in my heart — this past year, and Easy Speak is the child of that personal renaissance.
It's an open book, all of it, all of life.
And the view from the top of this hill, looking at what some may see as the downside, is lit with candlelight and lanterns, bonfires and oil lamps, illuminating a landscape that is at the same time deeply mysterious and spilling with enchantment.
While in Hawaii in early September, I engaged in a conversation with a mathematician about the arc of a human life. His philosophy was that in life one has two or three occasions to make a decision that will influence and shape the entire rest of that life. I played a bit of the devil's advocate with him — I love a lively debate — and disagreed. In a larger sense, I partially agree with him. The decision to go to college or not, to marry or not, to make a career change (or not) are certainly seminal moments in life. But taking it down to more personal level, I said that I thought that life was made up of possibilities, of all sorts, and at any point in time, one could make a decision to take Road A or Road B, or Road J, or even Road X. (I should probably mention that this conversation arose out of a discussion of the Multiverse Theory in Quantum Physics.)
Sparring ensued, all good-naturedly.
Before the conversation was cut short, I said,
"Tony, you look at life from a mathematician's perspective, and I look at it from the poet's perspective."
He half-chuckled, obviously not quite in agreement with even this proclamation.
The sun just came out, in a brief parting of sodden clouds. I can hear the wind in the trees in my one still-open window. Time to start thinking about scarves and gloves, ice and sleet. Time to think about the possibilities of the season ahead. Time to ready the lanterns, set out the candles.
It's all new from here on out.