“Find out the reason that commands you to write; see whether it has spread its roots into the very depth of your heart; confess to yourself you would have to die if you were forbidden to write.”
Came across these Rilke words this morning as I looked for something else. Rilke always speaks to me, from wedding vows (“. . . a good marriage is one in which each partner appoints the other to be the guardian of his solitude . . .”) to growing a spiritual life ( “. . . learn to love the questions . . .“). I come back to, stumble across, have quoted back to me words that he wrote that always draw me deeper.
I usually investigate authors, artists and performers that I find inspiring, and yet I’ve never even googled the man and read his wikipedia entry. And I am not inclined to now. It is enough that his words touch me. Dianu.
Two incredible dreams following a few exciting days. Another Mindful Circle session. Yes, fewer participants (I expected to lose some) but more than lovely to practice a body scan with these women. I am very carefully letting go of my cultivated pessimism. I want to make so many more of these circles.
We are ready for winter — Well, except for buying a gallon of gas for my snow blower — and we have snow to shovel this morning. There is not enough on the ground for the blower, but the streets are white and so are the garden beds. We need to clear sidewalks and driveway before we venture further.
I went to Julia’s first conference on Thursday. She attended with her teachers (homeroom teacher plus spacial ed teacher and speech therapist) and it was Julia who presented her work. With some prompting, she talked about her strengths and weaknesses and was pretty much spot on. She showed me her best work and put together a very cool portfolio of what she has been doing the last few months. And although I still feel like she is seeing too many people at Wright, we may have finally turned a corner at middle school. There is not as much behavior and Julia is more comfortable. I am cautiously optimistic.
We passed the social studies teacher in the hall and he gave me a thumbs up and said she “nailed the test.” Need to find out what that means. I am interested to see what she learned and what she could regurgitate. This was a new way of studying for her and I could also imagine that she will one day take charge of the whole process.
I went to the theater on Friday night — Forward Theater’s “From Up Here”, a good piece and running for another weekend or so — and last night I took Julia to her first dance concert. We saw Kanopy Dance Company’s Mime. Body. Spirit. It has been years since I was at a serious modern dance concert. It was like home — recognizing the styles and choreographers to which these pieces bowed, enjoying the physicality of moving, indulging in the patterns created and the individuals highlighted. Julia wanted to sit front row center. I worried for a moment that it was too public a place for us to be seated in case the sound was too loud (she did ask for ear plugs) or she needed to comment (which she didn’t). For the most part, she sat and marveled at the dances as I did and when it was over she skipped and tried out a few steps on our way to the parking garage.
Of course, I want her to draw those dancers. As people or dinosaurs.
Now, the dreams. Both remembered and both carried through the day.
David coming up from a basement, not ours, where he was playing with some kids, again not ours. He is sweaty and his eyes are red and unhealthy looking. I told him I was calling for an ambulance and he tried to dissuade me from doing that. He would ‘be all right.’ And I insist and do it after a bit of discussion. I woke up thinking it was good to see him and that, although, he didn’t look well in the dream, he was doing well for being dead for four years, if that makes any sense.
And the memory of finding him collapsed but conscious on the bathroom floor at the end of June, three months after his transplant, floods in. I remember it all from my vantage point, I still cannot even imagine his. An altered state, “I’m calling an ambulance.” “Do you think you should? I don’t need it.” And my insisting. For just a moment, there was a question of whether or not I should call, even in my mind, but I followed my impulse and then gathered my wits. A call to my neighbor to take care of Julia. Putting the dog in her crate and some shoes on me. By the time the ambulance came, the need for it was clear. David was in pain. The pain was getting worse. It was, as we found out later, a gall bladder infection, the infection which would eventually kill him. Did the call when I made it make any difference? Did it give him some of that extra week? Did it change anything? And of course, had I not walked the dog when I did, and heard him fall, instead of just finding him fallen, could it have made more difference? The questions do not plague me but surfaces now and then. What does make that difference between life and death? Was/is any change possible?
From this horrible, awful night came one small piece of gold. I have written of it now and again. And again. Here and in my older blog and so forgive me if my miracle holds no revelation. As I was driving home in the wee hours of morning, after a night of pain and helplessness and fear and “almost losing” and the incredible kindness of the medical staff, I felt my strength. I remember the exact spot where the feeling hit and I drive that road often. Always, remembering, if just a little bit. I was aware that I had used and was using some deep well of the stuff that had been in reserved for a moment such as that. And last night, I awoke from the dream of him, to remember that awful night and also the wonder of my own strength. In wonder and gratitude, I remember the strength.
And then, I went back to sleep. Hoping to remember the dream and the David siting, but not particularly counting on it. I know that I forget many to most dreams that I have, and I have no idea what they were about so I have no idea what I am missing.
Just before waking, I dreamed that I had been cast in a college-type production of the Cherry Orchard. Cherry Orchard by Chekov is one of my favorite plays. We are reading it for book club next week and as I’ve been reading I’ve been remembering vividly Andrei Serban’s 1977 production at the Vivian Beaumont Theater. The cast alone was splendid — C.K. Alexander, Christine Estabrook, Mary Beth Hurt, Raul Julia, Meryl Streep, Irene Worth, Max Wright — and the set was a dream scape. I remember Irene Worth circling the white stage dotted with dark wood furniture pieces over and over before she left her beloved house and orchard for the last time. The memory brings chills. So, I guess it should not be surprising that my over active imagination concocted a dream what with memories such as those.
In the dream, I came to a first reading of the play, held not in a theater but in a campus pub. I was cast as one of the daughters, not sure which one although it may have been Dunyasha. I was too old to get that roll and did not go to school where the play was being produced. Still, I was flattered and eager. I talked to the stage manager who was giving out scripts and sorting the players around table. I told that young woman my age concerns and suggested that I might be more suited for Ranevskaya (the lead but also the older woman part). The stage manager laughed and directed me to sit down next to “our Ranevskaya”. I did and sat next to Dame Judi Dench. I had a hard time catching my breath at first. I was over-awed, but she was lovely, saying how she had so looked forward to meeting and working with me. I demurred like crazy. I was totally out of my comfort zone as well as my acting ability. I pulled myself together enough to ask why she would consider doing a college production – it was then that I fully realized that I had indeed been asked to work in a college show which even then, even with Judi Dench seemed crazy. There would be so many better and more appropriate Dunyasha’s in the theater department of the school. Judi leaned in very close to me to answer my questions. “I love this play,” she said. “And old ladies can do anything. Have fun.” She smiled, chuckled and her eyes sparkled. Yes, really, I dreamed that.
And then I woke up.
How spendid a way to spend a night and start a day!
*Lovely painting by Duy Huynh. I need one of his prints.