“There are days we live as if death were nowhere in the background; from joy to joy to joy, from wing to wing, from blossom to blossom to impossible blossom, to sweet impossible blossom.”
Parker Palmer posted these lines From Blossoms, by Li-Young Lee.
The words break me open. I could almost feel the crack and see the light shining through. I have lived for so so long as if death paid calls and demanded I serve him tea, as if death watercolored the garden backdrop and asked for a critique. I have grown comfortable with his presence, or at least, I have stopped fighting or fleeing from his penumbra.
I have grown use to the absence of joy that comes from inside me. I have manufactured joy, have siphoned off just a little joy from those engulfed in it. It is second hand and yet, I have been grateful for the taste of it. I have needed to chase and catch it if I was to feel any of it at all.
And then, all of a sudden, my heart is in my throat, I am prepared to tremble in anticipation, I am singing all day.
“from joy to joy to joy, from wing to wing, from blossom to blossom to impossible blossom, to sweet impossible blossom.”
Julia has today off for Yom Kippur. I’ve never observed the day of atonement but this year, because it is punctuated by a school holiday, it sticks in my mind. Who to include on the list of those to ask forgiveness of, who to reach out to, who to say a silent prayer for, to give a silent thought for.
I have a list of what I’d like do during this season—reading, writing, getting body and voice into shape—and the challenge is simply beginning. Six months at home alone with Julia, working as planner and manager as well as caregiver and cook, makes the discipline to begin something for myself hard. Last week, days 4 to 8 of my free days, I did what I needed to do—finally getting to see the dentist, finding a place to fix my rocking chair and bringing it in, returning books to the library and picking up new holds, a bit of weeding and cooking. I don’t seem to be able to slam into the discipline I need but I can pick off some low hanging fruit. My lists should probably be written in circles. That low hanging fruit needs picking so it wasn’t a waste of time, it just didn’t feel like a launch.
The season is turning. When we drive on the highways, the earliest of the trees are beginning to show color. Orange and yellow. And walking, we’ve found orange and brown leaves on the ground. Such a joy! Tinged with a bit of bittersweetness, but can the same be said about almost everything these days? These continuing unprecedented days?
~ School began today. We are so late this year! Julia is one of the high needs students who has been invited to attend every day at school. High needs is a category of more than special ed students. She will get some of her classes in person—those she takes with special ed teachers—and some on line—those where she is in general ed classes. All classes are 90 minutes long, with the expectation that content will be taught and some, if not all, homework will be eliminated as it will be done in class. Julia is anxious but she was so happy to be in the school building when she has her senior pictures taken that I think she will do fine. The number of students in-school is very small. I’ve heard 50 to 100 in a building that houses 2000 comfortably. There should be sufficient room for them to spread out. I hope she can attend safely although there are plans if in-person needs to be shut down in a few months. Or sooner.
Third day at the Cape. Falmouth, MA. First day on the beach.
The plan for this four-day vacationette at the Cape was to park the car at the inn, bike everywhere and spend at least part of each day on the beach, Julia digging and making castles, me, reading and writing. As it turned out, we arrived on Tuesday in time for supper, walked up to the main street, checked out the bike rental store which was closed and found out the they are only doing multi-day renting. No problem, I though. We’d pick bikes up on Wednesday morning and keep them until Saturday. We had a very nice Mexican meal, sitting outside, reading the menu on my phone. I had the margarita that I sorely needed and we walked home.