sometimes there are no words.
i can't quite tell you why i moved this once almost healthy bench, no sag or droop yet belying its age, into the back yard. for years it sat beneath my kitchen window, sheltered on the back porch, a space for a cat to sprawl in the afternoon sun, a place to prop jasmine plants so the smell would wander into my house. i can tell you that the porch is small and my mother's table needed room to breathe, that this bench had nails that would snag you when you weren't looking, and those would be truths. i could tell you it was a hard decision to make, the move from porch to yard, but that would be false. true that the table needed a space, but for years i'd envisioned the bench somewhere in the yard, had listened to people tell me it wouldn't last, and nodded yes, i understood, but . . . when it rained, only its left side got wet, and sometimes wasps built nests between its back and the wall of the house, and it just seemed . . . trapped.
i usually don't say this kind of stuff out loud to people, not in real life, which is where words on the page come in handy, a place to write down all the heart stuff, the hard stuff, but even then there are sometimes struggles. words are not enough. sometimes a picture will do instead, but sometimes neither. sometimes both are needed.
so, the bench. my mother's table took its place and i moved the bench to a spot i could see from the kitchen window, where i could watch its decline, try to catch its movements, movements that are too slow to see, but quicker than expected. one morning the right side was lower than the left and then suddenly lower. wild leaves creep in and out. some mornings it is full of cardinals, some mornings squirrels, sometimes snowflakes. when autumn truly arrives, and leaves begin to finally fall, it's a landing place for many. when it rains it gets wet all over. in the spring there are robins. and sometimes, still and always, a cat. it is exactly what i'd hoped for and couldn't explain. i watch its slow crumble back into the earth and know its happiness.
it explains to my heart all those broken moments i still carry.
a slow letting go.
i expect to see it open wide its arms any day.
just in case.
it is sunday morning and we have had rain all weekend.
in the house on the corner it is 2 a.m. and she comes home to intruders,
2 of them;
the she in the house on the other corner steps out to water the plants and finds someone there,
more than once,
and he has words to say to her.
another finds a thief in her garage and when she yells at him,
he yells back with names and obscenities and continues thieving.
the house 2 doors down has a vehicle violated and we thank god it was only the car.
on twitter, the women talk of peace, say we've been conditioned to fear, that guns can never be the answer, and i wonder where they live, what their stories are, and understand once again the always neverending truth of my outsiderness from poetry and art, because what i know to be true is that, after a gathering of women - outside in the night, discussing these current events under the stars - the women with guns went home to a sound sleep and peace of mind. the first she, she of that first house on the corner, fled for the night to somewhere she thought safe. the second she slept not at all.
and so begins the real truthtelling.
october bloomed with these red flowers, as she always does.
there is a cinderella pumpkin in the back of the jeep, full of dreams and secret stories to be told.
i am thinking of campfires, nights under skies filled with stars and friends.
last night autumn showed up on the wind, blowing in with cooler air and falling leaves, scrubbing away the last of the last sticky warm summer air, and i thought at last. autumn. october. at last i understand you. suddenly i am ready, never mind that baseball is still here and being played. that first true wind of autumn changed my mind. all the fans in the house are off and i am even wearing socks.
this is why i draw my own map. new roads show up when i least expect them and demand exploration. this morning's road is birdless, quiet. skyecat is burrowed under art papers in a basket, recuperating from a cat fight last night. there is a bundle of twigs in a vase near the door, white candles gathered in an old egg basket. the backyard is polka dotted with mushrooms. last week i could not have drawn this road.
this past week has been filled with work and dreams. giant red hawks guarding my home, filling the trees, silent, still. my mother again. she shows up all the time, but the hawks are new dream creatures. perhaps i felt autumn coming. perhaps i knew these flowers would bloom. today looms small and wonderful in front of me. breakfast. laundry. a bit of housecleaning. dark chocolate. i promised my aunt i would visit; she wants an old painting of mine, and i said yes.
it's october. the magic begins.
again and always.
magic understands baby steps.