“Do you know," Peter asked, "why swallows build in the eaves of houses? It is to listen to the stories.” ~ J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan

8.05.2015

truth and mirrors


july has slipped away, and it is august, and i've been so silent.  at least on written pages - my heart and hands have been noisy and too busy, full of aches, falling easily into exhaustion.  the painting continues, the floor almost done, but the paint cans are empty and i am out of money, so a pause.  for some of us, that's how real life is.  you pay insurance with the last of rolled up quarters and a couple of ten dollar bills, and you don't buy cheerios because you can't afford milk.  there are days i don't write because (very small voice) sometimes i don't believe.  that things will get better, that the floors will be finished, that i will have money enough to pay the rent, that i can get through the hard times.  they seem endless.  i am sure more days than not that the road i somewhere turned down was the wrong one, that the arrow showing me the way was spun by the wind and never mind that i like the unknown roads. sometimes they are hard and the sun is hot in my face and sweat drips into the last of the paint.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

broken limbs fall and settle into trees, reaching out, pushing the side mirrors of my jeep closed; his isolation now also mine.  plywood is the only bridge across the washed out waterway that crosses the trail to his house, dry for now, but not forever.  alcohol and medicine and the rent he pays for a shack he only sleeps in swallow his money; electricity is a here again gone again luxury.  his broke down car is his daytime home; the sunshine is free and he can read if he can find his glasses, but it is also hot and there are mosquitoes in the chin high grass. he does laundry by hand with water from the well, drapes his clothes across the car to dry, and leaves them there for days.  he says to me how can i live like this? and he worries about just making it to next week, and i have no way to help, though i try.  i drive him to other places he can afford, places where the landlords stick to their promises to mow the lawn, where the roof isn't falling in, where there are no holes in the floors, but i know he won't move, that the only help he wants is money i don't have, a mother i cannot be.

he sleeps through the mornings until the heat in his house wakes him and pushes him outside, pushes him to the store to buy beer and an overpriced newspaper that only tells half the story.

no phone, no pool, no pets, unless you count the last of the cats that still sometimes shows up, but who now lives mostly at his landlord's house where it has a different name - even that has been taken from him, though he still uses the name he chose for her.  every trip to see him, surprising him out of his car, is harder.  i am sharp with him, angry he has let this happen, sharp with myself later, crying as i crawl the jeep back through the trees.

i wonder how much of this story, his story, i should tell, how much i can tell, and i come back home and when i had paint, i continued to paint the floor.  my meditation.  but now?  this pause.  

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

the sun hits the newly painted part of the floor and the house is lighter.  it seems to float.  when the floor is finally finished, next come the bedroom walls.  paint samples are taped to the spot where the light changes the most and i watch those changes from morning to evening.  the original choice has been tossed, and the color i like the least during the early part of day is the one i like the most by late afternoon.  it goes soft and i like that.  i need that.  i need a cocoon, a womb, hands to hold me.  i need the light on my skin.

i need a nest high in the treetops.

in the meantime, during this pause, i am using up the small cans of white paint i always have.  mirror frames, baseboards, an antique arched door i've had forever.  i'm letting the original green paint go.  i will start with white and see where it takes me.  i will make mistakes.  maybe.  i know what i need in that treetop nest - it's not much, it's less than i used to think - and i know how to get there.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

20 comments:

  1. Oh, how this resonates with me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. i'm so glad i'm not alone, but i hope one day to write about how easy everything is, and have that also resonate with you. :) till then . . .

      Delete
  2. I have been waiting forever for you to wait a blog post! lol

    ReplyDelete
  3. Silence is part of the process; words need quiet time to find their rhythm. Even when you don't believe, the words are inside searching; they always have faith in us. Most of us are broke, but the words are the wealth inside, and so we believe, and find solace in each other's story.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. even when i don't believe, i know deep inside i do. i know there is an end to the hardness even when i can't see it. and i go silent, and you are right - the words are there, finding their rhythm. the movement of everyday life helps even i think it doesn't.

      Delete
  4. I love that you are painting that door, antique and arched and who knows where it will take you.

    And I saw this quote just this morning, and now I'm smiling a little: “To be fully alive, fully human, and completely awake is to be continually thrown out of the nest.” ~Pema Chödrön

    xoxo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. oh my. that door. it was once perfect, as all old things are. and then a scared lily cat knocked it over and that was the first break. and then i moved it back to my house from my workplace and that was the 2nd and 3rd breaks. and then another scared cat, skye this time, and break number 4. (all the breaks make it more perfect, truth be told.) it's time to make it a true part of my home.

      i love that quote. she is right. this new nest will one day toss me out, and i will remember that.

      Delete
  5. Start with white and see where that takes me. You write so beautifully, even of paint, and even of pain. I hope things improve. It seems to me that every day walking, every lit day, every hope in the heart, is the best and most wonderful space to be in.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. in which you are right. it is just one of those times - everything crashing together at once. i am grateful it happens as seldom as it does. (and things are already improving. that exhale you hear is mine.) :)

      Delete
  6. We hold your place for you, when you are silent, beleiving and knowing and waiting for you.

    ReplyDelete
  7. those who comment seem to know you well, your heart, your motivation, your joy, your sorrow. I come here late at night, early morning, really, after finding you, dear writer, in bella grace. your words, your voice, are familiar as heartbeats, my heartbeats. A bold statement to be sure because your writing is lofty and lovely, sowing beauty from pain. "there are some days I don't write because (very small voice) i don't believe.". i understand this well. i am glad i chose to meet you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. as am i. and flattered. i am always happy to meet someone who knows me only from bella grace, that beautiful magical magazine - i like when someone ventures over here and discovers that for all of us, there are these times. when the magic of ordinary days goes into hiding, or when we stop looking, when we struggle to still believe.

      this morning a heat wave is beginning to settle in to the area and sunshine is pouring into the house, and skye cat is asleep in her lately favorite spot. the bills i worried about somehow managed to be paid and there is money left over for paint and milk and cheerios. 3 days ago that seemed impossible. :)

      so nice to meet you!!

      Delete
  8. I have been reading you quietly for some time without commenting because I like to get to know a blog and the person behind the blog first. You write beautifully and with feeling even when things aren't going your way. I loved your little story too which sounds as if it is about a real person which I found very moving.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. thank you so much. so much. the small story is about a real person and i question myself constantly when i write about him. how much is okay to say out loud? how much of his story is my story also? it's a line i try to walk carefully.

      Delete
  9. I have missed you. When you escape your self induced silence, and pour out your heart, we wait for the words. And tears form, as your house takes paint, and your man sinks deeper. Life is not always pretty.
    But your words tell it so well.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. i feel i should mention that the man in my small stories is one of my brothers. i don't want anyone thinking it's the ever-wonderful michael, who always has my back when i must deal with this kind of stuff. i couldn't do it without him.

      xoxox

      Delete
    2. I thought he was simply a stranger, one of the neighbors. it must make it ever harder for you that he is your brother. I always loved it when you wrote about the man across the road, as I could picture him in your words. One of the best a writer can do is describe, that we may actually visualize from the words. I am always pleased when I see the words the ever-wonderful-Michael. we 'know' him from your words.

      Delete
    3. it is hard. but you do what you can. some days are just harder than others. and the man across the road is still there, which makes me very happy. :)

      Delete

come. sit under the emma tree & let's talk. i have cookies . . .