Is it every really too early to introduce your children to the works of Quentin Tarantino? was the question I put to my husband. He answered in the affirmative. Of course I suspected he would, but I am unsettled lately by all the things we never know. Is it possible to be sure-footed about anything? This week I took a walk through the woods and fell down four times, placing my feet wrong in the leaves obscuring the narrow path. I will leave you to draw out the metaphor.
I am feeling less superstitious, or less worshipful, about the turn of the seasons than I usually do. I have no urge to write about shedding with the leaves, to construct little idols out of stone. I am confused about many things. Why does our society sometimes view forgiveness as a weakness? Why do I move across the country in July and then not feel homesick until 9:30 pm on Halloween night, when my daughters are snuggled up safely with their father watching The Mummy, albeit with far less candy than I'd hoped?
My parents came to visit for a week, and when my mom went through the gate in the fence and climbed the green hill to our neighbor's house, she said something like, "You said bonfire. That's just a plain old firepit." And she's right. But what if the truth of the emotional resonance of a moment is better expressed by "bonfire" than by "firepit"? Our lives are less about what happens to us than the stories we tell ourselves about what happened, and a blog is a chance to create a reality. Moving to Carolina was a magic time, a time of alchemy and sometimes, I have to omit the gritty details in order to give you a feel for the holy transformation of the experience. If I tell you only that the forest is green and buggy, I rob you of the magic. If I say it is tropical, like paradise, you begin to feel the spirit of the place.
I will trust you to infer the bugs.
What I have is the legend of what happened in October: my family reunited, my surprise baby turned eight, we celebrated, we ate and drank, (we worried about money) we wore sweaters and passed through scarlet archways. My parents came to visit, I was so glad to see them, (they drove me crazy), I dropped them off at the airport and cried all the way home. I started walking in to doorways, I wrote stories about characters (I wrote stories about my life). Say October was dreamy and sun-spun, like golden fingers of light playing with fields of wheat and straw. Say it was a month of the dark and the wolves creeping in. Light your fires and cradle them. Believe what you will.
The bugs are real but so are the apples we lifted cold to our noses and snapped, sweet-smelling and firm-fleshed, in our teeth.
Last night I lay in bed thinking about Elizabeth Aquino's blog post. (It is from Elizabeth I borrow the term unbloggable.) I was sick for home, strangely displaced and aching for, of all things, Estes Park. I thought how a small part of me was homesick for my childhood home, for childhood. I thought about how one day in the future I'll be homesick for the days I'm living now, days of small children snuggled up under flannel sheets in the dark at 6:49 am on a Thursday morning. The answer, of course, is to cherish life now, but who knows how?
I mean, really.
(While you are cherishing the thing you think you have, it is spinning into something else.)