Monday, September 10, 2012

The Direction I Go

I was almost too nervous to watch the game last night, because if we don't take Peyton Manning all the way to the Super Bowl, I'm going to feel personally responsible. I don't know if it's because I'm the oldest child or because I was raised to fear authority, making me nervous and formal around anyone who owns anything, has a job that requires a uniform, or was born before 1960. Needless to say, I will never be hiring entrepreneurial male fantasy strippers. Look, this is not the direction I intended this to go.

On Saturday here in Brevard there was the Mountain Song music festival. It just happens to be put on by an old friend of Dale, of Dale's Pale Ale fame. We saw Dale riding his bike on the way to the fest, and since then every time they see a cyclist, my girls shout, "Hi, Dale!" It's not my fault they're stupid, I didn't drink beer when I was pregnant. I stuck to wine coolers in the third trimester only, so we're in the clear. If the baby's gonna get brain damage from a sparkling beverage named "Peach Malibu Fuzz", it's the baby's own fault, I say. I may have just lost half my audience.

I am tired of going everywhere without my husband. I almost didn't go to Mountain Song. Then my new friend Amy called and said she was there, and she was stuck with her kids as well, so we might as well be stuck together. In the end, I got to see Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers, and then stand in the rain with a bunch of other parents, our kids recreating Woodstock in the mud while we told each other how much we'd like to JUST SIT DOWN for more than 2.5 seconds. I drank two Dale's Pales Ales, drove my kids home, bathed them and fed them cookies for dinner and then fell into an enchanted sleep. I dreamt of a strange labyrinth that I've visited before in my dreams and was out solid until twelve noon, which is how I know the Peyton Man-child visited me in my sleep to make sure that I was rested for the game, which would last until nearly midnight eastern.

 My skin in this photo is brought to you by Picasa's "Orton" effect. 
This is a full disclosure blog, after all.

Indy's eyes are brought to you by 
her mother's first-trimester offering
of salt and bone.

But here the narrative shifts. It was noon on Sunday and a gorgeous day. 65 degrees and sunny, a cool breeze coming down Cedar Mountain. Let's get some bagels and go for a drive, I told my girls. Two hours later, we were not on a drive. I was on the phone with my husband, telling him that Ayla had colored a balloon with blue Sharpie and then managed to transfer that blue Sharpie onto the couch, the coffee table, the white breakfast table, and my sweet yellow vintage chair. Maybe the Malibu Fuzz got to her after all. It's a beautiful day, I told him, and I'm too mad to savor it. I knew that day I would drink my first pumpkin ale. I wanted him there to make green chili, to cheer on Peyton, to splash with the girls in the stream and show them bugs and mushrooms and spiderwebs. Also I was covered in bug bites, scratching and scratching. This seems pertinent.

Here is one of my unfortunate traits: the desire to prove my fearful heart right by stubbornly remaining unhappy. A black pit had settled in my chest. There was much of me that wanted to stay home, keep the girls in their rooms, miss the glorious day. I don't know why. I'm learning to resist that part of me. A deeper wisdom said to go, and so we did. I read in a book recently in which the author said that happiness is a place you either arrive or you don't, by happenstance. I know this to be untrue. Happiness is a thing you choose, and I have to keep choosing it. Despite all the fearful whisperings. Despite what I have to prove.

Up in the woods, the moss covered trunks gripped the earth like witch fingers with the claws dug in. There is so much that children must do, in the forest. They must step barefoot into golden water. They must go down the beckoning paths. They must gather acorns and yellow leaves and arrange them on rock-altars, offerings for spirits in the trees. I imagined what it would be like, to live in this world of river and leaf and stone, rather than the world of car and bank and parking lot. Good god, the day was like a peach from the ice box. Cool and sweet and dripping with rosy heaven.You have to let the world break your heart, split you open. You have to let the blue sky heal it.


  1. So much to savor here and laugh about and exclaim over. You haven't lost me -- I'm reminded that you liked my comment on my own blog that I wanted to mock my boys when they looked so ridiculous in a picture I took of them. It's amazing that they make it to adulthood, isn't it?

  2. I fall more deeply in love with your writing every time I read it. Seriously.

    SO TRUE, by the way, that we sort of want to prove our fearful hearts right, isn't it?? I do that too. You're not alone. But I have determined to step away from that habit recently, kind of related to the Worry Door. And so I absolutely agree with you that happiness is a choice. Sometimes it is more easily made than others, but still.
    Moss like witch's fingers? The mandates of life in the forest? Beautiful. Please mail me those sun dresses soon, ok? And good job with the bone offerings that gave your little girl such breathtaking eyes. xoxo Wishing you your long waited companion sooner rather than later!

  3. I searched out your blog from your profile because I just had to tell you I LOVED your comment on CJane's post about being against Twilight. Such an excellent point!

  4. "You have to let the blue sky heal it."

    Oh boy. Amen, sister.

    Peach Malibu fuzz? Her own fault, I say.

  5. I did love that comment of yours, Elizabeth. I'm so glad you reminded me of it and now I love it all over again.

    Thank you, Marie. Thanks also for letting me know I'm not the only one.

    Whitney, thanks so much for seeking me out to say so! Gosh darn, I love Cjane.

  6. I love the idea of choosing happiness. Yet I'm the first to admit that a wayward Sharpie would make that choice exceedingly difficult. So well written.

  7. You know what? You and they have already said it, right? I'll chime in anyway.
    My worst demon is the one who sets out to prove I'm right when everything is all wrong. I wrestle that sucker almost daily.

    I want your husband to be home with you and the girls again. I want you not to have to go places by yourself. I want that to be done now for you. It's odd (maybe creepy? I hope not. I don't mean to be creepy.) to want something so badly for someone you've never met. But so.

  8. I went outside yesterday. I looked up at the sky and I allowed the healing in. It's better that way.


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