The Yellow House
I woke with a strong sense of Dad in the Yellow House descending the creaking stair in his white button-down shirt and khaki shorts, holding the sturdy rails. I miss him, gone now for a year and three months. I miss the world that orbited him like moons and rings. Polished mahogany, candlesticks, boats, dressing for dinner, music and conversation, winding a ticking clock. Bits of his being-ness linger in those details. I follow that trail, groping my way into our love—that quiet, secret garden.
Worlds orbit the people we love. It is the magnetism drawing the table, the light of the afternoon, the movement, words, sounds, and smells into a whole. A museum never has this feeling. It is never enlivened, no matter how beautifully arranged. Read more
A childhood friend calls complaining about losing her once-upon-a-time ability to go full-out for twelve hours a day. I had so much energy! Not now. I think we all have to limit how much comparative looking back we do. We can get into a peevish resentment about aging, as if it is a personal affront, rather than moving into the next chapter. I mean, is age really such a surprise? Our house of memories needs culling. It’s a discipline. A little remembrance is fine. A few important, rich memories. I am tolerant of obsessing and redundancy—our rehearsing of the self, making sure we are still who we think we are—but if we rehearse this too much we miss who we are becoming. Read more
We often explore who we are in solitude. Physical solitude, on a woodsy walk or in a quiet room, is one avenue. Side-by-side solitude is another. I derive extraordinary comfort and pleasure from a chunk of time spent connecting fully to my truest self, uninterrupted, with my eyes closed, Read more
My round, fibrous-fatty-blood-coated* heel bone meets the gritty bottom first, then my step rolls fluidly along the footsole, smooth as frosting under the soft press of a spatula. The sole expands as I move through the step, but very little because I am in water up to my chest and weigh almost nothing to my legs. Read more
I’ve collected six months of Facebook posts documenting the mending process following Total Hip replacement surgery. My first surgery was on July 7th replacing the left hip. Surgery #2 on the right side was on September 8th. The posts often celebrate milestones. I haven’t filled this writing out yet. It is really just notes, but they give a sense of how many small bits need to be recovered and how long that can take. Read more
Ravenrock is named Ravenrock because it has ravens and rocks. That’s my elevator speech—or I guess now my tweet. But of course there is more to the story. What’s in a name? Hope. Intention. A way to disguise or heighten the truth of the named entity. The Sufis chant the ‘names’ of the Divine. The chanting is called remembrance. Saying the names—which are generally attribute, like ‘contentment’, or ‘compassion’—means remembering the Source by aligning with and embodying the attribute. Read more
Four of us met for Sufi Movement Meditation and Tea last Friday. It was early afternoon in crisp, late autumn when light fades quickly. The first snow, the way we love it, feathery and delicate, glittered on the few leaves still clinging in the shrubbery. The dusting gives us time to switch gears into the darkest, coldest season.
Professional dancers. I have been unable to look at these ‘athletes of God’. My gaze crawls out of my tissues’ sensation and drags a film over my eyeballs. I see the dancer mistily, pulled back from what my eyes would otherwise seize. I’m in ocular purdah. Read more
I am finally allowed, post surgery, to submerge in water. Yesterday, my PT took place in the pool, my body moving fully, my tissues rousing from torpor. This morning I wake, my dreams forgotten but with the pleasurable feeling of having dreamt. When I have movement during my day, I dream at night, as if dreams coil in my body, waiting for the quiet of sleep to emerge. I snuggle under the covers, watching a soft sky above crowns of thinning, yellowed treetops, and savoring the departure of lost dreams, secretly glad they are lost because I don’t need more filigree cluttering my mind or flesh. In the basement, the furnace kicks on dispelling early day chill.
Over this summer I was forced to not contribute to ‘society’, because I couldn’t. I had permission from all the world and from myself to survive surgery, to rest, to mend, and to stop feeling that I ought to do anything else. Of course, this tribulation has had quite an effect on me. As I gradually depart from that invalid condition, questions bubble up: What to do next? Who am I now? Should I reflexively return to who I was before, or am I no longer that person? Read more