Monday, August 2, 2010

Random Meanderings

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice--
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
"Mend my life!"
each voice cried.
But you didn't stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do--
determined to save
the only life you could save.
- Mary Oliver, The Journey

I've been absent from my writing, from my on-line life, for about one and half weeks. I'm here this week, and then will be gone again the next. Such is summer. It's both wonderful and somehow melancholy. I feel a bit disjointed from myself. And I've been torn between my desire to enjoy the languid days that summer lies at my feet and my desire to return to the normalcy that the fall brings. I'm craving the smudged edge, hazy memories of summer--lake days, sand days, play days, moments unfolding onto the next--yet dreading the schlep of shit and stuff that makes those memories so. When we go to the lake (which necessitates bringing chairs, food, boogie boards, towels, umbrella, toys and children, I look like a walking freak show. I get indentations on my shoulders (lasting for hours) from the straps of the laden beach bags.) Does this make me a slightly tanned, summery-bitchy Grinch?

And then, I judge myself. The pounding of the judgments reverberate like the gavel in a courtroom. Bad mommy for not liking the trek through the parking lot. Bad mommy for not wanting to spend every moment with my children. HELLO? I know how that drama ends... beating myself down is so very counterproductive.

A dear friend said that maybe this particular summer heeds me to slow down. Lollygag. Putter. Hmmmm. I suspect she's right, yet, I'm not always that good at that.
Clearly my uncharacteristically prickly response to the loveliness of summer and the tons of togetherness with my kids hints at something... and I think, after rambling along here today, that it's fairly simple: I need more time for me. I want to traipse by myself for awhile. I want, as Mary Oliver beautifully writes, to allow the stars to burn through my clouds. I've gotta find quiet to be able to go deep, deep, deeper. And when I journey to save the only life I can...I hope, that after my inward trip, I will deliver myself to the present. And my kids.

I get the sense that I sit on the precipice of a metamorphosis. That I will shed some layers and shift. Tears and thoughtful contemplation will be involved--it will be transformative. I must continue to listen, heed my soul and the laziness that summer brings. I've gotta be open...and be there to appreciate the change--and it's catalyst--when it comes. Even if I'm wobbling down to the lake with teetering beach supplies strapped to my head. Even if I'm swearing under my breath. It takes all moments to save the one life I can.

5 comments:

Lindsey said...

Adore this poem and think about it all the time. As I drove to New York last week to hear Dani Shapiro talk, I listened to Mary Oliver read her poems (i HIGHLY RECOMMEND the CD) and ... just, wow. Incredible.
xo

Justine said...

Beautiful poem. I read this for the first time early this year and it has haunted me ever since. It has inspired me to look deeper and I've since learned to be braver and more honest with my reflections.

It's a perfect springboard for a journey to ourselves. Thank you for sharing this.

Heather of the EO said...

Me. too.

ModernMom said...

Oh I do understand this. As the summer gets longer I too lose my voice to my children's needs. Such is the life of a Mommy! :)
I'm trying to embrace the crazy of sumer knowing it will pass too quickly.

Andrea said...

I so totally relate! I'd love to experience more time for myself ... much like the lazy days of my childhood summers when my mom was doing the schlepping of stuff. My poor mom! I so appreciate what she went through... more than ever before.