Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Last Day in the Bushes

I've lived so much of my life
In these fucking bushes.

Until today.
That's it.
I'm done.

I had carved a little home here,
Between branches,
On the earth,
Where I could do the necessitites:

It has been
And either
Too warm or too cold at night.
But it's a safe home,
I've told myself,
As I picked the dry leaves out of my hair.
Year after year after year after YEAR.

There was a look-out spot.
A hole in the bushes I made
Through which I peered out,
Looking for
What I've always most wanted to see.

I dreamt about it.
Wrote about it.
Talked about it.
Thought about it.
Cried about it.
Hoped about it.
Asked for it.
My eyes ached
From looking so hard and long

Yes: IT.
I have just been sure
That one day I would look through
That cut-out window
Of my home in the bushes
And see...
Standing there in the clearing,
At the half-way point,
Waiting for me,
Looking for me,
Perhaps calling my name.

Cheryl...I'm here.
I'm here, Cheryl.
Cheryl...I'm here.
I'm sorry it took so long, darlin'.
Cheryl ("Dear One"),
I'm sorry it took so long.
But I'm here now.
Come on out, sweetheart girl.
Come on out, my little one.
Come on out, precious woman.

is of course

(I told myself),
When I see Love/IT,
And when I hear my named called,
It will be safe to leave my home here
In the bushes
And rush
Into Love's arms.

I already know how it will smell,
I told myself.
How it will taste,
How my cheek will feel against its chest,
And just exactly exactly exactly
How it will pull me closer closer closer
Than I've ever been to anyone ever ever ever.
The peace oh the peace oh the peace that would fill me then.

Thirty four fucking years.
That's a long time.
That's fucking half a fucking life.
That's fucking a damn fucking long time to be fucking waiting.

So today I realized
I'm done.
Or really I've been realizing
I've been done
For awhile now.

But TODAY is the day
I weave letters and commas and periods
My Doneness.
This is the day I sew Doneness
To Doneness
To Doneness
I run the needle through and through and through
All the layers of Doneness
And pull the thread tight, tight, tighter.
Knot it off with a firm tug.
Cut the thread.
Sit back and let needle and scissors fall to the ground.
My Intention on my lap,

Can I borrow your bush knife, Mantuya
(My lovely Papua New Guinean friend
Who used to pick beetle larvae
From our yard with bare fingers
To sell at market and
To feed her children)?
Can I borrow your bush knife that stands
In the trunk of the banana tree?
I need it to hack this bush up.
Gonna hack it the fuck up.

Then I am going to pull what's left
Of this bush home
This fucking safe bush home
Up by the roots.
I'm leaving nothing but hard ground here.
Nothing more.
No one will know there were bushes here
Watered by tears, or
That someone spent half her life here, or
That the bare ground was a home.

And then I'm going to stride,
Mantuya's bush knife in hand,
(Because I have nothing else left to hold)
To the clearing.
I'm going to find the spot I watched.
I'm going to find that
Halfway Point,
That place I hoped It/Love would appear,
And I am going to stand there.
I'm going to lay that bush knife down
And breathe one long breath in,
And then breathe it back out.

Pause. One more long breath now, in and out.

With that air in my lungs,
I will look at all the bushes around me,
And I will feel millions of eyes
Peering out at me from behind
So many bushes.
More bushes than I can count.
I might wave a little wave and then laugh
Because look at me!
I'm standing here!
Hoooooo-weeeee....never that I'd be here!
That's funny.
That tickles me.
That's fucking funny as hell.

And I will know that behind each one
Someone crouches.
Behind one you crouch.
Behind each one someone has made
A Safe Home.
Behind one you have made
A Safe Home.
But it's pretty itchy, isn't it?
The dirt is pretty uncomfy, isn't it?
Oh I know.
Oh do I know.
Safety is uncomfy
But feels like a feather bed
When risky risky risk
Looks even MORE uncomfy.
Yes, I know.

And I will call your name.
I will call your name.
And I will call your name.
And I will call your name.
And your name.
And your name.
Your name.
YOUR name.
Not his name or her name.
YOUR name.
You'll see my tears as I holler out:

I'm sorry it took so long, my dear.
Oh I know you thought you'd always be alone.
Oh I know you thought I'd never come.
Ohhhhhhh SWEET sweet sweet...
I know you nearly gave up.
I know you did give up in moments.
Oh my lovely lovely lovely sweet sweet sweet.
I DO know.
I know the tears you cried.
The way your heart fell and fell and fell.
But I'm here now.
Yes I am!
I'm here.
You need not live in the bushes anymore.
Do I mean it?
Yes! Oh my my my my MY dear dear DEAR,
I mean it.
You can let go of that branch, love.
You can let go now.
You can just
Let GO.

You see, my dear?
Do you see?
Do you see how I've changed?
How I'm not who I was?
I mean....
But I'm not.

You see?
Let me tell you, dearest of dear ones,
What has changed -

I thought I wanted to be called FOR.
I thought I wanted to be FOUND.
I thought I wanted to be CALLED TO.

And I do. I do.
Oh how I do.
Oh the ache still aches
And still aches
And still aches.

Or rather...
But -

I'm not crouching in bushes and waiting

Come Out,
Come Out,
Wherever you are!
Yes, YOU.
Come Out!
I'm here now.

I am It.
I am Love.
And I am here.

*Photograph from HERE. I ordered a print of this photo and adore it.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

One Decade

I'm standing on a threshhold.

My big girl just turned ten. TEN. omg.

Tomorrow my baby boy starts kindergarten.

Today is not just Emily's birthday, but it's also marks a decade of parenting.

This decade has been both the best and the hardest decade of my entire life.

Emily asked me yesterday if I liked being a kid better, or being an adult. I said, "Being an adult, for SURE."

What a decade. I started being a Mama ten years ago, at 24. Today I can hardly believe I'm 34 and I have a TEN-YEAR-OLD. It's cliche for a reason: "It's HAS gone by so fast."

Today is also a marker of ten years of parenting "itty bitties." I've been mothering my less-than-school-age kids for a decade and tomorrow when I take my baby to kindergarten, I will go home to an empty house.

I'm not sad, though. I am excited. I WILL cry tomorrow when I close the car door and look back at the empty car seats. But I will be just as proud as I am weepy.

I'm proud of my kids. I'm proud of who they are. I love their spirits. I love the people that they are. I love that they are smart, kind, silly, strong, loving, stubborn as hell...and so much more. I'm proud to send these people out into the world. I'm so very proud to be their Mama. I love them so much.

And I'm proud of myself, too.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Some Good Questions

I've heard and read it said, in innumerable places, that life isn't so much about finding "the answers" as it is about "asking the right questions."

Cue sigh.

Of course I know this is true, in a "head knowledge" sort of way. I know it in the same way I know that I should change the oil in my car every few months.

Tonight I asked James a question in a tone I didn't quite intend but that ended up being exactly the right one, judging by the look in his eyes and his answer. And it got me thinking....

What are the questions I most want to be asked?

Here are some I came up with:

- "Do you need a cup of tea?" (asked in the same tone you might ask someone who looks upset, "Can I help you?")
 - "What do you need?" (then wait for an answer)

- "Do you know how attractive you are?" (then explain just exactly how)

- "Do you feel understood?" (if this prompts tears, know that the answer is "no," and determine to "get it," even if it takes all night, all month, all year or your whole life)

- "Would you like a back rub?" (then listen for the happy sighs and the little noises that mean you've found a sore spot that needs working on)
- "What did you most want when you were six?" (if this prompts tears, hold the Other as if they are six, and respond in kind)

- "What do you want more than anything?" (asked in the same tone you might ask, "What sort of jam would you like on your toast?" and then dig your knife into that jar)

- "Do you know why I love you?" (then tell the Other all the things you see when you look at their Real Selves, as if you are painting a picture in great detail, making sure they SEE it as clearly as you do)
My fingers pause now. In the silence, I hear the sound of traffic in the freeway bed next to our house.

I am thinking about how much I want to be asked those questions.

My next thought is that (of course!) the above list is a perfect guide to showing my loved ones how I love them, something infinitely more significant than simply saying, "I love you," although of course it's nice to hear that, too.

The thought after that comes from a new place inside of me...

What if the above list is composed of questions I can ask myself? After all, don't I know by now (please, for the love...if you have learned anything, Cheryl...) that waiting for others to love me "enough" that I can finally see and know my own value, is like waiting for everyone in the world to be served dinner before I take my first bite; wait long enough and half the world will be eating breakfast already.


Though I have been asked almost every single one of those questions at some point in my life, at least once, and I can say without a morsel of equivocation that I will never be asked those questions "enough" in this life, I also know that I need not


So I offer myself some tea. And the taste of the tea is no less sweet than if someone else offered it to me. And I breathe in the delicious pleasure that that is. It is ... a different kind of pleasure.

And I find...

I didn't stir the honey in well enough, so the last sips are soooooooooooooosweeeeeeet


It satisfies a craving I didn't know I had

Until now.

*photo here