"May you live all the days of your life."--Jonathan Swift--
Intermittent rain slicked streets this morning, humid air thick with honeysuckle and pollen smearing gold all over damp skin. Inspired by driving with the windows down lately over roads wreathed with trees, that smell of soft quiet must of decaying leaves on the forest floor...a break from the perfume of the season. I am noticing everything--like a switch has been thrown inside of me and now color has been punched up a few levels, senses reeling, I am channeling everything because I am slowing down. I'm opening up and paying attention.
This week--a week of small Summer gifts. Swimming with the children at the local pool, chlorine in our hair and sun on our faces. I have cut the cord on this computer and run outside with my arms outstretched like the roots of my hair are on fire. Grading countless papers, answering my students' rapid-fire questions. They are trembling with nervous energy with several big projects looming and I am trying to take their hands and walk them through gently. This is easy when they are positive and upbeat--difficult when we're all tired and stressed and bleak about the amount of work to be done, for them and for me. I haven't heard about the book from my editor yet...haven't heard about the magazine (though it is supposed to be reformatted and running very soon--good news since it looked as though it may not be for a brief time)...I have several articles in the works. A busy, humming hive of activity. Instead of being the worker bee--I've veered off course. Instead of being worried about this--I'm celebrating it. When you are offered Summer's gifts--like the wild daisies picked by my babies in the yard and dropped in my lap by Petunia's elegant cradle of hands, boy-o's open eager fist, and Rosie's curious glancing fingertips--take them.
This week--M. and I went to Philadelphia to see a concert with my brother and his girlfriend, J. We hit a little Irish pub for dinner first--so dark and womblike inside, opening up onto a brick walled patio tucked in the back with no one else there. We sat down, drank a couple of drinks, ate, and talked about symbols, astrology, work, intelligence, stress, and life in general. Such sweet conversation...I sat there and looked at them and the trailing green vines and the chipped paint walls and knew love was a gritty flowering thing. The city draws energy up and out of me--nature fills me and slows me down. Whenever I visit D. in his city of choice, I feel myself rise. Too much of this and it would be bad for me--short jaunts cut with the green spaces of home and I'm alive.
I love the sticky rattling cabs with the drivers my brother compulsively tries to speak to who don't usually understand English and repeat, "Huh?" every time he comments on something. The cobblestone side-streets and throngs of people streaming over them. I love the pink haired boys and the tattooed girls--the old men with their glittering smiles and the mothers leading savvy city kids seamlessly over the cracks in the sidewalk. The dogs on chains, the honking cars, South Street's gum-studded trees. James Hunter's music was funky and hot--Jackie Greene's was powerful and cool. We let ourselves feel the music's vibration--watched the men sweat and create and give it all they had...the magic of a good show--then, like twin Cinderellas--midnight, and M. and I dragging our tattered rags home.
Summer gifts--I'm sinking deeply into what is, right here where I am. Amazing how much less of a ghost skimming over my life I feel when I actually knock some things off my "to-do" list and just play. Sitting in little Main Street cafes writing down my loose, blowsy thoughts--tucking into a possible second novel so unlike my first--catching up with my family and some dear friends--Book gluttony, I am drunk on so many words...a challenge to myself to read some books I thought of as "hard" way back when to see if this sentiment still holds true these years later...or if my eyes have changed. I'm sketching in a cheap unlined notebook, impossibly ugly people with crooked noses and unintended Surrealist eyes. My mind empties when I draw them--I do it with the children climbing over me, while I'm talking on the phone or watching the baby on the swing in the front yard. Unlike what often happens with my words, I don't have any plans for these faces. They are just for me, just for fun. All painters should keep writing notebooks, all writers should fool with charcoal and acrylic, bankers should take up gardening, and gardeners should read Physics textbooks. Old women should wear loud, shiny lipstick...young women should try out comfortable shoes instead of stilettos and run over the grass in the heat of the afternoon. Parents should play hooky and go neck in a parked car after dark and single folks should babysit for the evening just to fill their perfectly-ordered houses with the cluttered mess of laughing children. We should be dangerous, out-of-the-ordinary, and a little wild...
It is Summer...