Wednesday, August 17, 2011

dog days aren't over

There are so many amazing things about southern Louisiana. The list is endless-creole food, lavender twilights, golden haze, goes on an on. Unfortunately, there is a huge drawback-the stifling, killer, 100% humidity heat. We are all boiling like crawfish in a pot here, and it makes everyone indolent and irritable. Faulker wrote about the heat of the deep south, even personified it sometimes-many authors have-and indeed it is a prescence, alive in its insidious high noon attack and gentle in moonlit cicada evenings. Sadly, school has begun and the kiddos are bouncing off of one another like overcharged atoms colliding, and I can't seem to keep it cool enough to soothe their flaring summer tempers. Where is autumn already? I can't wait for the arctic breezes.
Autumn has always been my favorite time of year. I know holidays are the obvious choice, but the moment I step outside and feel a crisp morning breeze break through the burning heat. That moment is always so thrilling to me, I feel it in my toes. I tingle with delight, anticipation, and the same sepia toned reel runs through my head, as it has since I was a little girl: football, bonfires, pumpkins, Thanksgiving feasts, Charlie Brown specials,hot dogs at the superdome, my dad cooking huge pots of gumbo and stew to keep of the chill. Jackets, sweaters, caps. A feeling of freedom and the imminence of Christmas. It's a glow, a relief, and a deep breath of joy. Another autumn, with the endless possibilities cooler weather brings to the broiling swamps.
And another evocative autumn experience...the halls of my son's elementary school, which bring to mind so many autumns of my own childhood. A different town, a different place, but the smells and the sound are strangely the same. It was so bittersweet to be there, to be waiting for him while sitting in a tiny chair, to be meeting the eyes of so many other mothers, to be feeling like I was in a surreal window of time-seeing so clearly the transition from toddler to boy, knowing I've lived every day that came in between but still feeling as if something has slipped from my hand and passed me by. I never imagined I would feel quite so nostalgic and sentimental, those being emotions I don't regularly associate with progress and change in my life. I usually don't look back for fear of turning into a pillar of salt, and getting stuck in the interim. I move forward fearlessly. But this tiny human has changed all of my inner logistics, and I'm a soft-centered melting pool of emotion wathcing him charm everyone he meets and yelp excitedly at his new "cafeterium" (he said, all aglow, "mom, look! a BUFFET"!) I'm still laughing inside at his excitement.
We all want life to be smooth and seamless, when the truth is the mistakes and gaffes and strains really do produce amazing results. Sometimes even more beautiful for all their chaos and flash than the long worked for dreams and safeguarded hopes. It's easy to love what we planned for and hard to embrace the moments we are out of control--but spinning wildly and without one hand on the gears can be such a refreshing release of inertia and ego.
Summer had me in a daze, recovering from an insanely hectic few months. I unwound and found a place of deep solitude--when my son was away and my partner working long hours, I would breathe silence and stillness in like oxygen. Meditation and yoga became good friends, and for the first time since pregnancy I felt like I connected with every part of my body, down to my toes. The heat was almost sophorific, and it helped to press me into my deepest interiors, to lull me into the most profound serenity. The cathedrals inside were suffused with bright sunbeams, and I watched from the shadows, the warm light making patterns on my hidden soul. Now that time has passed-more quickly than imagined-and I am coming awake, the opposite of hibernation, post-processing all of the changes, ready for a fresh, crisp new beginning. Like the notebooks and pencils of my youth, the just bought supplies and books that held the promise of potential--I am ready to begin again, having passed through the fire and been re-born like a phoenix, alive in my new skin.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


It's funny how deeply our habits and rituals influence us, leave their intaglios on the shore of our lives. I always look to the fresh start, the new day, the beginning. Inspiration comes in a rush of knowing that the horizon will be different tomorrow, or Monday, or in the new year. I'm always prepared to shuck off the old and bring in the new in the name of innovation and progress. It's the way that I feel renewed and phoenix-like in my rebirth.
Sadly, I'm not as good as continuing on the enlightened path, and the brave new world seems to fizzle and morph back into the bemoaned one of yesterday. It's difficult to make new habits, carve new pathways, and believe you can live in the brigher light. But I feel like the last few years of tectonic shift have finally led to a breakthrough. The light is coming through, the clouds are clearing. I've developed a newfound appreciation for my family, for my health and body, and for love. I think that my engagement was the first step to a lot of this release. Love makes you vulnerable and strong enough to face yourself , and allows you to begin to peel back all of the layers that have kept you numb and safe from any real life experiences. It's funny, you can travel, you can have a child, you can have so many amazing friends and lead this whirwind social life and still be completely cut off and barely conscious. I think after my pregnancy I annihilated my sensitivities, I ate drank and smoked them away, I used anyone who seemed intruiging to distract me from the depth of my sorrow and to shield my from the requisite pain of living. Anything to relax and be cool and shrug off the stress. And it was some stressful, make no mistake. It was a heap of troubles. And I think I bought into the idea that ironclad strength was to be valued above anything; that armoring my body and soul, keeping them cloaked in layers of impermeability, was the only way to succeed. I lost so much of my soul along the way, so much of my passion. But lost is the wrong word--it's never lost, it's just out of touch, buried inside, beneath all of the rubble of the massive destruction you've waged against your own life.
So now I'm an archeologist, and it's compelling and exhausting :) I don't believe there's anything as vital as unearthing your true self. That has to be part of the reason we are here, anyway. I love Abraham-Hicks (google it) because it's beautiful to believe that we really do create our reality by knowing what our pure desires are and using them as springboards into possibility--endless possibility. Thailand taught me that nothing is impossible. So many miracles occured there, on so many levels. I know that all I must to is release what I do not want and call what I do want to me, to my soul. I did it with love and now I must to it with life. Nothing is too much or too hard or too far. Nothing is out of reach.

A man's reach must exceed his grasp, or what's a heaven for?