starting a new thing tomorrow i say to the jade plant on the table next to me and the bouquet of wildflowers in the mason jar and the leftover pound cake on a plastic tray that someone must have brought to the party on Friday and no one had finished eating since then
how it wouldn’t be a big deal, starting a new thing but also how many new things have i started. 3 different jobs. just in one year? 4 different homes. how many times will i pack up everything? not to mention the other countries, and my big (and heavy) red backpack, and all of the buses. last fall. then the (stillness and agitation of) winter. and then come spring i must have memorized at least a hundred
new names of kids that came through every week to learn with me in the woods of the berkshires
i call mw as i’m walking to find some woods around five o clock, and i leave a voicemail message for her that wanders and when i hang up i start singing one of her songs- not hers, but the ones that she taught me, the ones that we sang
together sitting on her couch in her
house in the prairie, a little less than a year ago when i rested my
travel weary body in her living room for 10 days to watch the colors change and the lake water turn cold.
in the dream the girl is five years old, and it is clear that i had abandoned her. she looks up at me with her blue green eyes as if she’s asking the hardest question in the world, and i feel the pressure of whatever it was i had done weighing down on my chest.
kneeling in the wet ground i plant the
the ones i had started on my windowsill in june, the ones now with root bound bottoms all interlaced and overgrown, craning their still strong stems upward to see the sun and i say
that it took me this long to find bare earth to plant them. and the drizzling rain christens their new home.
but they’re not from around here, m, who is 6, says
about the gypsy moths, when i stop him from smashing a crowd of them that we find on the giant oak tree. well, are you from around here? i ask him, to which he nods emphatically, not understanding a connection. but why don’t they just go back to where they came from?! he says angrily. it’s just a little more complicated than that, i say, and we walk to catch up with the rest of the group entering into the woods.
how I am struck
with tenderness towards the
arrangement of objects
that i’ve just arranged on the
small white shelf of a
small white bookcase,
as i step back to look at how it appears from
a bell, a glossy brown seed of a lucuma fruit, a rusty metal figurine of kokopelli, a watercolor of a purple cloud, a letter, handkerchief, poem, feather, harmonica, a shell
how i am looking at the list I made four days ago: things/ways to make a home,
feeling good that i had done many (if not all?) of the things i had written in just a few hours, but wondering if they are actually enough
make some kind of arrangement of sentimental objects write every night arrange special lighting (candles?)(good lamps) have a meditation spot/writing spot hang up poems/ art ferment some vegetables
the way the tiniest piece of dried sage
burns in the new room
in the new house
and i gently wave it around the scattered piles of clothes whose places i haven’t yet found
the way the peepers sound so loud as I drive by what must be a vernal pool on hamilton road with my windows down, and i can smell spring.
the moment in the Passover seder meal,
hosted two days early
for logistical convenience
in the house where I now
live, (and work) (in the woods with kids)
(the guests are sitting on cushions and couch arms and in armchairs)
in which I have a burning question,
and then allow myself to ask the room for a go-around, if we’re all willing?
what if the story of slavery was actually ours to hold right here, right now?
then there’s the moment when we finish going around the circle of guests, a word or two sharing our dreams/aims/aspirations for freedom. breaking down our own kinds of personal slavery.
when i feel new warmth rising glowing surrounding my body
because there is a certain radiance to vulnerability
especially with a roomful of strangers.