into colder than wanted
water standing on solid rock waiting for the shock to
almost okay with just going ankle deep,
and also aware of the
so even if it takes me one minute, or 12,
when I finally submerge my whole being into the river, i let any and all sounds of hollering come out of my mouth into the cold
and for a moment i understand what they were saying last week in meditation class,
chogyam trungpa and that whole idea of gentle bravery because now the water is everything i wanted and i don’t see how it could have happened any other way
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.
watching the steam rise from three mugs of tea on the kitchen counter in the morning of a workday but i am on vacation
peach juice dribbles down my chin near where webber road enters
historic whately and my fingers are sticky so i wipe them on my
shirt before grabbing the handlebars again and srs says this is what i want when i retire and at first i think she means running a peach farm and setting up a stand like the one we’ve come across, which seems like a lot of work forretirement
but then i realize she means biking over back roads in the hills with friends stopping along the way to eat peaches
the way the water shines on the rocks above the dam
glimmering in afternoon light
and i slide into it and submerge myself (just a little bit colder than i would prefer)
embrace it!!! my little cousin e, who is 10, says about the next wave as it is about to
crash over us, and i follow her lead to stand with knees
slightly bent and eyes squeezed shut, hands
clenched into fists, (em)bracing
for the water to tumble
over us with sprays of salt and foam
later we are squatting on the sand and r, who is a little littler than e, asks if she can bury my legs, and when i don’t say anything right away, (because i am talking to her dad) she begins to dig a hole for my feet and starts scooping out sand for covering them over. then i try to argue that i hadn’t said
yes yet but it is too late
for now the sand and skin are one, so i melt my body into it and readily acknowledge that i had indeed given her non-verbal consent
the next day, driving back through four different states the garden state the empire state the constitution state the spirit of america
up and away from the ocean i am running my fingers through my hair and pulling out grains of sand (from where they hid
in between every strand and situated themselves snug
against my scalp) and tossing
them out the
when i decide that the (once in two years) (its been a long time) lunch date with c just isn’t enough hangout time on this brilliant weather day, so when she asks want to come sailing with me and my brother? i say
it would be different if one of us was very big, n says but we’re not , as we decide to go out on the water together this time, three of us on the littlest sail boat i have ever seen that he had just taken down from the roof of his (small) car and assembled in the sand, with the help of a red-faced pot-bellied jet-skier
i am wearing a pair of c’s boxer shorts that we find in the heap of a closet /otherwise known as the back of her car, (leftover from her latest move from nola), since i mistakenly didn’t come prepared for this adventure
watching the south bound amtrak train glide past us on its tracks along the river, noticing how small and peaceful it’s giant loud machinery looks from my new vantage point on the water
talking to the baby seven weeks! the way i would talk to an adult while c is bouncing her to soothe the crying sleep is your best option
identifying the pain in my right leg as
a bruised adductor muscle, (or strained or pulled) but not identifying where it came from, (the pain) only aware of the aching that this morning
extends all the way to my ankle.
walking,(limping) with s to the store and when we’re about half-way there is an explosion of thunder and the rain plummets down. is this okay? she asks and we both just smile, shrug our shoulders, and keep walking, occasionally singing my favorite new song that i learned over the weekend.
after most of the storm has passed, we are on our way home splashing through puddles in sandals for the first time this season, feeling the warm puddle water on our feet and the cool rain still dropping on our heads.
in the dream there are a lot of people on the dock and we are about to get on a raft.
we are told that there is a forty percent chance of capsizing, but we are going anyway, and i am worrying about which part of the journey to prepare for – the beginning or the middle or the end – and so with five minutes to spare i decide to run back to get my tall green muck boots,
but before i sprint off, i point to a large quiet man in the crowd who is wearing suspenders and dark denim work pants and i whisper to the people next to me, ‘see, he’s our guardian angel’
when k and i decide to put on lipstick just to walk up the gravel road in hiking boots and summer dresses to watch the sun set over the lake, and in between catching our breath on the climb up the hill, we sing.
the feeling of alive that is when wind is gusting over my goose bump skin, just after jumping into cold quarry water, and getting out again
almost fast as i went in.
four in the bed laughing, and my eyes are still closed half sleeping, what’s funny is the poem s is reading aloud, and when c uses his poetry voice, and that we all jumped on each other to wake up early on a sunday, and then everyone’s exclaiming lyrics from songs trying to remember that oneabout the morning
the dried lilac on the dashboard and the banana peel in the cup holder and the beet juice stain on the steering wheel as i’m driving the back roads, passing the small stretch which curves to the left, down a hill, where the japanese knotweed shines particularly bright green and red growing over the guardrails, threatening to take over the pavement
when we are dangling our bare feet over the dock, the cold water lapping up against our toes, with our shoes and socks strewn on the wooden platform and the hood of my sweatshirt is up, sheltering me from the wind.
a woman runs up and asks, out of breath, in a whisper – did you turn off the tea water before we left?- to the man standing next to me at the concert in the barn and he responds with a firm nod and her face relaxes, because the concert is almost over, the last song is being played, and there would have probably not been any more tea water left.
walking down from Table Rocks,
(which are enormous table-y boulders with a spectacular view on the Mohonk ridge) I ask out loud sohow did that happen?
the rocks. arranged like that. something to do with water? j says and I nod because water must have had something to do with it. but the rocks! I wish I had more pieces to the geologic puzzle. the divine majesty of god? j says and I smile. oh yeah, I say. and I repeat it, ticking off water, and the divine majesty of god
on my index and middle finger,
two of the pieces of the puzzle.
at about 3 o clock last Thursday, e, who is four (and a half),
spontaneously starts the whole pre-k class chanting the people, united, will never be defeated!
as they are putting away their blocks,
dismantling the giant sculpture
made for the toy whales sleeping, (not sleeping anymore). I join in.
all of it makes me smile in a way that I haven’t all day, and my eyes are really big and heavy all of a sudden and I almost cry just a little bit,
because these are the people I have to count on,
to put away all of the blocks, at the
end of the day.