They know when they’re been parked
for the last time, despite the promises of a new
transmission or bumper or fuel pump
The tires somehow know too and slowly
begin to sink into the land
and the land rises to embrace them, and gather
the car back to her
trees and leaves know too, and try to help
they shower the car with branches and fallen leaves
and slowly it becomes their own
becoming much more organic than when it was on the hiway
humans are now shut out of the picture
and the plants and animals
now have the title to the car.
~ Rachel Ballentine (Old Cars)
I admit I feel chosen by the great blue heron that lights down in front of our sliding glass doors, hunts little fish from the strip pond. That as I watched it sink low into the water the other day, its neck curved, folded down like when it flies so it looked like a strange giant duck floating there… and watched it dip its head, fluff & flutter it’s feathers, take a bird-bath (!) before wading to a small concrete slab where it sat in the sun with it’s wings splayed and bent, tips touching in prayer like some bird buddha…I knew I was.
I even felt my discovery of 5 tiny ducklings swimming fast & furious in a bunch along the seawall. In and out, picking bugs from the bricks above the shells stuck at waters edge. Mama behind them, watching, as a moment I was chosen to witness.
Author Patti Digh in a piece about Prince says he’s like a piano she has that can’t be tuned to a prescribed note, only to itself. Making beautiful music all the same. I believe that’s what’s happening to me. I’m relearning how to tune to myself. That it’s my innate nature reclaiming me like nature reclaims old cars in New Mexico. Rising to entwine and embrace me. Pull me closer so I hear my intuition clearly, follow it. Experience the world in remembered ways. That I’m revealing layers of rust, gorgeous color and texture of myself like what happens to old cars in the desert. Mold impotent on me like it is in dry air. And that like old cars in the desert I’ll one day patina, be seemingly as lovely as old buildings in Italy and Morocco, my own way.
I’ve been talking to writers as research for a book I’m writing that’ll support us moving thru stuck-ness so we can work, live, and create at our best. I say to them, tell me your dreams, the big ones. Often they need encouragement. But when they finally speak, I hear their shoulders drop, their breath exhale. Their voices fill out, grow round. Then they tell me how the pressures of their life push their dreams to the sidelines to wait. Reminds me I’ve put my own dreams aside. Time spent writing stories about characters you can’t see until you read my words. Moving back to Santa Fe where life organically embraces me, and I meet hitchhiking angels all the time. I asked one writer how his frustration felt in his body, and he described hearing a voice between his heart and his collar bone that he ignored for years. And one morning he woke knowing that day he’d ignore it no more. And the yellow brick road appeared to a mentor, community, publication, and a fulltime writer’s life with purpose for greater change in the world. I hear that voice, too. Have ignored it, too.
Patti Smith wrote in her book M Train about meeting one of her heroes, chess great Bobby Fischer. How he was bizarre, paranoid, almost childlike. She concluded that “…without a doubt we sometimes eclipse our own dreams with reality.” It reminded me I eclipse moments of wonder and magic all the time. Like the morning I stepped out my door, looked up to a sky like the painting of clouds by Georgia O’Keeffe. The clouds over my head glowing with lights inside them (not white) in an ethereal moonlit (not blue) sky. How I ignored that dreamscape, jumped in my car for the reality I knew at the bay. Where the wind blew so hard, not a magical cloud remained.
But then, there’s the time a tall, big-framed older man stepped up, parked at the monitor displaying my purchases as I bagged my groceries. The one slap next to the credit card machine. I noted the space behind him, and when ready to pay, said in a nice voice, I’m not done checking out, sir. And he didn’t move. So I moved up, squeezed my elbow to my side, dug in my purse. ‘I’m not looking at what you’re buying,’ he gruffed as I slid my card. It’s not about that, but about space, I said. At which he took a step sideways, turned away. ‘They’re everywhere.’ The checker leaned in to hear him better. He’s talking about me, I told her. A big smile on my face because strange as it seems, he didn’t bother me a bit. Not even when he moved further back, turned and looked straight in my face, said in a not nice voice, ‘Yes, I am. You’re a lot of trouble.’
I tell you the truth. I stood smiling as the checker struggled with the tape machine, as she handed me the receipt. Smiled as I replied to the man with utter sincerity, Why, thank you, I appreciate that. I even stood smiling when it was all done, before going outside, wondering if I was nuts. Hoping *we* were indeed everywhere. A friend later said I put into the world what I wanted back. And that’s not crazy, at all.
Perhaps it’s simply all part of my innate nature saying look here, and here, and here, spend time with Joy. And my thanks and appreciation in the market, so sincere, making no sense, were for a chance to experience joy in a moment that looked rough.
What do you think?
Another small journey. Getting to Wise.
A Writer’s Life.
A secret: The past four years have been really hard. I guess I needed it.
A favorite: Rachel Ballentine’s poetry. I shared a wonderful day with her in NM.
Image: painting by Georgia O’Keeffe