I have the good fortune of living with a girl who acts out this kind of thing every day of her life: hanging upside down, jumping into ponds, slack-dressing the cat, hiding under the bed with a flashlight and two hamsters.
Pity me for not doing likewise.
So how is it that we come to filter our lives of every shade of upside-downness? Of trading in every free-form energy for some saltless formality? No undies showing, no bare feet, no dirty knees…
It’s a universal loss for all of us, I’d say, what with these 50 years living by rote and dreaming of riches, of sitting on our asses fattening. Far better to hang upside down and shout at a right-side up pig.
Did you notice the pig? The thing about kids is they always notice the pig.
I wish I could say straightaway that my mother was an original, that she had remarkable insight into the issues of her day, that she served in the Peace Corps and loved to snowshoe, that she once toured the country as a green-eyed ballerina.
But I can’t. My mother was not an original. She was born and she grew up. She married, loved her husband, had children, loved her children, grew ill, grew old, died. There is a story in this sequence of events, a worthy and beautiful story, to be sure, but in large part it’s the old and often-told story of reflection. For to see my mother was to see who or what she stood next to. Invisibility was my mother’s gift. She was a natural. She disappeared as her personality and life journey dictated almost every day of her life. Continue reading
Here’s a quick meditation on work, success, childhood, schooling, parenting, American culture…. 8 minutes.