Yesterday a turkey hen stepped out from the woods while I was planting, and when I turned to better see, I noticed she had ten or twelve chicks. They were small, about the size of a nose, say, brownish-tan, and they dashed about on invisible legs beneath their mother’s belly and likewise between her legs, around and around, in and out, in sync already with gravity, with locomotion, with speed, and most especially, with vulnerability, the long arm of vulnerability, the hen, head high, clucking just so as she navigated through my tangled stash of firewood, the chicks attached to her clucks as with strings…but with such small legs? on day one to be mustered through the tangle on such legs?
I came across a new word yesterday in a deli in Dover. It was written in large on the wall next to where I ordered my sandwich:
MERAKI (may-rah-kee) (v.) to do something with soul, creativity, or love; to put something of yourself into your work.
I looked at and studied the word meraki for the full length of time I was in the deli. My phone informed me that meraki is a contemporary Greek word. I especially like the second part of the definition:
To put something of yourself into your work.
The sun is just up where I live, so it’s up to me now. This new day, this new light, this unfolding of unused time. See it? How it slips across the dining room table and on out to the pasture? How is rides the backs of the sheep and the small grasses, the stillness? And on out the lane to the road and turning left and right simultaneously? This new day, this new light. It’s up to me now, no doubt. I can do whatever. I can pout, sing, walk twenty miles, I can do whatever. But it won’t always be thus. Because there is the coming of diminishment, the fact of my lessening, the same new days, the same new light, the same unfolding of unused time…but without me. Continue reading
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. Continue reading
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