Saturday, April 04, 2020

Not a Poem/Letting Go

While everyone else is making masks, or delivering groceries, I've been writing poems. I'm not proud of this. I feel frozen. I'm terrible in a crisis. Introspective, or worse, panicky. When there was a fire here on Thanksgiving, I ran out to the pond, screaming and crying. Very useful. At least I know myself?

I've been outside a lot, as weather will allow it, to help dig an extension to our kitchen garden. Images of this work have come up in a couple of recent poems -- roots, digging, worms. I shared a few photos on Facebook of my gleeful ride on the broadfork. There's circus showmanship in it, but overall, it's work with a capital W. Rocks haven't made it into my recent poems yet, but they have been plentiful.

Yesterday the blades of the broadfork tinged off several rocks as I made attempts to gain ground. I had a hard time gaining any kind of ground. I fought with a long root, got rained on, windblown, heard my shoulder pop, and finally moved the stake that marks the end of the garden because I was too tired to finish the last little wedge.

Yeah, that's right, I cheated. I gave up. My whole body yelped. The space might have held  another cabbage or two. The garden is huge. We'll have plenty of cabbages to share, was my justification.

I have my husband's practicality to thank for this garden. For all the greening here. It was his vision to grow our own food, and his ingenuity and determination have gotten us to a point where we can. We had a shared vision to live in a place like this (years ago we wrote letters to each other describing the details of this house), and the nature is nurturing, especially now, but it was his good sense that brought us to growing lots of vegetables. The greenhouses are filled with growth. The gardens are chilly, but starting to show promise.

My husband is practical. I am not.

While he's been doing the research and work necessary to bring food to tables, I've been perfecting my eight hoop split, writing poetry, and dreaming of being followed by a parade of ducks.


Oh, here's a rock.

A memory of my mother on the floor, with a broken shoulder, the moment that led to her losing everything in her life that brought her joy and purpose -- theatre work, keeping a house, writing letters, snuggling her cat. All of that, gone. Now she's gone.


I feel a little more of what she might have felt. I'm glad she's not here for this pandemic, and I miss her presence in my life. I hear her message of "You have to let go of what you once were," while I'm outside, digging. Even though there's the hope that I may return to the work that gives me purpose and a lift in my step, right now there's no point in pursuing it. No, I do not want to do Zoom classes, or put on a costume to perform to an audience of screens.

I have no sense of purpose now, other than to disturb worms, and I need to be ok with that. I need to be quiet, and listen.

It might be ok to feel frozen right now. To not know what to do. It might be what's best for me.

But today I need to pull out my mother's sewing machine and make masks, because we have to go out and get groceries.


Oh look who it is! Miss Whatever-Her-Name-Was, our home economics teacher in the 8th grade. There she is admonishing me for not paying attention while she showed us how to wind the bobbin. I was daydreaming, of course. Look at that cloud.

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