Photo by jppi, compliments of morguefile.com
Sunday around noon we looked out the window. Locust tree seeds were flying. For more than half an hour they literally filled the air, seeds floating like snowflakes everywhere you looked. I thought of the massive locust at the corner of the bee yard. Myself, I would have been depressed. Tempted to a little melancholy. My year’s work, floating off so quickly and all to where? The point was planting a tree. But what were the chances? It’s not like the wind had a plan with all those drifting, wafting little bits of possibility it was throwing around like confetti.
Later I needed fresh air and alone time. My Adirondack chairs aren’t here yet so I got help to carry the worn blue recliner from the house out to the grass underneath the red maple. I brought my notebook and some books. Girl two saw and took off running. I was reaching for my book when she appeared, her own book in hand, climbing up over the arm of the chair.
What are you doing? I asked.
Snuggling, she said grinning, confident she was pleasing me.
I came out here to read, I said.
Me too, she said. So far I’m here. She pointed to a spot on the page of her book. Would you like to read to me?
I took a deep breath and lied. Of course, I said.
We read and laughed until the lie was true.
There is a place inside me, I said by way of moving on to parting, that is just for you. It is a very happy part of me because it is a space belonging to and completely filled by loving you.
She did not pause to picture the place unless she pictured it very quickly.
How much of you is it? she asked.
That’s a tricky question, I said giving myself time to do the math (four kids, my husband, everything else I care about…).
Is my space half? she wanted to know.
No, I said. I watched her face fall and something in me was called forth. No it isn’t half. Your space is bigger than the moon.
That’s not possible, she said trying to hide her delight. That’s bigger than you are.
Ah, but love doesn’t work that way. It’s magical. Love is bigger than we are. Much, much bigger than we are. The spaces for it have to be extremely big to fit it in.
After that she left and I didn’t feel sad for the tree anymore. I wondered where I could buy wizard suits for the children. I feel them sometimes, intentionally or inadvertently, siphoning blood from my veins, asking to share my tiniest spaces. For everybody’s sake, there are times to guard the spaces. There are also times to let them in. To let them wave their enchanted wands. The ones that makes us so much better than we started out to be.
I am in a small state of creative depletion. Two reasons. My daughter asked me to write her a book two years ago. It will someday be a gift for all of them. I had hoped to send it to a friend to peruse for the beginning of December. Then I hoped for January 1. Currently, I am a third of the way through my latest round of “final,” revisions. On good days, I knock off another 15 pages. It is a bit maddening. At times I am in tears that I am still not able to offer this gift. Other days, I think that since I don’t end up really running my life anyway, the completion of the book can rest where it belongs, in hands not my own. Lately, I am leaned considerably more towards the former sentiment (tears) and a little further from the latter one of peace, so I have put a self-imposed burn on and am trying desperately to get through this next stage.
(No doubt my need to finish the book is influenced at least in part by the suggestion of a friend that I begin preparing another book . . . one that I would very much love to write. I can’t in good conscience start that book while the latest copy of hacked up corrections sits on my porch waiting for me to finish entering them all.)
For the 38,000th time in my life, I call for Jeffrey. If Jeffrey would only come, I would speak the corrections to him as he typed madly, or better yet, hand him the sheaf and let him come to me when he couldn’t figure the arrows and notes. Jeffrey is my servant and has been so for years. His talents are many. His only shortcoming is his refusal to materialize from my imagination into a real, live, working assister to my needs.
The truth is, the book gives back at least as much creative energy as it takes away. It’s more the allocation of the time. The real creative depletion comes from making such big decisions recently. I don’t know if this is a common human ailment. For me, it is real. I can study things objectively, engage situations that pose conflict, and make decision not everyone will understand. But when it’s all over, I’m finished. All the considered risk taking, all the change . . . it takes it out of me. I need recovery time.
Last week, we decided to move the three youngest kids to a new school. It was a good decision. I’ll write more later. All the meetings and questions and more conversations have taken just about all the energy I have. I would like Jeffery to come now. Make breakfast. Eggs Benedict perhaps. Give the house a once over. While he’s at it, use the magical dead mouse sounder to find the decomposing bodies in the wall. Then use the carcass vaporizer to remove them. Thank you, Jeffery. That will be all for now.