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When she was older she was allowed take the winding dirt road to the beach. She watched the endless rolling breakers and they became integrated so deeply that even now she dreams of great waves. She learned to ride the waves with her body. It was timing, she would swim out and wait for a crest, if she caught it just right she was able to travel back to the shore her head and shoulders free and the rest of her body anchoring her to that magnificent energy. She also remembers being caught under the wave, turning and turning, afraid.
She was spinning and spinning, tumbling into the sandy bottom and raised up again. Overhead the surface of the water frothed. When she opened her eyes she saw sand particles rushing backwards and forwards against the current. She needed to breath soon, but knew if she was able to rise against the wave it could not be as another huge wave crashed down. She had not understood the power of the natural world until this moment-She was a small flake tumbling into the vast sea. All this in the silence of pressure, with the great crashing wave far above.
There is a wall of water, an impossibly huge wave, immensely powerful, massive. In one dream, she stands between two massive concrete wall, parallel and hundreds of feet long. Between the walls is an oak gate, stretching skyward. Behind the gate, water, lots of it, an ocean of it. Water begins to trickle under the gate. She looks down as it wets the sand under her feet. The ground is shaking, she hears thunder, the tide's coming in. It is too far to run back, and there was no back anyway, just miles of sand, framed by the concrete walls.
In daylight, she reflects on the dreams. She feels she must learn to swim in these dangerous and powerful waters. How can she not be crushed by them? She thinks that if she were a fish, she could glide through them. She suggests to her dreaming mind that she has no need to fear the waves because they are her natural habitat. She imagines flowing through the cold water, her muscular tail propelling her forward, scales glistening, gills opening and closing effortlessly. But, she has not been able to make that transformation in her dreams, perhaps she must become water.
I wonder if, as humans, we have changed much. It may or may not depend on how far back we go. Our cousins the chimpanzees model much of our possessiveness, willingness to fight, social structure, etc. But what if we go back in Western Civilization to just before the Greeks? Julian Janes wrote about something he called the bicameral mind. He compares the change of consciousness from The Iliad , where humans are directed and controlled by the gods and live at the whim of the gods, to the Odyssey, where Odysseus defies the gods and controls his life and actions.
Maybe we have progressed into a new era of our relationships with the gods. We no longer feel that we are puppets, acting only as a part of the whim of Aphrodite or Zeus of Minerva. They don't determine who wins our wars or who will love us and who we will love. Many of us also have lost the belief that we serve the gods, and that through our works we will win God's acceptance. No, we are in a time when we believe the gods serve us. That by our own will we will receive all we ask.
She read the literature. "The Secret" was that she really could get anything she wanted. It was just a matter of wanting it and focusing on it. The gods were not running this, she was. She was not asking the gods, she was in charge. The gods served her will. Those who were poor, were sick, were injured, were that way because they did not understand the universe, they were kept from "the secret" that everything was available and only for the price of concentration. She pushed them out of her mind, the poor, the sick, sad, and the injured.
She has finished the proposal but is left with a one sided headache and eyestrain. Her stomach doesn't feel so great either. She tried to start her taxes but found she was missing a 1099 as well as all of the past five years taxes on her computer , "no files found". Yesterday she heard an ad from one of the insistent public radio stations. For a small donation, a lab would take her old photo albums and transfer it to a digital format. After all, you never know when a fire will burn your house down. All your memories, gone.
I usually read before I write. Rite, right, write. How would you know? "I pity the poor immigrant...who wishes he wouldn't stayed home". Anyway, I do. I wonder about us, these faceless wanderings. I wonder if people read what I write and do they step off from it, go farther? But I love the lack of response as well. Don't want a chat group. I want the freedom to really explore, I guess we all do. Well, it's 2:30 in the morning and this is not the time for considered entries. Oh, hundred words, should I post this?
Her friends visited that night. It had taken months to find a time to get together. He told them he had just been diagnosed with Parkinson's. The talk went here and there, mostly about the difficulty of getting a job and making money after 65. Parkinson's was mentioned a few times, but always as a future consideration.
Yet, here it was. What wasn't discussed was when and how he could prepare. How could any of them prepare for the inevitable sorrows that now seemed so close? What wasn't discussed was the stairs and the windy road to his house.
The stump was from a large treelike bush cut to make room for the peach tree. He used a shovel to dig a hole around the base, pushing and prodding the massive tangle of roots. Next, he tried the adze, chopping what he could, couldn't get the angle he needed. A hand ax was next, a puny thing compared to the work at hand. The root tenaciously held to the earth. Finally he tied a rope to the chassis of his car, reversed, tires skidding on the gravel drive. She watched from under the tree, beer in hand laughing, encouraging.
She said she would do it. The underside of the eaves had to be primed before the rain started. She first tried a brush. The nails from the shingles hung down into the eaves about a quarter inch, just enough to catch the sticky white primer and dribble it onto her hair. She carefully descended and spent some time looking for a hat. No hat. No scarf. She saw the aluminum foil used to wrap brushes when she took a break. She soon had a pointy, form fitting, aluminum hat. Perfectly serviceable. Her husband said it served a dual purpose.
She likes the idea of moving toward more disorganization. Entropy is definitely in her future. It explains a lot. Mostly how hard it is to keep anything together. Her friends notice it too, although they wouldn't call it that. A knee loses its integrity, the shoulder requires energy to maintain what used to be normal movement. There is less energy to spare and it all seems to come at a cost. Death is when she can no longer maintain the energy in vs. energy out. This is oddly reassuring. Maybe because it removes her from the reality, which is personal.
Valentines Day. For most years she has escaped awareness. This year displays of red and pink heart intrude like belligerent soldiers at the entrance of the supermarket and demand attention. The pharmacy is draped with rows of pink cards, some lacy and soft, some which when opened scream out "I LOVE YOU" in a tinny mechanical voice. A man giftless today, is a cad. The woman who does not receive a gift is unloved. And it has of course, extended to the daughter or son who does not call her mother. Today is built on guilt and money, not love.
There was a yellow watering can with a long spout on the kitchen shelf and sometimes they found an egg in it. Her her mother's pet parakeet, Twinkie, was indiscriminate, or perhaps she was just uncontrolled. The delicate white eggs could be anywhere, among the glasses, the plants, even her father's pocket.
"Twink needs a fertilized egg" decided her mother. So when Spring came and a bluejay made a nest just outside the window, she nabbed an egg. The egg was too large for twink, but determined, she straddled it like a rodeo rider on a Brahma bull.
Three days behind. Any more and I won't finish the month. It is a real mistake letting anyone read my entries. Even though I know this, I sometimes succumb, and it sets a pattern; a pattern of approval. We think we leave so many things behind when we age, but it is surprising how vulnerable we are to our former selves. I know I am capable of all the folly of my youthful self. In this case, it is the desire for approval and recognition, which I often think I have left behind years ago. Fundamentally, we stay the same.
This whole week I've been "scribbled". Not aligned, not centered. I don't know why, or even if I care if there is a reason. It just is, and will be something else eventually. Yet.....here it is 4:30 in the morning. I am hoping to get back to sleep before the sun comes up. It's a bit of a race. Does it help knowing why we are in this mood or that? I think that early in our lives it does. But later, when we have "rolled the universe into a ball" many times, I'm really not so sure.
I wonder. Am I using this as a writing exercise or therapy? How wonderful to sway between the two.
My daughter and son in law are coming today to drop off the grandchild for a week and graciously paint the eaves of the shed. I know my daughter gets nervous when I plan a big meal. I know she would prefer something vegetable and simple. Yet, I bought a leg of lamb. My husband thinks I am overthinking it and I am. This morning, I would prefer to bury the lamb and have spinach and eggs. I make life complicated.
Trying to find the grove again. It is difficult when life that seems so disrupted and out of control. She dreamed last night that she had forgotten to take a final exam. She knew the material but just forgot about the class. This has been a classic dream for her and others who have had too much anxiety about school. Sometimes she'll forget she has enrolled in the class and she only remembers at the end of the term when it is too late. Sometimes she can't find the room. Always that final realization that she has missed something important.
Taking care of a three year old for a week, she realizes that she has not had a complete thought in quite a while. The boy's mind bounces from topic to topic with a fleetness that leaves her far behind and exhausted. He has learned to say the word "boring" to represent the quiet. If she paints this picture with harsh colors, it is not the intent. She is tired and the changing screen is not for her. Yet, they are both here. Perhaps they can learn to compromise, to allow each others world to intrude. How is it done?
As a very young child, just before he went to sleep, he would struggle mightily against the coming emptiness. He was never one to gracefully drift off. Sometimes they would wrap their arms around him and hold him through this stage and after a minute, he would surrender and enter the proverbial "sleep like a baby". But now it is too late to hold him in this way and he still fights against sleep. They lie down next to him and time their breathings; they read and tell stories. He bounces, struggles, and after a while he may fall asleep.
A squirrel's checking out the bird feeder. An African river frog escaped the aquarium last night and was found dead and desiccated on the floor for her morning surprise. The chickens seem to have leg scale mites and she's greasing them every other day and they don't like it much. She is having the class dissect squid today and frankly, she thinks they will prefer to play with them. She would like them to understand that they once were swimming in the ocean signaling each other with brilliant colors propelling themselves balloon release fashion. Things seem harder today than usual.
She doesn't believe that some part of her self-awareness will survive her death. She doesn't believe that her good deeds will be rewarded in heaven and her cruelties and transgressions will be rewarded in hell. Who would that consciousness be who would be rewarded or destined to suffer for eternity? If she died when she had Alzheimer's disease, which previous incarnation would be restored? No, she thinks she will just cease to be. However, she does believe that her actions in the world will remain forever and that is why what she add to the world matters so much.
I have just slept for 36 hours and plan to go to bed again in a few minutes. I have never been sick before in this way. Sore teeth, headache and oh, oh so sleepy. I have to say, in a way it was delicious; like sinking into softness, warmth, protection. Nothing disturbed me. I was delusional, feverish, thinking of all possible names appropriate for chickens. There was nothing I wanted, nothing I needed; just to lay under my pile of blankets and drift. I managed to get up today and it's not all it is cracked up to be.
She sat in the sunny morning drinking tea and reading an article about cyber bullying. Generally, she thought that bullies really couldn't be controlled and that the only approach lie in inoculating the bully-ee. But this article disturbed her. The student had set up an entire website explicitly to promote pain and suffering among her exquisitely vulnerable middle school colleagues. Which of these two is the best looking? Who had sex last night? Who doesn't take a bath? Anything to shame or embarrass. The site became increasingly popular as the student-body joined in. Such efficient bullying is disturbing.
Two in the morning again and wide a wake. As she had become older, she sleeps poorly. That is why her 36 hour sleep had been so remarkable and delicious. It was the fever, but she likes to think back to that feeling of sinking into the bed, of everything being so comfortable. She wants to dissect it, to learn from it, perhaps find a nugget that will allow her to recreate this on the nights she can't sleep. First, she remembers that she had no connections to the world around her it was of absolutely no concern to her.
I'm still thinking about sleeping. About the ah, mental attitude that allows one to fall asleep. Well, it's surrender, that's for sure. To sleep you have to give up on the world, let things pass, including your vigilance. You must lay unprotected, vulnerable to all that might happen, removed from all that might happen. Willing to not know about it and not participate in it. It is a letting go. When I get to that turning and twisting stage, I get up now. I know that sleep will elude me. She cannot be forced and her demands simple and profound.
She feels lethargic, like moving through an atmosphere of an increased density or slightly increased gravity. Not so much that she can't move, but just enough so that every movement is slightly more difficult. Perhaps it is a sequeli from being sick or perhaps just age. So she will plod through the day, bit by bit, hour by hour, lifting one foot and then the other. Tomorrow she must be full of energy and excitement, about mollusks, those denizens of sea and land. How to make those beasties exciting?-the head footed, belly footed, etc. she looks outward for inspiration.
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