Wednesday, February 28, 2007

say no evil, see no evil, hear no evil.

(yesterday's photo outside of the garden shop I'll be working at)

There's another snow storm on the way and, like the weather, I seem to be having a few ups and downs myself. Days like this I can't help but be amazed by the emotional complexities of being a woman.

I started the day out in a big fit of alligator tears over (once again) being stranded at home without a car. I planned on dropping V. off at work, running errands, and then finding a coffee shop to hole up in and write. I was also going to go on my "artist's date"--which is, really, the only thing I've been looking forward to all week. The forecast is predicting another 16" of snow in the next couple of days and since it's busy-rush-hour-freeway-traffic all the way to where V. works and back, it would be stupid for me to be driving back and forth to drop him off and pick him up just so that I can run around doing things that aren't absolutely necessary. So I was a bit of a cry baby. But after 7 months of this, do you blame me? I think we need another car. Seriously.

This morning I was feeling trapped because my world gets too small when it is limited between home and work, work and home. Maybe it's my lingering gypsy ways, but I have a tendency towards claustrophobia when things get redundant. And if it's going to snow, then fine. But right now it is a beautiful sunny day. The 30+ degree temperatures feel like spring and staying at home was most certainly going to drive me crazy. Around noon I finally said fuck it, put on my big clunky boots, and tromped my way through the snow and slush and extravagant-sized puddles to the neighborhood coffee shop--where I'm sitting now. And well...I admit it: this place makes me feel a little swollen with pride to be a part of this neighborhood.

It's been a while since I've actually walked anywhere without Anu and so I decided to treat my excursion with a bit of love. I felt a sense of purposelessness walking without wolfie, but I also found myself taking in my surroundings in a different way. Rather than watching squirrels or birds or snowbanks like I usually do with Anu, I found myself looking at houses and their relation to the sun. I exchanged smiles with passing cars, recognizing this person and that person, and exchanged hellos with quite a few of them. In the process I realized just how much I've become a part of this place and it made me wonder: How and when did that happen?

In the next few days I'll be starting work again at the garden shop (next door to this coffee shop). Technically, this neighborhood could be considered a village--but, living in the United States, what constitutes a village anyway?? A market, a coffee shop, a flower shop, a gas station, a (very liberal minded) church, a hair salon, a handful of residents, an elementary school, and a pizza joint--there you have it: a village.

Of course, working in the "village center" helps with getting to know people. Often times I crave to be anonymous (this might be the result of growing up in a small town)--but, more often, I find that I crave a sense of place. Admit it: it's good to feel like you belong.

And so, even though I have no desire to work in a garden shop forever (oh god, definitely not!), what it offers me at this point in my life is an incredible sense of belonging. These days, I feel a need for that. I'm not sure why. But I do.

I'm 32 years old and even though my traveler's soul requires a frequent change in scenery, it's beginning to feel like I've been searching for my "place" in the world ever since selling my house out in the country a couple years ago (even if subconsciously). Wait a minute...how did I end up on this thought? I guess this random thinking is just one of the many dangers of feeling "emotional." After an incredible conversation about loss (and many other things!) with a good friend, I came across a poem by Mary Oliver that caused another round of alligator tears.

On Losing a House

1.
The bumble bees
know where their home is.
They have memorized
every stalk and leaf
of the field.
They fall from the air at
exactly
the right place,
they crawl
under the soft grasses,
they enter
the darkness
humming.

2.
Where will we go
with our table and chairs,
our bed,
our nine thousand books
our TV, PC, VCR,
our cat
who is sixteen years old?
Where will we put down
our dishes and our blue carpets,
where will we put up
our rose-colored,
rice-paper
shades?

3.
We never saw
such a beautiful house,
though it dipped toward the sea,
though it shook and creaked,
though it said to the rain: come in!
and had a ghost--
at night she rattled the teacups
with her narrow hands,
then left the cupboard open--
and once she slipped--or maybe it wasn't a slip--
and called to our cat, who ran to the empty room.
We only smiled.
Unwise! Unwise!

4.
O, what is money?
O, never in our lives have we thought
about money.
O, we have only a little money.
O, now in our sleep
we dream of finding money.
But someone else
already has money.
Money, money, money.
Someone else
can sign the papers,
can turn the key.
O dark, O heave, O mossy money.

5.
Amazing
how the rich
don't even
hesitate--up go the
sloping rooflines, out goes the
garden, down goes the crooked,
green tree, out goes the
old sink, and the little windows, and
there you have it--a house
like any other--and there goes
the ghost, and then another, they glide over
the water, away, waving and waving
their fog-colored hands.

6.
Don't tell us
how to love, don't tell us
how to grieve for, or how loss
shouldn't sit down like a gray
bundle of dust in the deepest
pockets of our energy, don't laugh at our belief
that money isn't
everything, don't tell us
how to behave in
anger, in longing, in loss, in home-
sickness, don't tell us,
dear friends.

7.
Goodbye, house.
Goodbye, sweet and beautiful house,
we shouted, and it shouted back,
goodbye to you, and lifted itself
down from the town, and set off
like a packet of clouds across
the harbor's blue ring,
the tossing bell, the sandy point--and turned
lightly, wordlessly,
into the keep of the wind
where it floats still--
where it plunges and rises still
on the black and dreamy sea.

(by Mary Oliver from What Do We Know, 2002)

In the end, it turns out that I'm really starting to feel a sense of "home" here. And maybe, just maybe, it worked out ok that I didn't have the car today. I mean, it caused me to get frustrated enough to walk the 6 blocks from my house to here...and to be surrounded by good people in a packed-full coffee shop... and to maybe even see things in a different way.

18 comments:

gkgirl said...

i'm sorry that you
weren't able to do what you
wanted to do today
but i am happy
that you ended up being
pleasantly surprised in the end...
:)

Elizabeth said...

So sorry that you were sad :-(
But it sounds like not having the car ended up being a very good thing...

(By the way, the communnity you live in would be my idea of heaven, I'm jealous!!!) All best wishes E

Sophie said...

I remember this frustration -
i didn't have a car for a few years and went MAD!!!

On another note you have a great
gift of writing Jessie -
I swear I can HEAR your voice as I read your words - i can see the
crinkle in your eyes and the
sigh and flutter in your hands -

i can hear India drifting through
and i can smell....


coffee!!!!!!! (and a dog)

The Dream said...

Hey Gypsy (have you ever read The Nature of Water and Air by Regina McBride by any chance? a good gypsy/celtic tale) - good deal on taking the big walk to the coffee shop. As long as java is involved, I'm always delighted! Thanks for your message today - I feel a very cool connection with you, as well. My A.D. today was awesome! Pictures will be up tomorrow. Be happy!
Peace, Ei.

Spiky Zora Jones said...

Oh Jessie, me too. Though it's easy to get around where I live as it is mostly pleasant weather.
Your 30 degrees weather would have me shut up in the house under a bundle of warm blankets.
I was on vactaion with a now ex-boyfriend, we stayed at his family's cabin up in the mountains. I was going crazy on the third day. It snowed the whole time. It was the coldest I have ever been.
Wish I could brighten things for you. Okay, I have to get going. I am being paged. later...smile.

Laura said...

Jessie -
I feel your "emotional woman" pain. I just returned from Sunrise Foods with Raw Pituitary, in hopes that it will cure me of PMS forever. I wish I were a woman who embraced the "dark" part of her cycle, but I'm not. I howl at the moon and my husband and my dog and the world and I can't stand myself for it.

The house poem was beautiful. I know how much it must affect you since I know how much you loved your house here. But I am happy you are finding a sense of place. I am happy to be in touch with you again!

bee said...

that picture of you when you were on the phone with me? SO FRICKING CUTE.

i'm sorry if my "emotional womaninity was contagious in any way...but i almost take it back almost if you got to find that coffeeshop (is that where the gnomes are from? yummy gnomes.)

i got some resolution! i keep the best friend, and lose the boyfriend - which, as you know, was already pretty much a fait accompli.

smoosh, i love you.

Amber said...

Sounds pretty good and nice to me.

I want that feeling. I am hopeful for it.

:)

melba said...

Sometimes I think about us only having one car. We both have old cars with no car payment and if one dies, we are not sure where we would get the money for a car payment. Sometimes I think this would be ok because of pollution and gas prices... but then I also like to drive to the beach when Ethan and Maggie are asleep in the back and sit and write.

I need to always read your posts slow, like tonight when I drink in every word and know you.

XO,
Melba

Kristine said...

What a day huh?!
Life is full of twists and turns. I love how your day started one way and transformed into something else. I was with you on this one.

acumamakiki said...

i'm very emotional this week too. after having just received a tin full of holiday goodies from a stranger who belongs to our synagogue, i cried and then coming here and reading this beautiful post, i cried a little more. mary oliver is so brilliant. she touches me in a way that i never imagined poetry could.

Sacred Suzie said...

Brace yourself for a full moon in Pisces this Storm Moon on Saturday night plus a lunar eclipse! I'm thinking that once we get passed this emotional astrological time we will all be feeling a bit better.

Spring is less than 3 weeks away, hold on.

tammy vitale said...

I missed a much planned for and looked forward to artist's date sunday due to freezing rain. I understand the disappointment comletely. Unfortunately it was in Baltimore, 1.5 hours from home on dangerous roads...no point in trying that. And it was ice, not snow. And then we got some snow and I've been wanting some (just not that Sunday) so I couldn't complain too hard. Woudn't matter anyways. =]

Olivia said...

Really enjoyed your post and the Mary Oliver poem too; both really convey the sense of "home". Thank you, Jessie.

Endment said...

Thank you for your words - they are inspiration to a fellow "shut-in" and for Mary Oliver!

I wish people would post some ideas for things to do on an artist date when one cant leave the house (hint - hint) :)

krista said...

Wow- that was the first time I read something by Mary Oliver that touched me.

liz elayne said...

ah yes, mary oliver...she has the words...

hope this weekend finds you enjoying some of your favorite things and all that snow...

Loralee Choate said...

I loved your village, your garden shop and most especially the COFFEE HOUSE.

Slurp.