Saturday, November 29, 2008

Thanksgiving Trees

Sometimes answers come in the most unexpected
places. This year I decided to cook a turkey and all the trimmings even though things didn't turn out like I had originally planned. When the turkey was in the oven I took a walk outside - trees always cheer me up. The photo is of one in the middle of the city. A friend came over and we had dinner, and it wound up being a wonderful evening of good talk, good food and good wine. That happily surprised me and reminded me of the many good friends I have.

A few days earlier, on November 24, my mom emailed me that their first born son would have been 50 years old that day. He is the one I wrote about in my poem "First Born Brother" that was published in Salamander journal. Some things untalked about release other things into the world. I called my best friend - he got it immediately, how life works like that.

The holidays this year will be a time of healing and change for me. Change, because they don't always work out as planned. An answer came in a very unlikely place today. I was watching Season 8 of "Magnum P.I." on Netflix - the final season where Tom Selleck as the Ferrari-driving private eye Thomas Magnum reveals once and for all if Higgins is none other than Robin Masters himself. I remember the TV series well from the 80's, but never saw the last season. In the episode "Transitions" Magnum says - "The only thing to count on in life is change. Transitions are hard. But don't be afraid of transitions. They make you strong."
Throughout the episode, tidbits of advice are doled out:
Change comes at an inconvenient time.
HOW you make transitions are as important as making them.
Finish up whatever you are working on before moving on to the next thing.
Change - you can't hurry it, even though you want it to go faster. It moves on its own time.
You can get so caught up in changes in your own life that you don't always notice people around you going through change too - stop a moment - and once you do, notice. Give friends some help with their problems and in the meantime your problems seem to have a way of working themselves out and even if they don't at least it reminds you that you're not th e only one who is trying to sort things out.

Thanks Magnum for a great Thanksgiving message for me! Healing comes through change - sometimes the Universe has something better in mind than what I planned. I am making peace with situations, friends and loved ones. My boyfriend and I may no longer be doing the same things, but he is still my best friend, and although I don't know how to label it, all I know is that we are talking, going through change. So even if things aren't the same or as planned, the Universe usually has something better in mind. I just have to be patient, try not to rush it, and notice.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

First Snow

I woke up today to this view - yes, a dusting of snow to go along with the cold.

My boyfriend and I "broke up" on election eve - unexpected, but the signs were there. Time has been passing slowly and swiftly for me, processing, grieving, and now rebuilding. Times of silence, finally talking it out, feeling the pain out, reading, writing. When we talked a few days later, he told me of the poem of mine that said his feelings, the one I wrote a long time ago and almost forgot about. Can we still be friends? Yes. But things will never be the same between us and my life is now moving on, changing seasons with the first snow.

When I teach one of my writing classes, I reference a poem from Yuko Taniguchi, a Minnesota poet, from her book "Foreign Wife Elegy." I won't list that one here, but reading her book again I discovered this one, that is appropriate for now.


"But trust the hours. Haven't they

carried you everywhere, up to now?"

-- Galway Kinnell


I practice piano and repeat scales one hundred

times every day because what we do today

becomes tomorrow's harvest; practice makes perfect.

Bach's prelude drops layers of voice all at once.

Over and over, I practice until I realize that the sound

full of sorrow demands a complete

separation from the pianist

full of sorrow.


Walking into the dark tunnel alone

at night frightens you, though you may

overcome this fear if you practice

this every day, or you may never

overcome it like the terrible emptiness

inside you; it does not make you stronger.


All the living that you did

suddenly seems like practice

for dying, but living is not supposed to be

a rehearsal for death. We are never ready

for departure, but the curtain is wide open

with lights shining on the stage. You are getting up

slowly. Soon you will walk away from us

as if to practice walking

for the first time.

Yuko Taniguchi

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The world rejoices!

All I can say is wow - I thought it might happen but was very nervous it wouldn't and now it has. I watched the television for awhile and then had to get out into the world to be with others and celebrate this historic moment. I voted for Obama in the caucuses back in February - and yesterday went to the same school to vote again. I showed up at 7 am and the line was around the building, waited over an hour but well worth it. The world will know what America is again.

excerpt from Langston Hughes' Let America Be America Again:

(thanks to facebook friends)

O, let America be America again--

The land that never has been yet--

And yet must be--

the land where every man is free.

The land that's mine--

the poor man's, Indian's, Negro's, ME--

Who made America,

Whose sweat and blood, whose faith and pain,

Whose hand at the foundry, whose plow in the rain,

Must bring back our mighty dream again.

Sure, call me any ugly name you choose--

The steel of freedom does not stain.

From those who live like leeches on the people's lives,

We must take back our land again,America!

O, yes,I say it plain,

America never was America to me,

And yet I swear this oath--

America will be!