The Mouth of Fear
Thursday February 4, 2016
Anyone’s most off-putting threshold is fear: Fear of the tigers facing you in the savanna with their hungry maws and powerful legs, or of the spectral tigers known as: Failure, Reject, Ignorant, Presumptuous, Ridiculous, Worthless. . .
But when we are Lili’s age we simply chew on tiger tail. The world is food or not-food; worthy of mouthing for taste, texture, shape, and the momentary satiation of endless curiosity. For a lucky baby the world has not exposed her tigers yet, but the pack of tigers bide their time, waiting to take over the world of oysters and pearls.
Guest saddle: Who are your tigers? Who would you be and what would you do if you could move past them, or if they swirled around fast enough to turn into butter?
Spoonful by Spoonful
Wednesday February 3, 2016
I read of a man who digested glass. I heard an NPR story one time about a woman who remembered her life day by day and hour by hour. It reminds me of ‘The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock’ by T.S. Eliot, these lines:
“In a minute there is time
For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse.
For I have known them all already, known them all:
Have known the evenings, mornings, afternoons,
I have measured out my life with coffee spoons;”
What is it she remembers, this woman with a documentary mind? The smells of Thanksgiving? The sadness of Uncle Ricky’s untimely departure from the planet? Or that they had mushroom gravy in 1961 at exactly 2:30 as they sat by the wintry window in Lexington when she was an age you can count on two hands, just once?
Memory is identity’s strand of silk, and the pearls its nacreous stories. I remember eating plastic pearls when I was eight and knew they were not meant to be eaten. Maybe I was eating stories. Maybe I’m making up this story. There is a mirage ahead.
Imagination doesn’t live in the body though the brain feeds it. Imagination gloriously underestimates the time it takes to do things because it’s all wild stallions leaping out of earth-time’s corral.
Guest saddle: What parts of your life are measured? What imagined?
Tuesday February 2, 2016
4 AM: I say ‘Happy Birthday Me,’ in a whisper, but definitely out loud, not subvocally. At 5:40 AM the phone alarm’s coaxing tones sound. “Happy Birthday Me!” I say one more time, a bit louder. Shimmery, like silver strands in a beaded purse, I shimmy in the thought that this is to be my year of happiness. I will make it happ(y)en every day.
Any kind of happiness will do: the cheesy sentimental kind, the recreational, superficial sort we call ‘fun,’ the meaningful variety derived from using myself well and expressing my signature strengths, and finally the bigger-than-me kind where those silver strands envelop others who need a little radiance.
All day buoyancy lifts me on waves of ebullience and through valleys of depletion. I seek only what is readily available to me for time, for food, for movement.
The fur of the old camel hardly shows where I have been sitting as he plods across the deserts and desserts of time.
Guest saddle: What have you made happ(y)en today?