wading through the week

Something I learned from good friends when I became so suddenly single in 2000 was that grief takes its time. It has a season. And best to honor that season instead of pushing it away or trying to shove it into clothes it's not meant to wear.
So I didn't write this week. Way back in September, I set myself a goal of writing every day in October, and I did that until Norma died... and then I stopped.

Well, that's not entirely true. I did write a remembrance to represent her many students, and that piece will run soon in Hunger Mountain, the Vermont College literary journal.
But I stopped working on the novel, and that felt right. Instead of trying to make my mind parse sentences and construct plot and feel its way through characterization, I let my mind rest a bit this past week, and I allowed my heart to grieve.

Sometimes you just need to do that, and you are better for it afterward. I thought of a line I love from Delta Wedding, from a scene where India, Dabney, and Laura visit their old aunts: "They all sat down on the two facing sofas and had a plate of banana ice cream and some hot fresh cake and felt better." Yes.
In the soft grieving time of last week, I stayed connected to family, I did domestic things that ground me, and I attended to administrative tasks that, when I'm writing, I can't find time for.
We had steady rain for two days, and that felt appropriate. Then the rain moved on and the days bloomed crisp and beautiful. We moved the kitchen table to the front porch, started a wee fire, and carved pumpkins. Then I roasted the seeds. I've been munching them all week.
We delighted in an overnight with Jason's puppy Elvis-Andy-Bebop (my how he has grown!) and didn't even mind when he romped through the fall garden. The fall garden needs so much work! But I didn't feel like putting it to bed for the year yet, so that's something I'll do when I have more energy.
I made sure my staff approved of the jack-0-lanterns in progress. "Please stand by."

I baked a quiche with what I had on hand: cauliflower, red onion, mozzerella, walnuts, and apple slices. It was good, and filling.
We ate it around the first fire of the season indoors. Then we sat around the fire while picking on banjo and guitar, and singing the songs we're working on. I'm improving! Playing an instrument uses an entirely different part of the brain, I think -- I can feel it stretching.
So that was the handiwork of the week. Food prepared with presence, music played with enthusiasm, a puppy loved with abandon, family nurtured and nurturing, pumpkins transformed* into jack-o-lanterns, and hearts patted into some sort of functional shape again.
Grief wounds the heart. Love heals it. So does art. The art of taking care of one another, the art of creating something new. Y'all take care of one another. Create something new.


*the fabulous Nikki McClure created the jack-o-lantern pattern above and Hannah carved it. You can find the pattern here, or at apartment therapy, if you want to take a crack at creating it yourself.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Howdy. Moderating comments to prevent spam. I'm sure you're not that. Thanks for your thoughts! Write on, warrior on. Make art.