Sunday, January 27, 2008

Letter to a Parisian Lover

I am in such a state tonight. I may rant here, just to warn you! Not at you - not personally to you. But who else can I share this with?

I am angry. I grew more and more angry as the night wore on. Maybe angry isn't even the right word. Annoyed, maybe. Ennuie-- I think that's right. I'm very restless, not knowing what to do with myself in this state. Watching some of "Pretty Woman" (Richard Gere, Julia Roberts - that old movie), seeing them touching, loving, kissing so convincingly: ridiculous, but I found myself resenting them. Oh, what a swirl this is - like a rainbow of so many feelings, thoughts, experiences. I cannot point to any one of the ribbons and say "that--that's it." I do know that tonight was the hardest so far for me: I SO want to touch you, to kiss you, to feel you in my arms, to press my face against your face. Tonight I felt as though I couldn't wait another minute for this. Then I got going on the whole visa/immigration/discrimination biz and grew even more inquiete.

There's something terribly wrong, if people who love each other are prevented from being together due to laws, to nationalism, to borders. Something terribly wrong. And I don't 'believe' in right and wrong, per se. I don't like to fuel dualistic thinking, prefer not to. But I still want to say it that way because it feels that way, that there is something terribly wrong with this. Seeds blow in wind and land where they land and if the climate is right, the sun and rain and soil conditions, they germinate, grow, thrive. I feel it ought to be the same for people. That we ought to get to grow wherever we are inclined to grow, wherever we accord with our environment.


And I am annoyed by not writing the blog, not having anything to say or rather not knowing what to say, feeling mute. Then I go online to see an announcement of my friend Brad's service tomorrow, and there is his photo - a photo I've never seen of him. Beautiful Brad. This is the first time I've "seen" him for...probably two years. And my heart dropped when the page opened. It was a shock. Tomorrow...is going to be ...oh, what do I say? I know I will cry a lot. At least that is what I expect. On va voir. He was 45. It's just so hard to believe. He'll never even make it to the age I am now. So weird. Life. Death.

And that brings me to another part. Days, weeks of our lives that we want to be spending together: dining, toasting, dancing, making love, going to movies, laughing with friends,
kissing, walking in the park, taking trains and planes and and and: we are missing them. They will never be returned to us. And I'm a little pissed off about that tonight (not at you, not at anyone I suppose; just so). I am not complaining (well, maybe a little :-) ) and not resisting the situation. I'm just not liking it tonight, is all.

I feel 'desperate' to have our life together, to be returned to our enjoyment of one another that was just beginning to blossom, really, when I left you at Logan a month ago. Impatient, I suppose. I am just plain impatient. "Ma ch
érie, I'm not sure you are ready for this," you said to me in Sedona - "this" meaning a long distance relationship. I am ready for it, I choose it, but I don't especially like it!! At least not tonight.

As for the blog, I feel arrested in my speech. That whatever I might write--the real writing, the 'where I am'--is too personal to post there. But It feels as though if I write about anything else, it will be false, will ring false.


I want to write about love, about falling in love, being in love, being separated in love, separated by borders and rules and laws and nations and and and. I want to write about living NOW and NOW. I want to write about everything is possible, not just some things. I want to create miracles with my words. I want to open worlds with my words. I want to make magic with them. But no. More than anything, I want to go to my bed tonight and find you warm in it. I want to slide in alongside you and caress you inch by inch... I want to wake to you, in the night, and then in the morning. To begin our days stepping out of the very same bed. To speak or not speak. To kiss, of course.


Our public TV station is fund raising, and was showing a Bob Dylan retrospective tonight. I watched him, for a time, singing
(and playing acoustic guitar, harmonica) at the Newport Folk Festival in 1965. I'm not a huge Dylan fan, but I was becoming one as I watched. It was captivating, seeing how true he was being to his Self, how he was listening, BEING ALL he was being called to be. And look where that led him! He changed the course of folk/rock music, and is making music still. It brought me to tears watching this. As did watching a 14-year-old competitive figure skater make history in her long program tonight. It was magic unfolding before my eyes-- breathtaking. Why did I cry? I think because it's so moving to be anywhere near the very edge of Life itself. Of creation. Of the Life Impulse, the Life Force. How do I describe this? It's like touching the hem of God. Like watching Creation Itself: "And God said, 'Let there be light,' and there was light." Except in this case, it was:

"Let there be magic made by Caroline Zhang on ice skates."
"Let there be legendary music made through the heart and soul of one, plain, unassuming man."

Do you see? If the moment of conception could be actually witnessed, watched, well, it was like that. I felt small, ordinary, as though I've accomplished nothing with my life, as though "it" is all waiting for me to begin. To radically begin. I felt called to create, and boldly so. To do something truly excellent. Something that would earn me the breath, the space that I take here. The boldness, that was it. The risk, the guts, the commitment, the devotion: all that was present in these two artists of Life.


As I write, I'm beginning to see what it is, how this has all come together to form an agitation. I want to LIVE. To live every minute: fully, boldly, and without regret. I want to fill out my life, each day. I want to waste none of it--complaining, lamenting, mulling, postponing, waiting. Living like there's no tomorrow: would that work? It hasn't in the past. But there's something calling me here, calling for me. Something asking me to rise to a boldness that I've not reached thus far. I have accomplished much, sure. More than some before me have accomplished in a whole lifetime, and mine is only partway through. But that is not enough. It is not enough because I say it is not enough. Because I am capable of So Much More.


Clay to sculpt, books to finish, songs to write, love to make: creations of so many sorts await my consent so that they may come into being. I have grown a bit lazy, you are right. There is no excuse. But I do know that such a laziness, carelessness, is a consequence of thinking, of assuming there is so much time, plenty of time. There isn't plenty of time. There is a fixed number of minutes, of days remaining in my lifetime. I want to live all of them. Every one. And it seems I have started, newly, now. By telling the truth. By asking for your witness. By listening to the agitation, deeply enough to discover--and receive--the gift it was holding for me. The priceless fortune it was holding for me.


I want to take on the World. I want to take on nothing less than the World. Why not?


Thank you for your ear, your heart, your true Love, my love, which I cherish.
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Monday, January 14, 2008

How Do You Spell 'Trust'?

Two nights ago, I awoke sometime before dawn to find my cat Sylvie draped like some (heavy) fur stole along the length of my outstretched arm. That is not the remarkable part, the noteworthy part that had me writing in my head in the early-morning darkness. It was her whole head dropped completely and trustingly into my open hand that got me going. Not because this is a new behavior: she routinely seeks out my arm for, it would seem, some sort of reassurance or comfort--or maybe just warmth. And it is not the first time she has rendered my hand her cradle. What was--is--remarkable to me is that she has done this from the beginning.

Sylvie was a maid-of-honor gift from my sister at the occasion of her wedding. I had been watching my geriatric cat Felix gradually fade into her final sunset around that time, and maybe I had made murmurings of adopting another. In any event, my soon-to-be brother-in-law had ties to a distinguished pet store at the time that owed him money. They had a Himalayan shop cat--not quite a mascot--that needed a permanent home.
He (I) would acquire the cat in trade for the debt. That was the plan, at least. My sister had a Himalayan, and they assumed I would like one too.

"Pinky-Lee," who had earned that name no doubt thanks to the pink skin around her eyes that to my eye made her look sickly, was full grown and not likely to take to a new name (which was clearly called for), as well as completely uninterested in meeting moi. Suffice it to say it was not love at first sight, not for either of us. But prearrangements had been made, and paperwork was being drawn up. What to do, what to do? I fretted there for several moments. Then commenced my questions:


"What if it doesn't work out?"


You know, no matter the acquisition--from spouses to furniture to pets: when you are asking about the return policy, it's not a good sign. Close to desperation, I begged a minute or two to roam the store, to make sure there wasn't another cat
there (or better still, a kitten) that might suit me better. I didn't find such a candidate, but the pause bought me more time. Next thing I knew, I had the excuse of needing to go to my car to feed the parking meter. But not before asking, a last-ditch effort, if by chance there wasn't some other cat inventory to pull from.

"Let me see what I have in domestics."


I swear that's what the woman said. At least that's how I remember it. And so I took my quarters to the meter fortified by the faintest glimmer of hope. I returned to the shop to find this same woman standing with a tiny tiger-striped tabby draped over her hand.

"Is it a he or a she?" I inquired, so as to be accurate when I declared "I'll
take her!"

Minutes later, Pinky-Lee was history, and I was bonding with the soon-to-be-named Sylvie over her blood draws and exam and such. She had in fact just come in from the 'cat house' of a woman who didn't see fit to spay her feline charges, and was routinely overrun with litters of kittens. This adorable tabby was too young I thought to have been taken from her mother. But for all I knew, it was a rescue situation. For all I knew, she had taken this trip to the pet store in lieu of a one-way trip, in a weighted sack, to the bottom of the nearest pond or river.


I was overjoyed, but her incessant mewing in the carrying box as I walked her to the car was killing me. "It's okay, it's okay, you'll be home soon." I tried my best to console her, to no avail. And then, once in the safety of the car, I let her free. She was truly too small to do any damage or cause me any difficulty driving. But after a time, she was nowhere in view, and not making a sound. Concerned, I blindly reached back to find her curled up in the floor well behind my seat. No sooner than my hand reached her did she lay her head into it and fall to sleep.


That was it. I was a gonner. She'd won my heart.


And here we were, fourteen years later, in essentially the same position. Suddenly, newly, it was a marvel to me. That we'd found each other to begin with. That we'd (clearly) recognized each other. It is a marvel to me how a "Yes!" is a yes, how it registers beyond thought, arises from a place before thought. And a marvel to me that this willful, "high-maintenance," rascal-of-a cat can and will, after all we've put each other through, still surrender herself and her consciousness so fully, still recognize pure safety so thoroughly that she will render herself in this way so completely vulnerable.
It is a pure understanding, recognition, trust that I just now realize is beyond words; these words only begin to approximate it. "It," before the words for it, moved me--still moves me--and had I been willing to risk breaking its spell for the sake of a photograph, I might have one here for you. But alas, I was not.
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