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Posts Tagged ‘a kamikaze faith’

 
|| April 20, 2012 || 5:37 am || Comments (3) ||

when the blood poured out of me

Her stories read loud and
She spends punctuation like it’s going out of style.
His voice is tinny
(advances in telephonic technology be damned), oh
How in the world is she
Supposed to hear that over her yammering heart?
She has read him,
She has read to him,
She believes every word he says.
He doesn’t know the truth;
He never has,
So how could he possibly be lying?
She bore the brunt of his profound
–and innocent–
Ignorance.
Still, though….
Still she wants to level with him,
She wants to explain
(all the beseeching long ago done).
Her inability to dismiss key factors
–hey, ignorance notwithstanding, and
dignity still of some small, grave importance–
Causes them to fall from her swollen, untired mouth,
These words, this towline between them:
“You weren’t there when the blood poured out of me and I became someone else.
“You weren’t there at all.”

::: :: ::: :: ::: :: :::

No, I’m not asking much of you / Just sing, little darling, sing with me / So much I know, that things just don’t grow / If you don’t bless them with your patience

 
|| April 8, 2012 || 1:42 am || Comments (9) ||

I didn’t take a picture of it. I didn’t take a picture of any of them. Hell, truth be known, I thought each and every one of them would be trucked back home with me.

I didn’t think that anyone would or could appreciate what I was trying to convey to, oh, the World At Large.

It’s not just about getting the money and ushering people on their way. It’s about hearing them, about receiving their story. Where is the art hitting them, in the face, the guts, the spirit?

I sold ‘if’, ‘amok’, ‘go’, ‘onward’ and ‘vivid’. Looking at it like that, doesn’t it look like some strange, staccato portry, like some theme is emerging?

No? Then I’ll go you one further: I traded ‘pow’ away. Rather, my kid did. He traded it for an empty round vial nestled into a cage of leather. I pretty much equate ‘empty’ with ‘potential’; I can’t help it. ‘Pow’, incidentally, was that boy’s first word. Not ‘dada’ or ‘mama’ or anything remotely like what I expected (he’s super-good at Not Remotely Like What Anyone Expects). His first word was ‘pow’ and he’s pretty much been living up to that shit since his heels hit fresh air and the doctor announced him with a triumphant flourish.

I came on the day I was due, POW. You never saw that particular bit of magic coming, Mom, now did you? No, son; no, I did not. You took the lead from day one. If I’m any kind of mother, though, you’ll never know that until you have kids of your own.

Someone pondered ’spirit’, but then left it on the wall. Just as well; it came out slightly crooked anyway, and I probably should tear it down and remake it.

::: :: ::: :: ::: :: :::

The fact that I didn’t take a picture of it only struck me later that night, when I was turning over the day’s events in my perpetual-motion, over-excitable brain. It didn’t matter that I didn’t have a picture, though, because the buyer gave me a story, and my God, why on Earth would you ever prefer the flatness of a thing As It Was to the full and round something that it becomes when shored up by a personal story told to you in frank, even tones?

I knew the whole time I was painstakingly laying it out in its long, lacy brass frame that ‘onward’ would have a purpose and then I stood in the middle of the little shack that last year wasn’t even there to hear the woman say, in essence, “Here is why I connect with this thing that didn’t exist last week in this place that didn’t exist last year. Old things have passed away and now it is time to walk in the newness of life.”

She bought one for herself, but the important thing is that she bought ‘onward’ for a friend. She told me that it was perfect because that friend had lost everything she’d had to the tornadoes; her whole art collection was gone and now it was time to start rebuilding that particular aspect of her life. “So it’s fitting, the fact that it is made of found things, that it’s a piece of artwork that says ‘onward’. It will make a good start to her new collection.”

I watched her smiling face hanging out of a car window the next day. They were headed home, she and her friend for whom she bought the piece. I beamed at her, we waved. She was beautiful, so beautiful. I never did tell her about what the tornadoes did here. It was enough that the knowledge I have of them deepened my heart for her friend’s experience.

Onward.

::: :: ::: :: ::: :: :::

I’m hearing the tumblers click. The Mayans forgot to mention that 2012 would equal struggle and magic in plentiful amounts and that I would be lucky enough to see the value of both. This is a Theme in the world right now. I don’t know if you know that. All over and all over I have been talking to people that are being reborn, getting new eyes, giving over to fatigue and frustration and saying, “I am done with being this way. There is a better one and I am going to look it in its big scary face and say ‘HERE I AM, HERE I COME!’ while wearing a silly-ass grin.” They (you) are ready to make a new world. Which, you know, would make the Mayans correct: The world is ending. Some people –as, you know, Some People are wont to do– maybe took that little bit of hinting to mean something more literal than originally intended.

To which I say, “Sorry Mayans. Our bad. Thanks for trying to give us a little supernatural ‘FORRRRRE!’ Good looking out. Really.” And then I pat the Mayans and they are happy and forgive us for being so short-sighted with the whole world-exploding-and-annihilating-mankind thing. We always carry things too far, we humanity-folk (some of us, in fact, got like ten truckloads of whatever dab of DNA is responsible for narcissism and histrionics, holy shit, right?).

“Oopsies!”

The Mayans will be happy to know that crooked spirits are being torn down and getting remade.

You, dear reader, may be relieved to know that, in fact, you are not the only one. Not by a longshot. Godspeed.

::: :: ::: :: ::: :: :::

“It seems that all my bridges have been burned / But you say that’s exactly how this grace thing works / It’s not the long walk home that will change this heart / But the welcome I receive with the restart”

I want a cigarette. I want to connect my mouth to it and drag deeply from it in a way that could only be described as ‘ridiculously porny’. Of course that’s stupid, especially given these circumstances.

There are guns (‘weapons’, natch)  all over this house: Three down in the shop, five in the office, one (maybe two?) in my father’s room. This doesn’t bother me. I was raised around them; my father took me shooting for the first time when I was five, took me hunting with him as early as my mother would allow it. I loved it. I loved wearing dresses and I loved shooting guns. To me they were equally enticing and I felt just as powerful doing the one as I did doing the other.

Kyle and I are sharing a room, a bed. It’s strange: We didn’t share a room growing up. Hell, we didn’t even share our father’s house at the same time for very long at a stretch. Now everything is halved in equal shares: The bed, the dresser, the closet, the time spent alone in there striving for emotional equilibrium. We have a writing desk and an oldskoo tape player and the window is always open because our father keeps it so godforfuckingsaken hot up in this joint. His basal temperature runs on the low end normally.

Coincidentally, so does Kyle’s and also mine. The things we are learning about one another, the three of us, would stagger lesser mortals. Maybe soon it will crack each of us down our respective middles, who knows? Right now we laugh a lot when the three of us are together.

Kyle and I both have his eyes, his thick and wavy hair, his savvy, his stubborn streak. We put our heads together conspiratorially when he is out of the room, when he is out for a walk, when he is napping (which is frequent now). We compare and contrast what he is telling us individually. We catalog our observations, ticking them off to one another. We review facts, we review feelings, we wish we could rely on our gut instincts because each of us typically boast a strong internal compass. Everything is muddied in this place, though; time stretches out and vibrates with intensity and then accordions back, leaving us running from one appointment to the other, long drives and labs and chemo and shots and scans and then back to the stretched-out quiet of this big house again.

There is some sort of field here that makes our compasses obsolete but offers the respite of long and thorough naps in place of intrinsic knowledge. So odd that I have never slept so well and so deeply as I have here, in the middle of trepidation, during three-hour naps. Trading knowing for rest isn’t as easy as all that, though….I have a lifetime of Just Knowing and Not Sleeping to get around, see? I’m having to do an awful lot of adjusting and feel as if I’m seated just exactly four inches to the left of myself. Anything I might perceive as True North is a complete lie, and I’m fully aware of this, thankfully.

Kyle has dreamed him shooting himself in the head more than once now. The other day I went in to vacuum his room and noticed his nine mil on the lip of his platform bed, right up there by his head, not down further where his hand would fall instinctively if he was sharply woken. I looked at it dumbly, thinking of her dreams, but not appalled or filled with dread. I don’t have it in me to think he will do such a thing, I guess. Also I guess that it is probably not much of my business if he chooses to. He has a softball in his chest, for Chrissakes. How do I know that I wouldn’t entertain a much more drastic, sudden completion to that softball, as well?

I don’t think he means himself ill and I tell her this. Kyle reminds me that he waited a year to even get diagnosed, waited almost three more months before seeking conventional treatment(s). She has had the dreams. In them we run innocuous errands, we buy milkshakes, we come back and our father has removed himself from this, all of it, the tedium and the lethargy and the pain. Thus, she listens carefully to the things he says to us before we climb into the car, watches well his demeanor.

Yesterday he hesitated, he didn’t know if he could finish this. Today he ate cookies all day and laughed. I think there may be more cookies and more laughing.  I know there will be more days where he doubts his ability to follow through, too. I’m not keeping count of either one, because something inside me says that is the way to madness.

We are here, our hands are knit together, we look one another in the eyes when we speak. I want to be more present than I’ve ever been in my life. The outcome is just an aside.

I don’t expect anyone outside the Cancer Bubble to understand.

 
|| December 4, 2011 || 12:27 pm || Comments (5) ||

Doyle,
It is eleven-thirty on a Sunday morning and I am sitting on the most comfortable plaid couch my ass has ever had the pleasure of attaching itself to; this couch is perpendicular to a bank of industrial windows in an old sharecropper’s house. (contextual photo here)  The house is surrounded by shotgun shacks all around and I was supposed to have my ass attached to a couch in one of those, but fate intervened so now I have an eighteen-foot corrugated ceiling where my ideas can waft up to and bob around, teasing me and waiting for me to play.

But one of the shacks would have served just as well. Ideas lurk in the corners of those. The ceilings hold dreams waiting to be plucked.

It’s raining. My traveling companions (picked up willy-nilly along the way) are all still tucked in rooms, presumably rain-soothed, hopefully warm and delighted. That’s my wish for them, anyway. The rain started easy this morning and so did I, washing some dishes, making some coffee, thinking my thinks. While I’ve been sitting here taking in words, percolating my own, the rain has ramped up the show a good bit but hasn’t exactly decided that it wants to stick with that plan of action; it keeps waxing and waning, a comforting striptease of intensity that is yanking at my middle where all the words and all the emotions settle themselves so as to let me function in the day to day.

Last night I had one dream: In it  I was a picture in a frame and I burned up. The frame itself was left pristine;  florid and beautiful, it was open and ready for a new picture of me. The fire was sudden and startling and at first I grieved because I didn’t realize for a few seconds what that empty frame floating in front of me truly meant. Then it dawned on me, though, that this space –this beautiful golden delineation of matter– was just an invitation to Other, which is something people pine for the whole of their lives.

So now: “Pick what goes in that frame, girl. And you don’t even have to pick especially carefully. Fire will come and take it away if it’s the not-right (not-right isn’t the same as wrong, see?) option  and you can pick again. Fire is your friend. Fire laughs and licks and pirouettes in a jagged-fluid line. Smile into the fire.”

I spent probably the first thirty-two years of my life pretending I wasn’t this broken thing. Then I sat perplexed at the notion that something about me just wasn’t right and I probably better fix some shit. My life reverberated with ‘huh’ –not a question, a statement: “Huh.”– for a year or two and then I resolved to get my hands dirty with the clearing away of messy and misappropriated insides.

Scut work. Sweating and swiping the backs of your filthy hands across your dripping forehead work. Finally, finally the breaking done, the clearing-away, the standing and the surveying, the terror and excitement of bare ground and the notion of what goes there now. Finally those things, Seanie. Finally.

Regrowing yourself is overwhelming in a way I’d have never imagined. See also: I am a complete fucking badass.

It’s all culminating now. I think I have all the seeds loose and ready in my hands. It’s just a matter of configuration now, of deciding if there are rows and how I want them laid out or if I fling them to the wind and laugh and wait for the return. Probably, as is my nature, it will be some of both. I’m broken clean down and ready to see what comes of it. You know. You know.

Send me that Wiki link that I lost. I was drunk and howling that night and I need to read that shit again. I have different eyes now. In exchange, here’s a present for you.

I hope your Sunday morning coming down is as peaceful and as loaded as mine.

Your loving friend,
Jett

 
|| November 17, 2011 || 12:40 pm || Comments (0) ||

Sometimes I have these terrifically detailed dreams wherein I’m pointedly informed that God was whispering in Euclid’s ear and shit like that.

Then I wake up to a world where things like this exist:

I fling myself around the bedroom, flailing, singing, yanking on pants and am not concerned about Euclid, his ears, or what God said into them. Not one little bit.

Six days ago you wrote,

“Was it something I said?”

Six minutes ago I wrote,

“No, it’s because you have an iPhone, you douche.

“Okay, unkidding: Send me your [most recent] number. I’ll dial it. I can tell you about the time my brain cracked and the time that I wondered if it would just go on and split the rest of the way through (the fissure was dangerously close to making itself a jagged, glittering break that calls raw marble to mind) and leave me in its wake. Sometimes I self-loathingly blame this state affairs on myself and my complete finesse in/natural gifting toward matters of addiction when I was but a wee sprite. Other times I’m like,
‘SonofaBITCH, I been telling people that I’m crazy all these years and come to find out, it looks SO much different than my limited capacity for imagination.’

“Yet. I’m mostly word-stuck when it comes to describing it. And it makes me angry, because there was a definite lack of planning on my part. I mean, shit, it just doesn’t occur to one to have a contingency plan for that time when s/he takes a little foray into the cray-cray. Thing is, well, in the last few days I realize that it was merely lapping at my toes, washing into my instep a little. And thinking on that, I am just in horrified awe: ‘Imagine that you were swept into its undertow. Just dwell on that little bit of possibility for two shakes.’ Ohhh, all those people whose insides are begging for just ten exhausted minutes on the shore, and here I still have my legs under me.

“As always, I am far luckier than I have a right to be.

“About one week(ish) prior to said break: ‘This is how this week feels.’

“This week I had one perfect day. That’s a start.

“I miss you in that strange way we have of doing so, you ‘n me. I want to be sorry for my silences, but that wouldn’t make sense, because the silences are a definite part of who I need to be and I’m not so sure that I want to apologize for myself any damn more. Or maybe I’m just not old enough –not quite yet!– to be sorry for losing time. I probably never will be. I still hold to the opinion I had mostly formed up by the time I was about five or so: Regrets are really fucking stupid.”

Six seconds ago I realized that I should have appended all of that with this:

“That’s part of the reason I have three, four tops: They’re easy to keep track of and at least they’re usually polite enough to take turns riding on my shoulders.”

::: :: ::: :: ::: :: :::

I don’t wanna be laid down / No I don’t wanna die knowing / That I spent so much time when I was young / Just trying to be the winner

So I wanna make it clear now / I wanna make it known / That I don’t care about any of that shit no more

// The Belle Brigade, ‘Losers’

About four weeks ago Scout decided to scare the piss out of me and her dad. Said fright was caused by her standing in front of us having a conversation one minute, then falling out and convulsing the next. When roused and sufficiently coherent, she described an electrical storm in her frontal lobe.  Tests thus far are inconclusive. Which, you know, I prefer to view as HALLELUJAH NO BRAIN TUMOR.

….but the image of an electrical storm right behind her pretty little brow has haunted me.

::: :: ::: :: ::: :: :::

About a week after that, I got a call from Sam informing me that he was coming home for four days over Easter so that he could marry this Very Cute Person,

randi
:: randi, university of alabama campus, valentine’s day 2011 ::

who we will henceforth call ‘Randi’ in all our future talkstory adventures, Muffinasses. Don’t bother asking if I like her, silly; just look at her Loverboy teeshirt and her pleasant countenance! Those things should give you all the four-one-one that you need. Okay, okay….I will tell you this little bit of confessional information: One time, when Sam and Randi were both fifteen or thereabouts, I told Maxim in the quiet privacy of our bedroom, “Now that kid? I would love to have as a daughter-in-law.” She is that flavor of awesome, see? That sort of awesome that had the two of us making plans for coffee and conversation even when she and my son were no longer a couple at one (or two? ahem) point(s).

So initially the wedding plans went like this: While Sam was last home on leave, the couple made the announcement that they would marry next July. Hasty, yes? Yes, hasty. But look! Over a year to plan a wedding! Just enough time to do all this. We wish Randi would finish school! But we love her! You guys are so young and maybe wait a little longer! But who am I to speak against passion?? I would never be found guilty of such! Let’s have a wedding, shall we?

Then they said “Hey! We want to do this in December.” Okay, ah, start the New Year together in 2012! We get it! Makes some sense! Whoa, deadline, but not an unobtainable goal if we get started right now!

Then this July and my head exploded because “SAMUEL YOUR SISTER WILL BE OUT OF THE COUNTRY AND HOW DARE YOU PROPOSE A WEDDING WITHOUT HER, SHE WOULD NEVER DO THAT TO YOU AND THAT LEAVES US NO TIME TO HELP YOU PLAN, NOT TO MENTION GIVE YOU ANY SORT OF FINANCIAL HELP YOU MIGHT NEED AND WHAT THE FUCK? WHAT THE FUCKING FUCK, SAM?? I HAVE A LOT TO BE CONCERNED WITH JUST NOW, PLEASE STOP WITH THIS WEDDING IN JULY NONSENSE RIGHT THIS MINUTE.”

“Mom?” Sometimes the connection is tinny when he calls, far-away sounding. This was one of those times. “Mother, I’ve  got a four-day pass over Easter weekend. I’m going to fly in Friday morning and that afternoon Randi’s dad (ed. note: Randi’s dad is a Babdiss preacherman, but we do not hold that against her in any way) is going to marry us in her parents’ back yard.” He wore a black shirt and ivory Vans and she wore an ivory dress and black Converse and now I’m a mother-in-law, so weird.

At least I am consistent, as always, in maintaining a whirlwind life.

::: :: ::: :: ::: :: :::

So. The week before Scout fell out and two weeks before Sam made the tinny phone call, the very week that Mathias announced that he was joining Civil Air Patrol, Maxim and I had a discussion that really entailed not much discussion at all and we decided to leave our church. Rat-tat-tat. We met with our Pastor and told him on the tenth of April, my mother’s birthday.

Individually, Maxim and I had both been feeling the nudge to ask the other what they thought about our relationship to our church and whether we were to continue it. When I finally brought my thoughts up to him and told him the timeline on them, he nodded sagely and cited the exact same thoughts along the exact same period of time. We were essentially completing one another’s sentences as we spoke, and ended the discussion with the promise to pray over the issue for two weeks and then go over our impressions together.

Then the not-discussion, then the leaving, then the strange feeling of being untethered from a church body but being very anchored spiritually. We –Maxim and I, and even Scout– have even gone so far as to acknowledge that it may be in the cards for us to remain unchurched altogether. None of us is opposed to this. Jesus did a lot of damage with two feet and an unafraid voice; He never kept to four walls, at least not for very long. We’re supposed to emulate that man, if we really believe what we say we do.

We will miss our church family bitterly. We will still see them socially, sure, but not several times a week. Hell, let’s be honest: We will probably not even get to see them several times a month. Life is a storm of unpredictability and a ruiner of plans. That’s part of what makes it so incredible, you know?

::: :: ::: :: ::: :: :::

On Monday, April the eighteenth around two-thirty or so, I started to feel it. I guess it was something akin to a fissure in my brain opening, something that had been a sort of hairline crack becoming a gaping maw. I white-knuckled my way through the afternoon and then went home to gobble some Lexapro, thinking that my PMDD was rearing its head and hadn’t given me as much lead time as usual. I quickly got worse, my insides a low-roiling boil, threatening to bubble over; it made me physically sick. I could feel the lactic acid building and then depositing in my shoulders, my traps, in the backs of my thighs. It was a continual release of adrenaline and I was extremely nauseous by hour four of the whole thing. The whole of the afternoon a voice in my head gibbered about just wanting my bed, ohhhh if I can make it to the end of the workday I can have my bed,  but that evening I fumbled onto the couch and couldn’t move from there, where I fell into a fitful sleep by seven 0′clock.

I woke and dragged myself to the bedroom, still feeling sick and indeterminably broken, at around ten-thirty. The next morning I was due to drive Scout to her neurologist an hour away, and I thought that the Lexapro would grab hold while I slept (like it always did! magic! jazz hands, bitches! airhorns and goofy relieved grintastic visages and confetti or something equally as rad!), making me feel whole and right again upon waking.

I woke up lethargic and very, VERY resistant to the idea of leaving our home. In fact, I was somewhat terrified to even get out of bed. The low-boil feeling was still there and now I had a sense of defeat layered on top of it. I wanted to die, but it occurred to me that if I shot myself in the head my daughter would a) be angry that I ‘forgot’ to check her out of school b) be the one to find me c) be doubly fucked up as a result of having been angry at me just before finding my messy-headed self scattered willy-nilly across the bed. I tried to eat some breakfast. I threw it up. I showered and put on eyeliner, then comfortable clothes, then sunglasses that would obscure most of my face. It was a sheer act of my Legendary Stupidly Defiant Will that put me behind the steering wheel and on the road.

I am going to make a mistake. I am going to make a mistake and wreck us. My inner voice meant this in a more literal sense, but in writing that now I realize that there is more meaning to it. Anxiety’s theme song is I Am Going To Make A Mistake. It has a really catchy hook and gets stuck in a loop on your insides if all the conditions are right and you give it half a footing, did you know?

“I’m not feeling well,” I told Scout, “do you think you could manage driving if it turns out that I can’t?” She said she could, and I told her that I’d navigate the more difficult part of the drive and put her on the straightaway twenty minutes or so down the road. When that twenty minutes had passed, I’d started feeling better, so I passed on Scout driving for me and continued on. Ten minutes past that I was pulling into the empty lot next to an abandoned auto shop, so suddenly overcome that it was all I could do to exit the car and go around to the passenger side.

I reclined the seat, Scout slid in the new Damnwells and within a few minutes we were flying down Highway Tw0-Seventy-Eight; I was curled up on my side with my face six inches from my knees, staring at them intently, afraid that my brain was doing something I and it could never recover from, when ‘Sophia‘ came on

with a wink everything’s falling apart
and we’re lost in Lebanon

and then somehow I found my eyes fixed on the beyond out there past the vinyl and the doorhandle and the window, it rushed by oh it fell away and was replaced so fluidly and I hope I can hold onto myself well enough to finish this day, finish this day, finish. Finish it, this day.

Abel started
but Cain had to finish the job
for the God of Jealousy

No fever dream had ever been so brutal.

By four o’ clock that afternoon I became something resembling myself, but still only a poorly-remembered version of that, a slightly-staticky approximation. “It’s stress,” said Maxim the next day, and then the day after that I caught myself kneading the shit out of my left forearm with my right hand, to the point of extreme pain that I hadn’t even noticed in my absent-mindedness. It was then that I took into account that my nails were more gnawed than they ever had been –they were bleeding and painful at times– and I’d had this crazy rash on my chest that had appeared suddenly about two weeks prior. “I told you, stress,” Maxim affirmed once I recounted my realizations to him. I pondered the crevasse that had opened up in my brain, how extremely near to the base of it that the crack had run.

I circled the internal wagons. It took a week to really shake that feeling that I was just a fuzzy copy of my actual self, that I was play-acting at being something I was really not. I faked it till I maked it and I managed not to disappear. Feel free to mutter it under your breath, but don’t you ever tell me that miracles are the stuff of myth.

::: :: ::: :: ::: :: :::

Wednesday, Twenty-Seven April:

The internet went out early in the day. Power was intermittent throughout the morning, but mostly there.  The mountain began to be battered. We came back from lunch, we left early for the day. Maxim happened to be off, so did Scout. My family was all snug in our home when I got there. I found out later that where others were hit once and hard, we were hit over and over hard. It was that evening before I found out that Tuscaloosa had lost one-seventh of itself and Cullman had fared poorly and the state park had played host to three twisters on the ground at once (a paramedic friend showed me a close shot he’d taken with his phone, holyHOLYfuck). A friend, upon finding out that we had no idea what was going on elsewhere, began to text snippets of information and news to me.

I called Randi, who was shaken but perfectly fine. A student at the University of Alabama, she had, she confessed, been terrified when the tornado set down a block from her apartment. She was coming home to the mountain as soon as she could. Her phone was messed up and she couldn’t make any calls or send any texts, but she could receive them. Sam, having just gone back to Texas less than twenty-four hours before, was on the other line, exceedingly not-okay with having left his bride.

Maxim showed me the snippet of radar he’d managed to pull up on his phone. “Unh, ah, there is this black area here right by us. I’ve never seen BLACK on any radar, have you?” No, no I had not, and it looked ugly, like a blotchy tumor on a rainbow landscape and wow, this is one of the rare times in life that merits one long, low whistle of disbelief punctuated with raised eyebrows. Things ramped up for us again. We stayed together, first in Mathias’ room reading and making LEGO magicks, then in the living room. When Maxim thought everything had passed, he went in search of ice and to check on his mother. He took Mathias with him.

He later professed the stupidity of leaving, because one of the events that occurred while he was out involved a massive oak falling across a pitch-black road a few feet ahead of him while he considered the merits of dropping a load in his pants. Another wave of storm had whipped itself at us and he’d been caught out in it. He crept back to his mom’s to wait it out. Back at home, Scout and I started hearing things hit the back side of the house.

“It’s still now,” I texted Maxim afterwards, “Come home, and hurry, but be safe.” My phone began dying. Maxim came home. “There is a tree in Dana’s house. It sliced clean through.” We didn’t get out to inspect, because I did not trust the dark and the clever way it might obscure dangling tree limbs with the potential to fall and crush or its ability to hide downed, soaked power lines an errant foot might find before a watchful eye could.

We made pallets for the children on our bedroom floor, set a lantern in the bathroom in case anyone had to get up later. It was dark, so dark, and I blessed this darkness, because it is a hardcore insomniac’s unspoken dream to have no glowing, buzzing streetlights slicing in from half a block away. There were no electronics humming, no tiny red lights becoming larger than life. “I AM GOING TO SLEEP LIKE A CHAMP TONIGHT!” I announced to no one in particular. We had laid our heads on our pillows and spoken a few words when one of us –I don’t even remember who, honestly– said, “Oh man, we got so lucky this time.” This was immediately punctuated with the explosive sound of a hundreds-of-years old tree a few yards away in the quick throes of giving over and going a fuck-all, messy horizontal.

I not only slept like a champ that night, I slept like a GOING-FOR-BROKE, FUNDAMENTALLY-DRIVEN, PIMP-ASS MOTHERHUMPIN’ CHAMP. But only for five and a half hours. I kept flopping around the bed after that, and then finally I got up and pulled on yoga pants and the notorious Pink Floyd shirt (that has made a-one-0r-a-two appearances within the voyeurnally tomes of yours truly) you might chance to remember. There were flip-flops involved, too. I slipped on a hoodie, leashed  up Banjo and set out. Only one other house on the whole block was occupied. Three of them had trees driven well into their innards. Others had broad, well-rooted oaks tipped over and leaving gigantic divots in the ground. Some of them had equally large trees snapped like toothpicks halfway up their trunks.

The three blocks surrounding our home were –and still are– a great mess. There are a bait of awful tales that I could run out in front of you, but I’ve already taxed your graces enough for tonight and I don’t think it’s in anyone’s interest for me to actively try and horrify you.  Let’s just say that I am very well aware that the most tragic thing that happened to me, basically, was having to endure an icy shower and hanging clothes on the line. Which, if you’ve been watching any of the news footage (which I have not even had time to go through in any real way) is the cosmic equivalent of stubbing my toe in the presence of legless people.

Translation: Don’t you !dare!! complain, dummy.

And so, I am not. In fact, I am going to post up, in the next little real soon day or two, things that have been so right about this place and its people since all the weathercarnage. I’ll include some ways you can help from where you are, too. Tonight my back is growing stiff and my eyelids are crackling.

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This week Scouty turns eighteen. Twenty days after that, she will graduate high school.

scout, is, well.....holy crow, she's grown
:: ’she looks like an album cover,’ somebody said ::

Then it will be June and she will be exploring another country.

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This summer we will be taking Mathias to our nation’s capital because he is old enough to absorb some of what this country is, what this country remembers, what it knows and also what it would like to forget. He’s inquisitive and perceptive, a fact magnet and discussion-haver.

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Next weekend my son is coming home to get his bride and take her back to the desert with him. They are so young and passionate, and life is too fragile for them to be apart one second longer than they have to be. The world won’t be any less brutish, but they will each have the comfort of a bedmate’s tangled limbs and steady breathing to reassure them as they slumber. Important, too, is someone to laugh with when everything is all ludicrous as fuck and humor is the only thing left.

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It almost never fails: The day after a brutal, tornado-laden storm is picture-perfect, bright and mild and colorfully soft. This always blows my mind. Still, I am thankful for it, for the respite and I am moved to make this urgent wish:

Sonno beato, world, and all the children in it; sleep beautifully for a time.

I’m here. I’m still here. Everyone I know is accounted for. Everything is possible and I brought my spoon because I’ve always been one to dig in and that’s one trait I will fight to drag up to the grave’s lip before I have to be put in there.