vendredi, décembre 16, 2011

Feed me

Feed me with shared sunrises, silent before the twice a day magic of its rising and sinking.

With feta and olives at night after a day spent paring slowly the lists that fill our days.

A hand held out after a hike over rugged terrain, until at last we arrive at the peak, speechless.

The sparkle of a heated debate on politics and art and even sometimes religion, done without bitterness.

Feed me with tenderness.

Knowing the places where I limp, you will not trip me up, but place your hand there for a moment, gentle as the kiss of a spring breeze.

I will do the same for you.

We will be merciful to one another, small irritants serving only to polish our edges like exotic marble.

Our arms at night a haven -- and a carnival ride.

Feed me with the truth.

In lofty phrases when we engage in the disputes that beguile and seduce our straying minds.

In self-mockery and sweet admonition that causes me to burst out in surprised laughter.

A vision that stretches, searches and complements my own sometimes skeptical one.

You, another traveler met fortuitously on the road. Me, a dusty pilgrim, lifting my near-sighted eyes to see with you, and through yours, alone and together as we tread the rocky, gorgeous byways.

jeudi, décembre 15, 2011

Docility in relationships: a fatal flaw?

Know how you are positive that you "aren't" something -- but you aren't sure what that "something" is?

As a child, I was a voracious reader (back when reading was actually practiced by more than a small number of Luddites).

So I'd figure out what a word meant in context -- which meant that I often got it slightly wrong. Often, now, when my son asks me what a word means (he's the same type of reader) I am curious as to what it actually means -- so I go look it up.

Here's a great definition for docility -- "the trait of being agreeably submissive and manageable."

Could this definition in any way be construed to apply to me?

I guess I could, under certain circumstances, be agreeably submissive.

But manageable? Heck no.

We carry certain traits from our past, certain habits that crop up again and again in multiple relationships.

If we had a critical parent, say, we might have found that being meek kept us out of the way of his or her anger.

We might have tried to blend into the walls, so that we might not be noticed.

Possibly we might find ourselves expecting that our children will also be docile.

I was a well-behaved child (which doesn't help me much in today's more open society). But I was also a quiet subversive.

If you were one of those kids, you know that with a little intelligence, you can get around the system.

The feisty females who were so much a part of my upbringing were strikingly intellectually independent of male influence.

Well, of anybody's influence.

It's not that we didn't have men around. My dad, for example, was a very strong character. It's just that we didn't think they got to make all the rules.

That leads to, shall we say, a certain eccentricity of mind.

Being kind can open doors.

Being meek? Not so much.

If you have found meekness adaptive, I am willing to admit that docility may benefit you. In fact, I can see many situations where it may pay dividends. I just can't see it working as a ploy forever.

Maybe it's because I'm just so damned bad at it.

mercredi, décembre 14, 2011

On the topic of love

Something you said got me thinking -- as it so often does.

And it wasn't even something you said to me, but to one of your many readers, so eager to share their praise, insights, or sometime criticism with you.

We get waylaid, you and I, by the need to voice the obvious -- which has not seemed to dull with repetition, but to sharpen, rather.

Can a lover indeed benefit the beloved, as you opined recently -- without trying to change him or her?

I wondered -- even if the lover doesn't intend to change the subject of her or his affections, isn't that person altered anyway?

Sometimes love isn't even experienced as love.

As a parent, I have learned that what I can offer my older child right now feels to her like restraint instead of affection. To her, love is often measured in what I can give her, rather than in less material ways.

Yet I do believe that my proffer of boundaries and discipline will come to seem, when she is old enough to understand why, like a gift.

Whether it will change her or not, I am not sure.

And I also believe (although in this I may be a bit delusional) that love can heal.

Love that doesn't drink at the waters of Lethe, but acknowledges the wounds of the past. Love that is received by the beloved in the spirit in which it is meant. Love that doesn't seek to bind or constrain.

I see that to this enticing notion I have added some pretty difficult caveats.

To be human is to be challenged to practice love again and again, even when you feel bruised and terrified and cynical.

Those are all human emotions, too. We are muddled and oft un-analytical creatures, acting on emotions and ideas we don't really pause to understand.

But we are capable.

Back to you, my friend.

The territory of conversation you and I haven't covered stretches out before us, opening new vistas as far as the eye can see.

Like a butterfly, I chose to alight here today, in between the tasks that call me.

Thank you.

mardi, décembre 13, 2011

When does a house become a home? The first shower? (Or the 30th?)

As molding goes on, tiles get cemented to the floor, and the heat actually starts to work, the house is taking shape around us.

My bedroom ceiling is painted a bright Provencal blue. At night I lie in bed and stare out at the trees through the big glass doors, currently bare of curtains (details to come).

Sometimes it feels as if I am sleeping outside, the stars and moon illuminating the bed.

In a week or so, the spiral staircase will arrive, linking the downstairs to the upstairs.

Although pretty much every finishing in the house was purchased on sale or after a hard bargain, I have ended up spending the most money in the bathrooms -- and they look it. The pink-tiled shower, green onyx vanity and grey marble floor in the upstairs bathroom are lovely.

I can't wait to use the shower.

I am only now beginning to feel like this house is really going to become a home for us.

Even the two cats have reverted to their old ways -- meowing oddly in the night until we tell them to shut up, chasing each other around the house, sleeping at the foot of our beds. After months in the basement, our black and white male cat would like to sleep most of his day away on my lap.

But since I'm not about to turn into a crazy cat lady, I don't allow that.

It's just that our felines think I'm a crazy cat lady.

Among one of the really dumb questions in an online dating site I saw recently was: "would you date someone who owned a cat?" To which one smart guy responded: "WTF? Who "owns" a cat?"

Even as I write, my old friend Tad is here to paint the upstairs ceiling. Because the house is two stories high now in the loft area, it is the architectural element that ties the upstairs and downstairs together.

Oh, don't I sound hoity-toity. I'm not, you know. There is some risk involved here, both financial and emotional -- at least for me, with my conservative ways.

But I'm hoping that the gain will be more than the cost. And it's getting to the point where
I can imagine this being the case.

Particularly when I look at the trees, or the kid's rooms, the dining room, and imagining parties and intimate dinners, showers and glasses of wine on the deck.

Happy times. Maybe some sad times. And times to chase that elusive sense contentment.

Or maybe just to await it.

I think I can manage that!

dimanche, décembre 11, 2011

Vienna, whipped cream (mit Schlagsahne) and "you"

Gustav Klimt 016

Vienna is a place whose charms have grown on me.

As a child traveling around Western Europe with her parents, it was, as I recall, the place we had spaghetti with sugar (can this be right?).

Growing up, the fabled Austrian city was the setting of the Trapp Family Singers escape from under the very eyes of the Nazis.

As a young adult, I loved the romantic aura of the city where Sigmund Freud met Sherlock Holmes in the "Seven-Percent-Solution."

But it wasn't until I saw the city as two young lovers roamed around it in "Before Sunrise" that its glories really came to life for me.

I loved the way that they talked...and talked...and talked some more, the cafe's and the churches and the bridges over the Danube a backdrop for their journey of self-discovery.

I don't usually think of the Austrians as a romantic race (ok, I'll give you Gustav Klimt), but that movie gave me a whole new view of the town.

So sometimes I wonder...with whom would I like to wander around Vienna -- if I can't get Ethan Hawke to take me?

With whom would I drink hot chocolate with whipped cream...or just skip the hot chocolate?

With whom would I abandon the superego, at least temporarily, and admit Freud was right about that naughty id?

I have a few ideas.