Sunday, March 15, 2015

as if a woman quietly walked away

vision begins to happen in such a life
as if a woman quietly walked away
from the argument and jargon in a room
and sitting down in the kitchen, began turning in her lap
bits of yarn, calico and velvet scraps,
laying them out absently on the scrubbed boards
in the lamplight, with small rainbow-coloured shells…
Such a composition has nothing to do with eternity,
the striving for greatness, brilliance-
only with the musing of a mind
one with her body, experienced fingers quietly pushing
dark against bright, silk against roughness,
pulling the tenets of a life together
with no mere will to mastery,
only care…

-Adrienne Rich

In the past seven months, I’ve been burrowing. Or maybe running. But certainly I’ve retreated.

It began when my grandfather passed away. Just… disappeared. Forever. I didn't realize that the people you loved most could do that to you.

The burrowing intensified as over and over again I was met with rejection and disappointment and failure in the pursuit of my goals. I worked harder than ever only to find myself going in circles. Endless circles of endless failure.

So I ran North. I burrowed up there in a sleepy little town and a school made of windows and bright red doors. I woke up before the sun to write and came home long after it went down at night when my work with clay was done. It was what I needed – to run away. To burrow and mourn and remember which way my compass pointed.

But now that I’m back home, I’m still burrowing. My days look like words and words and words on the page or clay on my hands, my face, my jeans, my hair. This week I completely forgot about a shift at the bookstore and when my colleague called, wondering where I was, I was in the studio, disheveled and covered in mud. Obviously. This is who I am now when I don't have to go meet the world in any official way. Disheveled and covered in mud.

It was worrisome. In burrowing, I haven't been in touch with this or that person. I've been wearing the same clothes for three days straight. Every book I read moves me to tears for days. Going North was supposed to fix me. So why does it look like I'm falling apart?

But then, the poem. The one above that I started this blog with. It arrived and kept arriving. And it's changing my mind. I think maybe I'm not done yet. Burrowing, I mean. Retreating. It's what I still need to do for as long as I need to do it. Because the truth is, I still seek out the people I love most. And being moved so deeply by books means that I'm choosing the right ones. And who cares about what I'm wearing, anyway?

So I'm burrowing.

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