Wednesday, June 19, 2013

We should all be born at seventy-five.

Her birthday was three weeks ago. I watch her on the front porch settling into her wine, knowing the struggles of her life as she turns toward me.

"I love being seventy-five. I love that I'll pass over, god knows when. I am not in a hurry. Do I ever like me like this. I have never been more excited."

Watching the Nova Scotia cape boat moving out of the cove (lobster season) she continues. " I love that boat, up in the nose, down in the stern going to take on the North Atlantic. I have nothing to prove, I've taken on the Atlantic.

I love being seventy five -- maybe not three years ago. Life comes or it doesn't. Enthusiasm for (her new project)  puts gas in my tank, in my carburetor. So much in the moment is just the joy of thinking about it. That is enough whether it comes to fruit or not -- this act of enjoying my enthusiasm. Yes, seventy-five is one of my favorite ages to be."

"Why", I ask, as I knew the time when it was not?

She looks to the ocean. I wait. Then she softly states, "Very hard to describe. I am disconnected from what I use to be. They no longer anchor me down: family, duties, friendships, yet I so respect those who are. It is simply that the leaves have come out on the tree again this spring.

Adding, "I am so pleased with this positioning -- naked inside and maybe even out. We should all be born at seventy-five and go backwards. It doesn't matter about size, age, color, problems we have. It is what it is. Simply that, it is what it is."

The boat is out of sight, the wine is gone and she goes in to prepare supper. I sit in a smile. The new spring leaves are flashing their green in the evening breeze.

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Monday, June 3, 2013

this year's wildest wave ...

As if another "person" appeared out of the depths...  Roethke

From Roethe's poem in my last writing, I asked, "Where is my "wildest wave", where is this life that surges forth, sometimes shockingly unexpected.

I have just had a tsunami experience. A completely foreign part of myself, one I have never met before has arrived: with passion, infinite abandonment and pure joy. Up and down the piano keys she flys or tries, playing maritime fiddle tunes, a rousing version of "Oh when the saints" and "Mother's got a squeeze box." My budding skill can barely keep up with this rush of rhythm that wants to be all over the piano keys, one end of the 88 to the other, feet tapping, piano bench rocking.

What shocks me so delightfully, is that I have hated the piano since I was seven. During five years of lessons sweat often trickled down my back, as a ruler awaited little fingers if they couldn't find the keys. I concluded then I was my teacher's worst student (even though provincial music exams said it wasn't so). I also decided, I was the least musical person I knew, until...

Two years ago my daughter, who was learning the fiddle, wanted someone to accompany her at a non-existent speed. That was definitely me. After six decades of dedicated disinterest, I knew three chords. We didn't play much the first summer. She showed me some finger positions. Yet, immediately, I began to feel surges and urges, beats and rhythms from some mysterious inner wind bellowing my joy-sails. A little mix of rag time and honky tonk. What great fun. My fingers could not resist dancing up and down the keys but my budding knowledge and skill could not keep up. It didn't matter. With fingers muffing notes, faking chords I was rocking.

Two years later: "I got the passion." I can't wait for that fiddle to come out of the case. The other night I was rag timing something; at the end, laughing I zipped my finger up and down the key board in what I thought was a brilliant run. Then with arms raised and shouting the most joyful "yo" ever articulated, I happen to look over to the sofa. My grandson with eyes sparkling, little five year old butt bouncing like his grandma's, arms up, hardly able to contain himself, shouts,  "Oh Grandma, you are crazy."

And he is right, I am crazy: with passion, amazement, disbelief as I sway out on this year's, "wildest wave alive."

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