80 degrees, 8 O’clock at night, a crescent moon high and bright centered between an opening in the big Oak trees. The sky is having its own nightly performance staring its most beautiful actor–the moon with her many faces. The curtains draw back I am in nightly awe. It never gets old seeing all that silver in a summer sky of French Blue.
The theater is on my right. “Guys and Dolls” is all the talk around this art village. “Will it get a Tony?” “I think so.” The sound of it is bursting around me, bouncing off the bricks and buildings and sidewalks, singing off the phone poles and planters.
This world we live in is a stage from “Our Town” and I am but a happy player in summer cotton walking home from the movies on this street which looks like a set. The buildings are quaint but impeccable, The flowers grow in pretty rows and I am one of the throngs of the happy, satiated by the pure comfort of this pretty place of Ashland, Oregon. Far enough off the path to retain its charms but not so far so as not be appreciated.
I suffer no weight of reasonable logic, no earnest effort, nor specific responsibility. I’m out beyond the leash of “goodness”. Sometimes undefinable concepts like “good” or “right” confine me in vagueness and jail me by some expectation I don’t fully understand. But beyond all the philosophy 101 which tries to confound me in useless thought is this: the feeling that life is good–however I define it.
I have been so caught up in trying to do “right” it never occurred to me that it has been happening all along without my doing. The bees pollinate, the sun rises in the east and settles down in a better location and so it hums along.
My only work is to notice–see the bees, observe the moon, feel the air and understand there is beauty all around me to which I, you, the moth and the mother are all connected.
Oh yes, the mother. The moon is a metaphor for her, as is all of nature, as is every time I think of pure love. Not perfect love, who has time for a thing like that? I am more interested in the flawed attainable kind.
My heart drifts to my mother. Would she sit next to me smiling, her chin tilted resting against her upturned knee as the breeze blows her platinum hair? Would she be the little girl of the wilds she once was? I cannot say.
I am hearing that soon the connection to the mother, my mother, may have to be one of the cosmic kind. It could be that her wish to slip away and leave her shoes, her purse, her feet and her skin behind may be coming true. She has told me for years she is happy to graduate this life and go on to something else. It has, she says, become too weighty for her. I cannot fault her nor can I follow her in her wish or her reality. I can only love her as I have always done.
You see I had a choice about living when I was quite small. I drowned. I knew very clearly as I floated above little me that I could go back in that body or leave. I came back to be with my mother. Now she is leaving me. But choices are neither good nor bad but contextual. I was a vibrant little four year old in a well running body. My mom in her seventies battles dementia and a host of other ailments. She’s tired and she’s done her time. I get it. Still, when I think of my world without her it feels unbearable yet also true–a thing that must be faced. As I lay here tonight planning my pilgrimage home I’m hurting hard. I am unclear what to want so I say that I want whatever she wants. It’s only fair.
When it is my time a long time from now I may feel as she does but I hope I do not. I hope that I am in awe of the moon and hoping to see her again. I hope that I am hearing music and looking forward to running barefoot and that life is still so intoxicating I cannot put her down without another drink. I hope that I am in love and that somewhere at least another someone is dreaming about me. I hope that my work engages me and the smile of a youthful stranger makes me dream of the places they may go. I hope I still see maps in my fantasies and have “just another place or two to see.”
I have been drunk since birth, sometimes depressed and dreary and full of angst and other times romancing every plant and animal, lusting after a new mile on the trail. Rarely have I been bored, finished, wanting it to end. I have said “Life is long” and it is also hopeful in that length. You can never tell when a good thing can happen–even if it feels bad at the time. Such undefinable things can frustrate until we learn that uncertainty is the best wine which leaves you dancing breathless.
I am uncertain tonight about mommy as I bask under this warm night sky with its bright moon on my little laptop pounding out words which I infuse with intention; “mom, let me kiss your face and tell you thank you for bringing me here and keeping me here when I wasn’t sure about staying. It will be hard without you on this same place but I am staying to do all the things we ever dreamed of doing and I am taking you with me. I am living and you are in me living too. Thank you my beautiful mommy. I am missing you tonight.”
The truth of what happens when we leave here is not knowable. But mom is better than that. She is not to be discussed in a sentence of unverified sentiment–she is here and always will be.
Her heart may be tired and slowing and it may stop beating in her chest but it will beat in mine and after me–in her grandchildren and great grandchildren.
The moon could never stop shining and my mother will always be alive in me. That is what will be true for me–and is true right now.
Without mother there is nothing–no life. She brings us to that truth and we are grateful. Mother is how we live and sometimes when we listen deeply to ourselves we learn she is why we live.