Friday, October 31, 2008
Thursday, October 30, 2008
The clouds travel like white handkerchiefs of goodbye,
the wind, travelling, waving them in its hands.
- Pablo Neruda
The first time I remember noticing the winds was just over 4 years ago.
We had moved to a new place after 5 and a half years in the apartment where we'd landed on arriving on the west coast. We were still renting, but we were in a house now. It was stone and funky; it had a fireplace, a big farm kitchen, a deck out back. We could almost afford it.
The winds whipped through our little hamlet like clockwork every afternoon. The old oak grazed a formidable arm across the front window and released its spiky little leaf boats.
“Winds of change!” I'd joke to my husband as I joyfully sold off junk we should have gotten rid of 5 and a half years earlier. “Winds of change!”
We switched our voter registration to our new address and settled in.
Despite the winds, change didn't come. At least not the change we expected, not the kind we'd hoped for.
In that house, during all of the 6 months we lived there, before our landlord decided to reclaim it, all our plants died mysterious deaths and the studio in the back – my would-be writer's haven – remained packed with our landlord's stuff. It was also the place were I'd conceive our son.
That was three houses ago now, the “old, old, old house,” my son will tell you, from when he was just in mama's belly.
The winds have returned, I notice. And it's that time of year again.
The tree in my front yard these days is a sycamore that every day pummels the lawn with buckets of leaves like so many parachutes. Isaac pounces, and they reply with that satisfying crunch from under his sandals - finally out of place now in the full-swing of fall.
“Winds of change,” I caught myself whispering the other day.
Maybe it's that little boy, but I'm a sucker for hope. This year.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Consider it an supplemental bit to my books sidebar -- Yesterday at the library I unwittingly pulled a book off the shelf called And Tango Makes Three. The authors are Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell. Illustrator is Henry Cole.
The story is a true one about two male penguins at the Central Park Zoo named Roy and Silo who become a couple, make a nest, and raise a baby.
They didn't spend much time with the girl penguins, and the girl penguins didn't spend much time with them. Instead, Roy and Silo wound their necks around each other. Their keeper Mr. Gramzay noticed the two penguins and thought to himself, "They must be in love."
I think I've been disappointing people lately: Like the man from the Democratic party who came to my door to let me know we can't afford 4 more years like the last 8.
"No, sir, we can't," I told him, my Obama/Biden sign not yet in the yard.
He seemed off-balance, his sail devoid of wind. "Right," I think he mumbled. "Are you registered to vote?" he spoke up again.
"Everyone here at this residence registered vote?"
"All but my 3-year-old, and he can sound out 'O-ba-ma' on my Obama Mama tee-shirt."
He handed me a flyer of the party endorsements and shuffled off down the driveway.
"Thank you for your work," I called, but he showed no signs of hearing.
Last night, on the heels of Roy and Silo, I got a phone call from the NO on Prop 8 campaign. (Proposition 8 is on the California ballot this November. It would repeal the right of same sex couples to marry.)
"I'm with you," I told the man on the phone. And though we bantered politely for another minute or so after that, our conversation was essentially finished before it began.
Too late I thought to ask him if he was calling just to take the temperature of things, see where people fell on the issue, or if he planned to convert me had I hauled out my Bible and vomited something about the strength of the family. The latter would be a tough job. I'd certainly like to think people can be convinced to change their bigoted ways, but over the phone at dinner time? I mean, you either shoot wolves from a plane, or you don't.
Meanwhile, I'm off to a wedding this weekend of two of the coolest women I know who've been together something like 27 years and all this debate has left me completely UNDECIDED -- about what to wear.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Monday, October 20, 2008
The other day while using the toilet Isaac began howling and crying, weeping inconsolably for minutes because ... he'd gotten some pee on the seat.
O, sweet child of vision. Bless you. May you grow to lead your kind out of the darkness.
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
There's an update on the sidebar there - "What We're Reading."
I'm always reading everything or nothing. I just put one book up this time to represent the landslide I like to call my nightstand.
because men feel entitled to usurp vocabulary describing women's role in creation while in the business of gross and violent machinery
TO: Colonel George Bond , Fort Greely, Alaska
Dear Col. Bond:
I'd like you to know I took exception to the fact that you called the yellow cable that provides data to the EKVs (“Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicles” which intercept intercontinental ballistic missiles) - their “umbilical cord.”
I imagine, Sir, that at one time, many years ago, your mother looked down at you, just recently freed from the connecting element you shared, that fed you and grew you month after month, and she saw in you potential in a degree she knew not until that moment.
Even the most cynical among us, when set face to face with the realization of our hopes and the reenactment of our fears, i.e. our child, the being that we may well become the closest to in the world, cannot help but be driven by a ferocity of love that has every chance of outshining your missiles by bounds so large as to remain unrelatable, and that would most certainly have something sharply unequivocal to say about your careless choice of language.
I recently wrote a letter to the editors of Brain, Child magazine. I was going to wait to see if they print it before posting something about it here, but it's only a quarterly and I'm impatient and they might not print it and if they do they might edit it (ee-gads!). So, as we are about to move into the comedy and tragedy of another debate night, here's what I said:
25 September 2008
As I write this, the two presidential candidates are preparing to debate each other in Oxford, Mississippi. While there is part of me eager for this political face-off, I find that the debates in Brain, Child are consistently my least favorite part of the magazine.
A yes/no debate, this black or white, head-to-head sparring, strikes me as - if Scott Lozier (who made some excellent points in “Should Vegetarian Parents Raise Vegetarian Kids?”) and the other dads will forgive me – an extremely male concept.
I appreciate the idea of breaking up the essays with a different kind of presentation, but I feel strongly that this is not it. We could contend that despite the duality constructed for the sake of argument, as they say, we still know that there are more than two sides to any issue and myriad experiences, emotions, and thoughts that go into wherever we land toward our goal of raising children to be healthy, loving adults. However, by displaying important issues in this all or nothing format it can be tricky to keep in mind. Those other multiple perspectives we “know” exist or the pieces of truth to be found on a side we generally disagree with, have a tendency to roll under the dresser forgotten with the cat toys and the pacifier (should babies be given pacifiers?? yes or no??).
I often feel the arguments in the debate are written poorly on both sides, unlike the caliber of writing in the rest of the magazine. The “opponents,” in fact, are sometimes in agreement in more places than not, though it's easy to miss such junctures in philosophy since the nature of a debate sets us apart from the very beginning, lands us rigid, determined to prove our point. There we are, fingers in our ears, glued to this or that side...red state or blue state.
It occurs to me that I do not necessarily wish our power as parents to reflect the higher offices and workings of our country – particularly in its currently crippled state of economic and social standing. I would much rather be part of a thoughtful grass roots rumble with its eye on a future that embraces cooperation, innovation and, most of all, conversation.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Sunday, October 05, 2008
Soon you'll be home again.
All for the best, you can hardly stand it here – the stillness, the trees as quiet witness, holding your story with the rest. You can hardly stand the shivering river, the canopies of green, the fire firing bright sparks into the dawn. You can't possibly take another day of your son's joy – balancing on logs, snuggled into your neck calling “Good morning!” in the dewy chill, his mismatched layers, his blonde waves a step away from dreadlocks.
Already you can imagine yourself back at home – the hammock tied to the one tree in your yard, its woven colors flaccid against the browning lawn, your windows shut tight in the heat of the afternoon to close out the incessant car alarms. Ah. Home.
For what have I come to paradise? To put off again standing at the sink doing dishes? Release me back to my routine, where the creatures of the night are me, stumbling down the dark hall, sodden in the recurring dream of escape.