For awhile now I’ve not been sleeping much. Dreams have been sparse. Last night I wrote here about wishing for a dream. This morning I woke at 6 from a dream of abundance. When I opened my eyes, even though I hadn’t slept much, I felt rested.
After dinner last night my son was talking with me in the kitchen. The night before I had been exhausted, after a hard day at work, a very long day before that. Last night was Friday night, a quiet one with me and my two at home kids, time alone, time cooking, time sharing food that was mostly good, a new chicken dish I invented with basil, olive oil, capers, fancy salt and ground pepper and lemon zest, baked, then broiled, roast cauliflower done just right and some boxed rice that could have been better, prepared with a glass of my favorite Reisling on the counter, bottle sitting in my fridge for weeks. As I talked with my boy, it occurred to me to remind myself out loud of the importance of starting each day fresh, of going to sleep knowing rest will help, dreams will come, and tomorrow will be a new day.
And then we had some time together with his sister watching Glee, our guilty pleasure, and time alone settling into sleep. Also over the kitchen table I tried to tell my boy about a book I got at Porter Square Books this week, where I had gone Monday evening to hear a young man read from his first novel and ended up perusing the shelves and finding more books, the fiftieth anniversary edition of The Art of Loving by Eric Fromm, and three slim red journals, in which I intended to write dreams and private thoughts, have so far written only one. In telling my boy about the book, I realized again how little I know and how curious I am to know more, how much conversation helps to put boundaries around and give shape to both. My boy, as a sixteen year old with a curious mind and a willingness to amble, talks to me about music in the car on our way to school, about politics and current events and things at school and thoughts and ideas he’s exploring and he listens and is curious about things I wonder about, too. I hadn’t thought of myself as a mother of teens, and I really hadn’t thought of myself as a mother of adults, but guess what, at 46 I am both, and it’s enlightening.
The Art of Loving is not perhaps what is seems. I carried the slim volume to the register in my arms along with the journals with some shame or embarrassment. Eric Fromm hits that right off, reminding me that because love is so essential to being human, when we feel lacking in love in some way we feel less than and ashamed. No one likes to be the middle aged woman at Porter Square Books on Monday evening sitting in the back row of a nearly empty reading listening to the author’s mother and her book club ask question after question of the author, nor to walk to the counter with a book on Love and three empty journals. What else is a woman to do with a locavore heart and a penchant for books and words and dreams and a midlife of unknowns?
In any case, no regrets. The book is a classic for good reason, less than one hundred twenty five pages, translated into many languages, read and reread for fifty years. I trust the words will work some wonders on my heart and mind, lead me in new directions, expand my world, deepen it if all goes well. In the spirit of loving, my son let me know that Mister Rogers answered every fan letter he received, that his deepest belief was that each person mattered in a unique, significant way. Earlier in the week my son let me know that each of the sweaters Mister Rogers wore on his shows was hand made by his mother. Another factoid, which my son relayed as I was trying to sing a Mister Rogers song about being special, was that Mister Rogers studied music. Another I relayed to him was that I watched a lot of Mister Rogers, both because I liked his show and because he was the one tv guy my mom adored. Funny to find my son at sixteen drawn to him as well.
At bedtime, my gal was listening to Tracy Chapman, to an album I listened to again and again in my early years. Tracy’s portrait on my gal’s iphone in her bedside charger and speaker combination looked so young to me I said this to my daughter. What do you mean? was her response, prompting me to say she is so much older now, and for my girl to ask how old and for me to counter, about my age, as she was a young woman when I was in college, and for my girl to say that is not so old. Only a few hours ago, I was telling her about my newest ventures into the world of online dating, laughing at myself as I danced in the kitchen to our mutual song obsession of the day 1234 by Feist and she warned me not to do that in front of any new man or in front of her with him, and then I realized who I was with and what I was saying and acknowledged it was weird to be talking about that with her and she said, no big deal, as she had learned all about dating later in life from her grandma, my mom. Go figure. She did and I did and here we are, not living the life I had planned at her age at all, with her wiser than I’d ever been at twelve.
Kids really are terrific. I feel lucky to have mine. No wonder I get down when they’re away. I’m working on that, too. Dream abundance was the starting for this piece. The dream was about money, but also about care, and about the people and events which surprise us, and often provide for us in ways we couldn’t know.
With that I am off to pay the bills, prepare the contracts, apply for the financial aid, after installing my gift of the week, a copy of the Microsoft Office applications I’ve been missing since my computer went down, more abundance.
Enjoy the sunny day:) Before I go, though, I do want to say that I am thinking about my pulling back from making change in the larger world. It’s a thread I’ve been following for awhile, and I think it’s leading somewhere, not towards indifference, but toward an inner and outer shift that just might bring me peace and possibly have a greater impact on the worlds I hope to change than all the advocating I was doing before I wore out. Live the dream, perhaps is what I mean. Not so sure…another rambling piece I give you credit for having the patience to read. The brand new novelist warned us about this approach to writing and here I am regardless.
Just reread the Writer’s Almanac poem of the day, and realize it fits with the theme of abundance, so will share it here:
There is a hush now while the hills rise up
and God is going to sleep. He trusts the ship
of Heaven to take over and proceed beautifully
as he lies dreaming in the lap of the world.
He knows the owls will guard the sweetness
of the soul in their massive keep of silence,
looking out with eyes open or closed over
the length of Tomales Bay that the egrets
conform to, whitely broad in flight, white
and slim in standing. God, who thinks about
poetry all the time, breathes happily as He
repeats to Himself: there are fish in the net,
lots of fish this time in the net of the heart.
“Fishing in the Keep of Silence” by Linda Gregg, from All of It Singing. © Graywolf Press, 2008. Reprinted with permission. (buy now)