I’m on a roll here, folks – bear with me.
My hubby and I took a little time off this weekend. We both needed it. It was a good escape from the inversion our valley had been suffering (for those who don’t know, in the Salt Lake valley the mountains often trap cold, polluted air beneath a layer of warm air. It’s worse than Los Angeles smog in so many ways), and a good escape from some of the chaos we’ve been attempting to sort through. It was long a weekend-long date.
We golfed on a new course in Hurricane, Utah (that’s pronounced her-uh-cun in these parts), and it was a pretty course, though not the prettiest one in that area. I played okay, much thanks to Dr. B and his sage advice (a loose grip and a smooth tempo worked wonders!), and considering I was in short sleeves and picked up a little sun on my cheeks, I didn’t mind my final score at all. And I only swore a few times, which is remarkable in itself.
We drove home on Sunday afternoon, most of the way in a nasty snow storm. Despite that, I felt relaxed and ready to dive back into whatever craziness might await me. As I checked my emails (surprisingly, only 30 of the over the weekend), my sweet friend and mentor Alison McGhee had put a gem in my in-box. Alison has a mailing list to whom she sends a poem once a week. This one was particularly appropriate I though.
The Blue Grotto
– Monica Ferrell
Somewhere in this world I will understand
that room: a natural heaven—the personal
swimming hole of the old Augustus—:
What a beautiful crock. Yet
how the boatman swindled us so gently;
we hardly minded. And then—
the violence of the sudden chain breaking
us into the splendor of a new life—
We idled on eternity, out of time.
I stood up in the boat
holding out my arms like a chick
burst from its white shell,
one low blue blaze in an ocean
of blue fire.
Life was full of struggle.
All the struggle of this last epoch
was not over and would not be over,
was a rare sweet wine in a crystal phial
pressed from hours of rain sliding
down in streams the mind’s train window
to be drunk on a day like this, in one straight delicious draught.
So my heart was broken: it would break again,
but my tiny muscles would stand it and my bones
as long as I stayed willing. Let me stay, I prayed,
pure: unapostate and without deceit in the face of being.
Then the boatman began to sing, he rolled
out the opera and the salty local,
he told tall tales and ludicrous jokes
and I laughed. Here, at the end
and beginning of my voyage. For this, this it is:
The island where your name is unhidden
and now you must leave it
as we must leave everything perfect until
we enter that great wide sea.
Somewhere in this world I will understand my life.
The last line said it all to me. With all the many hats I wear (and don’t we all!), with all the craziness I live with, I think sometimes I’m just looking to understand what my ultimate purpose is. Then it dawns on me that trying to pin that down into simple English is part of what makes me so nuts. In a way, this is part of the illusion of control I talked about previously. The serendipity of this poem showing up when it did is what keeps me believing in a higher power. It’s what convinces me that, no matter how crazy things may be, it’s all really just fine and I need to stop worrying about “what if” and be content with “what is” at this time.
And it is amazing what happens when I let go and trust that. Everything takes care of itself, I have more peace and simultaneously more creativity, I am happier, and the opportunities I am seeking seem to fall into place for me. So with that, there is much writing to be done, and a few papers to grade, and then I’m off to enjoy sleeping in my own bed. (I hate hotel beds, but that’s a rant for another session.)