Wednesday, December 30, 2009

'twas Very

very merry: for no sooner did we hit the road (so adorned with our donated dashboard Yule tree as we were), our little family found some real direction. Sometimes it takes movement to gain movement; and certainly 'tis better to live your life, than wait for it to happen. And then? We woke up after our first day's travel in Knoxville, TN the city where I was born and had never really thought I'd have an opportunity to visit again. And wouldn't you know, just as my husband was checking out of our hotel, the call came that he'd gotten The Boston?!

A quick u-turn with our U-Haul was in order, so heading us North to a new phase (rather than West, to old friends).

And now that we're settling in to so much newness? There's been a lot of thought on my part about just how "thought" plays its part in life... How raw and hopeless life seemed only not-so-long ago, and how invigorated and hopeful it is now, and how much time and perspective have played their part in the experience of each.

There's been a lot on my mind about my relationship to thought and experience, especially as influenced as I am by the Buddhist view--though oft times it is difficult to reconcile what is perceived to be the "correct" way to approach things and the "actual" way I find myself doing the approaching! But for now, with a tentative, limited purview, I recognize a need for a gentle hand: for if anything, this whole experience has taught me most of all that what we have in this life has nothing to do with what we decide. Once upon a time I decided that I understood things very well; now I know that I don't know a damn thing. And once I decided that I didn't know a damn thing? I found something I knew...

What my experience taught me is that mind is not something to bypass in order to achieve some higher state or purpose. Rather that mind is a symptom, a red flag to notice or a signpost to read and know one's direction by, when relating to this state now, or to one's current purpose.

After all, it's all about relationship, isn't it?

The last few months I've spent not being a "very good Buddhist". And I wanted so desperately to be so-- so that something could be good, methinks. Now I'm settling back in to the idea that I'm not Buddhist at all. And the newness within those moments are very very good, indeed.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Dispatches from Lego-land

I have been so very inspired by the journeys of this artist and her partner in their 'orsebox gypsy-home that I determined I should have my own. Here is what my young son and I came up with the other evening during a lovely lego-a-thon. Seems fitting, no?

Our little family has finally left the fair shores of southern Maryland-- too much time sitting on our hands was making us feel quite bankrupt in spirit! So although we don't have a definite direction homeward, *motion* itself is home enough. It feels good to have the reigns firm in our hands again.

More to come!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Thanksgiving Turtles

Just when you think it’s safe to make a decision….

About two weeks before Thanksgiving, my husband looked at me with tired eyes and, at the end of a very exhausted rope, proclaimed: “Let’s go. Let’s just go.” A good friend invited us to stay the winter at his home in California (“California here we come, right back where we started from”…). Clearly Maryland was the oil to our water; no effort we were giving it was working, at all. Enough was enough!

Then just as suddenly, the call came: an invitation to an interview, just outside of Boston. So Thanksgiving Day, we moved the 20% of our belongings that we were able to salvage from the mold into storage, and our car turned to the northeast.

What a difference. We were made welcome by family in the area, and enjoyed such a feast of friends and food; the famine of spirit we’d known further south melted into memory and a new foot seemed clearly forward. We spent days by the beach on the Cape, and then days in lovely, historic Concord at an old inn. My husband enjoyed two great interviews. Then on our last day, we wandered around the bridge from which was fired “the shot heard ‘round the world” (Emerson), the spot where the first skirmishes of the Revolutionary War took place, the endpoint of Revere’s long ride.

The Minuteman memorial is cold and quiet now, and the hills around it enjoy peace and a high level of prosperity. How things change, don’t they, in the course of time? I made a note to myself of this—it’s certainly hard to be homeless, and to try to raise a young child in the midst of this kind of chaos is beyond challenging. Yet despite how troubled we are now, we are enjoying an amazing tapestry of places and faces. And when the dust of our own revolution settles, I can only wonder at what things will have taken root for us.

Patience for now, though; the interviewer has gone on holiday, and so we’ll need to wait another week before knowing what our next step will be. For the time being, we’re making a home of a beach-house very kindly donated to us in Delaware. Respite on pins-and-needles...

Still, one memory lingers from Concord. A large cemetery there holds the remains of three of my favorite authors: Emerson, Thoreau and Alcott. We made a pilgrimage there, and found them high upon “Authors’ Ridge”, their graves within their family plots, and decorated with small cairns and roses. Yet it was my moment seeing the gravestone at Louisa May’s head that gave me such an unexpected rush of tenderness… For certainly, the point of pilgrimage erases time, and puts you face-to-face with something boundless that we all share, every last one of us.

Oh, and the turtles. Everywhere there were turtles, for some reason. Turtles abandoning the cold water of the Cape…turtles in my sand-art there. A teeny, tiny baby turtle I saw by some chance on the shores of Walden Pond. A sea-turtle photo on the catalog they gave my husband, after his interview. One of those large, cement turtle play-sculptures in the playground at Concord. And finally last night, a prominent turtle print in our Aunt’s home…
And now as we amble steadfastly down the NJ Turnpike, our belongings stuffed to the gills in a little round-backed Prius, how very much like a turtle we too seem to be…