Musical Milliner

May 28, 2012

Gratitudine

Om moment tonight: I was sitting in the dark in my front garden on this warm spring evening when one of the Box People trucks cruised past. I had 4 big boxes in the house, so I zipped inside, snagged ’em, and ran to the corner where the truck had pulled over. A nice man who spoke little English took my boxes, broke them down, and gave me a big smile, which I returned.  The universal language.

These people work hard every night collecting cardboard for cash.  Many in this big city who know of them, take cardboard out  late at night to the corner, where one of the trucks will see the pile. This is not litter.  This is income for food and rent and clothing. It is always gone by sunrise.

They are but one lane on the highway of a two hundred year old tradition in this country. Newcomers working hard to make a new life, and finding creative ways to get by, making work of things most of us never consider.

That my paternal grandparents sailed across the on the Martha Washington at the beginning of the 20th Century and made their way to Colorado still astounds me. Stephen Fry talks about a beguiling theory that America is composed of people who share a belief that “good enough” is not enough. As the first post-Enlightenment community of governance and ideals, we are a people whose ancestors (with two important exceptions) stayed behind because they refused the risk. For more on this discussion, here is a conversation between Mr. Fry and Craig Ferguson: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SWDzfkWDClk&feature=iv&annotation_id=DrPinch2190_annotation_508875

The Box People are my people.  Our people. Help them out.  Last night, I needed a reminder of how damn lucky I am, and how humble work is not beneath me.

(c)GoshGusPublishing(ascap)2012

January 23, 2011

Incrociando a Sicurezza

It was one of those late Summer days that make you forget that the season is about to turn. We happily anticipate Winter’s run up to Spring, and even more so the advent of Summer and it’s promise of long restful days. This is especially true when you are the mother of not quite grown children. Their brains rest while their bodies grow.

The end of Summer is to be ignored. We live as if there is no tomorrow, but really, all we are doing is pretending. But so what? It’s Summer!

On this particular day, this glorious temperate day, I received a phone call that it was time. I had confided my fears to my friend about walking over the Golden Gate Bridge, something locals and tourist do en masse every day. I had tried many times to walk this bridge, only to stop in abject, paralyzing fear. Irrational but tangible feelings of panic overtook me. What if someone pushed me over the rail? What if the Hand of God or some thing plucked me from the walkway and tossed me into the bay?  I couldn’t do it. My kids thought nothing of riding their bikes over the bridge. I hid my shame and made excuses.

My friend saw this obstacle as a metaphor for my collective fears. He convinced me that here lay a strong symbolic force for stepping into my new life.

I couldn’t argue his point. In fact, I decided to embrace the challenge. Not that it was easy. You see, I was not only afraid, I was stuck within all those metaphors.

Could I trust him to hold on to me? Yes. Could I trust that he would not let me come to harm? Absolutely.

So I took control by surrendering control, and put myself, literally, into the arms of the one I love.

I stalled a few yards into the journey. He whispered to me, “The trolls are not there.”  We moved forward together, and after awhile I felt  my spirit lift. I felt okay. I was more than okay. I felt free!

In freedom was pleasure. The ordinary pleasure of taking a stroll over one of the world’s most iconic bridges,  framing a view of  this gorgeous place in which we live.

I conquered this phobic fear and moved my life forward, all at once, knowing that no matter the outcome of the hardship I was facing, I would be strong enough to take all that lay ahead. I reclaimed some misplaced self-esteem, and discovered through an abiding friendship that I could love again and be loved.

I had crossed to safety.

(c)GoshGusMusic(ascap) 2011

November 7, 2010

Follia

Disheartened, discouraged, discomfited. Crying. Sulking. Repressed passion. More than anything she wants to crawl back into the cave, into the darkness that kept her safe. In its favor, the darkness is familiar. She  knows how to be there. Rather, when in the cave, she knows how not have to “be there.”

Once the light starts to crack its way in, she begins to take note of her surroundings. She is relieved by her solitary confines. At first this is reassuring.  At last!  All alone here, thank God. Nobody requiring her to explain or justify herself.  Relaxing from the tumult, she rests.

Eventually her thinking turns on her as her vision gains focus. Is this good, all this isolation? It is a bit… lonely. Perhaps she needs some company after all. Perhaps some distraction is in order, something to take her mind off those events which sent her running into the night alone.

She looks out. She looks around. And she waits passively for passersby. Who is that on the edge of the shadows? How can this be. Him? Truly? At first she does not understand why he is there, or how he came into her presence at this critical crossroads.

More alert now, her mind shifts into overdrive as synapses permit neurons to fire in rapid frequency as she seeks an assessment. One of the artifacts of spending so much time alone inside one’s head is that a person becomes an expert processor, engaged in an obsessive need to analyze situations from multiple angles. It’s a useful skill, but a skill which used to excess is not entirely healthy. The cost of this habit is a deficiency of  the ability  necessary to fix and embrace goals. It is the mental equivalent of a dog chasing it’s tail. Intensive thinking creates details which break down into a million bits of minutiae. Every one of those bits holds profound import. One begins to hyper-focus on each bit. A mind become lost and confused in the sheer volume of its creation.

From such thinking, surely, madness comes.

So she breaks free long enough to risk conversation. Acutely vulnerable and exposed, she experiences the tsunami of affirmations, and flattery wash over and pull her further from the dark places despite her resolve. Still over-thinking, she weighs her options.

She has an absurd conference in her mind wherein the Rational and the Empirical and the Existential and the Pragmatic all compete for dominance.

Not having sorted herself out, she risks all by taking the hand she sees reaching toward her. She finds in that immense hand kindness. She feels love. She is surprised by the intense passion, the cumulative suppression of which has been revealed in this confluence. What is this? Can it be real? She knows she cannot evade him even if she wanted to because he knows her game.

The light is blinding. It is as painful as the darkness. As much as she wants to acclimate to this new place, she finds herself battling mightily against fears and uncertainties. She remembers a time long ago when she lived in this brightness and flourished. She recalls exactly when and why she retreated into herself after the fog rolled in on her. She knows that in the dark, she cannot be seen. In the dark, she feels safe from potential harm imposed on her. In the dark she is comfortably numb.

That warm hand…It is attached to realities she has desired, and intense experiences she has sought all her life. But his hand is attached to complications seemingly impossible to resolve. The hand proffered is conditional, and in the end will likely choose to retreat to it’s familiar place in it’s own dismal darkness.

To hope against hope is yet another path to madness.

She measures her resources and finds herself  too fragile to juggle this place of suspended animation and potential. If it was contingent on waiting, on riding it out, then perhaps…yes!  She could do that. But she knows better.  Maybe it’s not that she knows better as much as it is about her inability to handle further loss. She chews over parables and metaphors and cultural wisdoms:  if a thing is too good to be true, then it likely isn’t;  nothing ventured, nothing gained;  that which is worth having is worth waiting for.

She is too old and cynical for such bullshit.

She flees back to her dark fortress. A place of familiarity with its own wisdom: pain alone is better than pain shared.

(c)GoshGusMusic(ascap)2010

September 7, 2009

Dolce

Filed under: hope,Musical Life,Soprano,Uncategorized — by Musical Milliner @ 11:24 pm
Tags: ,

190937998_040010cbe4

A few stolen days, and a reminder that who I am is of value.  A reminder that I have had a rich life, and when I tell my stories, I remember that I have contributed good to the world, and there is more here for me to do.

A reminder that I am cherished.

Finally, I am reminded that happiness is found in the eyes, and touch and conversation of everyone I take time for, every day.

Note to self: count my value.  Vocalise for two hours every day. Practice piano for one hour, and spend another hour on learning new scores and songs. Remember remembering.

(c)GoshGusMusic(ascap)2009

April 22, 2009

Time For Dancing

Filed under: hope,Uncategorized — by Musical Milliner @ 1:55 pm
Tags: , , ,

images My friend can see the light filling the tunnel. It has been dark except for a few fragrant candles here and there. The sweet aroma to remind her that it is indeed spring, and she will never be alone. That she is valued in the world as well.

I’ve cranked up the tunes, and am dancing in celebration. I am happy to feel her joy. It brings me hope and promise.

(c)GoshGusMusic(ascap)2009

April 14, 2009

Singing in the Garden

Filed under: hope,love,Uncategorized — by Musical Milliner @ 6:46 pm
Tags: , , , ,

imagesThe father of my children used to say that he could gauge how I was feeling about myself by two things. If I was well and in a positive state, my cooking was divine and my garden was glorious. Actually, his words were more fundamental.

My garden has looked neglected, and my cooking, as most moms come to experience with the daily grind has become routine. These days, the latter due to having busy teens, and the need to throw carbs into the trough. When I get the chance now, the goods are good!

Drooping, weedy plants is the bigger sign. I used to love buying flats of annuals and taking joy in the simple pleasure of their generous beauty. Money is tight, and such an expenditure falls into the “must do without” category.

Today I said the hell with it, and found ten dollars for some impatiens and seeds. Ten dollars for mental health cost less than a bottle of pharmaceuticals and lasts longer. So I hauled out two of my four window boxes to my kitchen, and cleaned out the moldering bits, added ground eggshells and other amendments ( I so need a container of composting worms- a must for container gardening), and felt the sensuality of wet earth in my hands. I planted the annuals, seeded some trailing alyssum, and offered a prayer of thanksgiving as I replaced them in their brackets.

Tomorrow I will prune the other two, which contain geraniums, and have grown woody. The bight red outside the bathroom window, and the lavender box which sits before me as I work at my desk. Despite my neglect, these plants refuse to give up on me, and shower me with their profuse beauty. I owe them.

To the many containers out in my front, south-facing garden, I seeded basil, and several flowers in bare pots, and added trailing alyssum and lobelia to any pot with room. I like layering. Greenery and color gracefully cascading over the pots, framing the rosemary or vines above. If you were to drive by, you would see a temporary decor of plastic kitchen wrap and blue painters tape for the terrariums needed to nurse the seeds from their sleep.

No doubt my cranky neighbor upstairs will complain, but that is her sport. I ignore her.

So I have planted hope. The hope that in the future, my life will thrive once again. The hope that people will find work to put bread on the table. The hope that our children will remember that no matter what, they are loved beyond all reason and boundaries. That laughter and love and flowers will turn my house back into a home.

(c)GoshGusMusic(ascap)2009

Blog at WordPress.com.