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June 2010
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August 2010

Posts from July 2010

Plenty Beads

I used to finger the enough beads that my life was stringing for me. Enough bead after enough bead after enough bead of words and happenings that kept pushing me down, teasing me into thinking that they would end—that there would be a real enough point—but they just kept coming.

And then last June, when the house was sold and I could move out of the oppressive atmosphere, the stringing ceremonies stopped. And now new stringing ceremonies need to be instated. Now I am happily adding plenty beads to charm my days.

---It is pouring outside. What a joy. Once you live in Israel (or any place with a dry season), you can’t but appreciate a summer rain. It is beyond refreshing, it is life-affirming. Rain in the midst of unending heat. Even though I grew up in New York City, city of steamy summer rain storms, that seventeen-year break means that I do not take the soothing rains for granted. It is a blessing to be received.

---In a few days I will be going on vacation—I am taking my daughters to the Pacific Northwest for a week’s vacation. While my older daughter has shed her teenage skin and my younger daughter has grown it, they both wanted to go—or agreed to go—with me on vacation. Either way, it is still such a plenty bead on my formerly bare mother-joy necklace. And while I am not happy that my older daughter has not talked to her father for a while—as a result of his words and actions toward her—I can’t say that I’m not sorry that she has finally seen him for who he is.

---I have sent off query letters to agents for the book I began writing last summer. What a sense of satisfaction. And after the experience of writing this blog and receiving such supportive feedback, I believe that I have developed the type of skin necessary to not give up. Although, of course, I am sending out positive thoughts that this first round will elicit an invitation to send the manuscript and not just form rejection letters.

---And I have begun writing another book. And that also is wonderful. Of course it’s slow going, but I am pleased with the concept (which came to me about two weeks ago) and pleased that I am finding purpose in thinking about it and writing it.

---For three years I used to listen, night after night, to a call-in radio show, Delilah. People would call to say how wonderful their husband or wife is, asking for a song to be dedicated in his or her honor, or they would call, asking for a song that would temporarily soothe their broken hearts. Up until last June I would lay there on my love seat-bed, with the door of my room locked, and cry as I listened to people talking about how lucky they were, and I would cry as I listened to people cry out their pain, seeking a moment’s solace in a song.

I would cry because I could never imagine getting out of the misery that I felt encompassed me. Love and happiness seemed so foreign. How does one go from experiencing the harshness of a relationship that transformed itself into an endless battle to longing to think about someone? And even when people would say that that is precisely what had happened to them, I would be happy for them and envy them, but say, good for them, but that will not happen to me.

And now, now I am finding an opening in my heart for a man who searched for me to tell me that he has loved me since we were friends 28 years ago. How could I not reach out my hand to touch this preposterous bead? It feels as if the ineffable quality that oversees the wonders and ways of the world is presenting me with the most precious bead of plenty—a bead that grows to encompass all manner of well-being, fuzzy and infinite.

Truth Is Stranger than Fiction

How is it that when I am always sure of what I am going to write about, something happens that forces me to completely change my focus?

On Wednesday I drove up to New York to meet a friend to see Carole King and James Taylor perform. It was a wonderful concert: wonderful time with a friend who is great for creating memories with, wonderful seeing my mother a little less drained than she had been the previous week on her way back up to New York, and wonderful that the drives to and from New York were smooth sailing almost the entire way. And wonderful that I went on this one-day adventure after it had changed from a more intentional, extended visit with my mother to a less than 24-hour jaunt. After the concert I thought that I was going to write about how the audience of midlife-plusers couldn’t contain themselves from singing out loud during “Natural Woman” and “Fire and Rain”—moi included. But then something happened the next day that shelved that reflection on how we change and yet how we don’t change. But on second thought, maybe it is still on that but from an entirely different angle.

On Thursday afternoon I checked my work email. My heart did a drop and roll back into place as I read the most unexpected email. It was from a man who I was friends with in the few months I lived in New York between visiting Israel and moving back to Israel in 1982-3. It was a very intense friendship--and no sex or dillydallying was involved. It was this free moment before our lives (I assume on his, I know on mine) took a serious turn. We were free to talk and walk around New York for hours, and doing spontaneous things because we were young and felt the power of our youth and the flood of happiness that invades when you mesmerize and are mesmerized by someone else without really being aware of it or acting on it.

Oh my. I cried for about five minutes in the car as I drove to pick up my daughter and her friend after they saw Eclipse at the mall. 

How do you ever know if you have touched someone? And do you ever know if you have been acknowledged long after your presence isn’t present? Twenty-eight years ago we were companions in an idyllic interlude. And that has been remembered.

In the space of his email I was transported back past the bitterness and disappointments that have tainted me. He brought me back to a time before regrets. Before, as too many people have noticed, my eyes deadened—and then came back to life. Back to being the young woman who listened to James Taylor and Carole King in her room endlessly, being touched by their words but not, yet, fully understanding the meaning from which they were formed.

Just being at that concert, listening to Carole King and James Taylor, transported me back to my youth, but yet kept me so solidly in the present, so did his email. The past and the present. Perhaps I have lived my past more fully than I thought. Maybe there is less to regret than I think. I was fully in my life, experiencing it, not planning it or anticipating it or waiting for it. Perhaps that is the sense that I need to recover; not (necessarily) the silliness of walking across a bridge in a blizzard, but of committing to the preciousness of each moment—and of sharing and creating joy.

* * *

Update on the six-week relationship: It did not last past that marker.