I heard my favorite raven calls yesterday morning, those round sounds that seem like love talk, like overhearing the quiet morning murmur of two people in bed, their own little bubble, lovers who have been together for a long time talking about the day to come, about last night, people who know how to rest together, how to share peace.
[Spontaneous writing prompt, revised. Words were round and rest.]
My dragons in the books I’ve been rereading are like magpies, drawn to the shiny, the silver, to the gold of Napoleon’s eagles. I like glitter, too, and quiet neighborhoods and memories of Sundays when I was a child in Tujunga, and I sat in the back seat of our white Monza while my father drove, and every store on Foothill Boulevard was closed and the sidewalks were empty.
[Spontaneous writing prompt, words were silver and Sunday. The books I reference here are Naomi Novik’s Temeraire series.]
Today I sit on the edge of my bed in the morning looping cords over my head, laying stones against my chest. I sit for a minute doing nothing, relishing this Saturday, knowing I am off from both my jobs. I sing my little “It’s my holiday” song complete with hand movements and wiggled hips. And in these impromptu acts, these sounds and movements, I feel myself relinquish eleven minutes of believing life is hard.
I place the big liquid amber leaf over the dying cricket canopy and comfort I hope I righted him once but he is on his back again as if in chavasana and I think that’s how I feel closest to the earth and the universe too.
I squat beside my red electric tea kettle in the windowed corner of my room in my mother’s house. I let the boiling water quiet before I pour it over the two yerba maté tea bags in my favorite ceramic cup here with the whimsical fox in her Christmas tree dress. (A barista in San Francisco once told me this particular herb doesn’t like boiling water.) The tea bags are the kind without strings or tags, and today they puff up and float to the top with their corners offered up to me, poking above the hot water, so I can grab them to dunk them without burning my fingers. This perfect offering makes me grateful, and I have one of those slivers of time when I feel like myself and am happy.
On Saturday afternoon I run out of sun. So I move my lime green yoga mat to an odd diagonal patch remaining on the walkway to do my chavasana. Even this winter sun warms me where it slants between the liquid amber branches and falls on my legs, my bare feet, my face. For long, quiet moments I surrender to trusting. I think about how lost I’ve let myself get in resisting what is. I don’t berate myself, though. This is hard, I tell myself. No wonder you lost track. This is not the first time this awareness has managed to swim to the top in the last two weeks. I know it might sink to the bottom again. But wouldn’t it be sweet if I could just find my way to trusting this now and its unfolding? Wouldn’t it be dear to just let joy and sweetness arise again and again and again?
I spend a lot of time being angry right now. In between bits of grace are wedged, brief moments when I feel like myself, foreign to me for decades in this childhood home. Quick, unlooked for seconds in an afternoon when joy arises, five minutes before we have to leave for the vet when I stand beside the kitchen sink sipping my first hot tea of the day, and I am fully me as the hot spearmint goes down my throat. I sidestep three times, cup cradled at my chest, to stop and drink in the view, as well, the western sprawl of valley and foothills. Or awake in the middle of the night after checking to be sure my mom has not removed her splint, when I lie in bed and hear the owls talking outside the open window. Or right now, typing standing at the kitchen counter to ease my sore hip, while Frank Sinatra sings Christmas songs. “It’s that time of year when the world falls in love,” he sings, and I want to believe it, this year more than ever. Maybe tonight we’ll watch Love Actually. And may all our new year’s dreams come true.