I sit down on the Adirondack chair, on the little raised deck like a dais, my bottom sliding over the wood, surprising and smooth as if it had been polished. (Now I want a chair like this.) I am on a ridge at Descanso Gardens, looking north over La Cañada and the foothills of the San Gabriel mountains. I breathe, sigh, stretch my neck and shoulders, so tight these days. I try not to feel uncomfortable as people come into view and spot me sitting there. (I am so close to the intersecting paths.) I am glad when they all disappear again, and I remain. I rub my hands across the arms of the chair, soft against my palms. In the stillness of this almost-wilderness, I am the grateful, quiet queen of my domain.
“For God’s sake,” Biden says
“this man cannot remain in power.”
I don’t have all the details
(unwise, maybe, for a president)
but it makes me like him more.
The mockingbird greets me for the second morning in a row. He is on a different electric pole today, one pole north of yesterday’s. He’s my first mockingbird for 2022. I worried when I was in Palm Springs last week because I didn’t hear one. (I am good at worrying. I even wondered if something was wrong. Two years ago there were so many there, more than I’d ever known. Could there be a dearth of them this year?) I stand in the driveway, head back, looking up at him. “Good morning,” I say, happy to see him, happy he is happy. I don’t remember to look at anything else, to check the top of the ridge for hawks, to take in the sky. I only notice I am dressed too warmly for the sun, and when I walk back in the gate, I feel the cool air of the shade on my face. My wishes to each of you. May it be a good day. And if there is grief or anger or terror in it, may there be an unexpected moment of love or kindness or joy.
I sit, wordless, wondering what will come. Welcome, she says to me. Do not worry. All will be well. Words come, my self reassured by my self. All will be well. Don’t worry. Be happy. (Like the song says.) So simple. So true. So damn hard. I am weird and wonderful one moment, pulled into shark waters the next. But always, always find my way back again, tears drying on my face, something eased or healed inside me, blessings raining down, wetting my head.
I dream Julia Roberts and I
on a rooftop
She has a cut lip
and hair pulled back into a small messy knot
There is city around us
maybe near the sea
and we visit there more than once
gaze across the rooftops at dusk
She has trauma, too, something to do
with a dream she wanted to fund
in Syria or Ruanda
and crazed pushback on social media
And somehow we are close
comforted by each other
Our lives both hard just now
and being met
like old friends
like no secrets
like no hiding at all.
I am on the phone with my good friend. She mentions in passing, on her way to another story, that she once did a documentary with Julia Roberts. I am standing in the back yard, and I watch my mother walk down the hallway inside the house, obedient with her oxygen, so the tension in my shoulders lessens. Two red-tailed hawks appear against the blue and fly slow circles above me while I listen to my friend’s voice. And all at once it is one of those moments, when everything aligns, and for several seconds I am not understanding words, only standing there, taking in the sounds. The hawks feathers brush against my cheeks, and I am at the center of it all.
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.]