Thursday, November 02, 2006


I am convinced the worst way to wake up is when you are in the middle of a dream in which you are either being humiliated, caught, or revealed for your true faulted and failing character before you have time in the dream to defend or redeem yourself. The ugly dread follows you out of bed to the kitchen where you hope the ritual of brewing coffee will dissolve the dark aura. But it hangs with you in the shower where you recite the stupid things you've said to someone when you were thirteen or thirty. It shines florescent in the mirror reflecting back a defective form, one that is all your fault. If only I were different, better, braver.
Oh well. You get dressed. You tie your shoes.

It was on this bleak current that I left the house to take my daughter to school. Then I went on a long walk to shake off the rotten mantra of I'm-such-a-loser. Long walks are my salvation. I am not alone in this sentiment. I read somewhere that walking in natural surroundings is healing because it connects us with nature. And more, the rhythms of the brain respond to the limbs in motion as a form of mobile meditation. Serious walkers, those of us who walk for our psychological survival, know this. The magic occurs as the negative mantra falls mute to the stimulus of the outdoors--to God's creation.

But today I was hardened and troubled and inattentive. The walk was just an exercise in discipline. And it made me feel more alone--until I went to school; Allison's school, to read with the second graders on my Thursday. I walked the long hall wearing my good-mother smile when I beheld the new exhibit on the bulletin board outside her classroom. Poems framed in colored paper. Little expressions from little people praising dogs and sunshine and playing and friends written with the exquisite simplicity of second graders living in a time when you pretty much love yourself and everybody unconditionally. A time when the meaning of life is bound up with interpersonal relationships. Maybe that's my problem--I'm too voluntarily isolated. Failure to integrate.

Then I found my own daughter's composition. At first I thought, Oh no, she's a philosopher. Oh doom. But as I stared at her words, her little crayon landscape, I was softened with pride and protectiveness. How does a little person know so much? And if she is part of me, part of the continuance of my essence, how do I negate her predisposition to this soulful view of life, of our world? My responsibility to her is to embrace her proclivity for soulfulness and forgive myself for belittling mine.

by Allison ______

I sleep beneath the clouds
I wonder beneath the stars
I am at peace
I think to myself what a wonderful world I could be in today

1 comment:

medicrjb said...

I posted Allison's poem in the firehouse today. I'll let them wonder who Allison is. I hope you don't mind.