Express Train

I am a quiet person. I keep my beliefs, politics and opinions tucked away and private, nobody’s business but my own.

My husband, Gib, is the opposite. He loves to broadcast these things, whether or not you want to listen. When Gib begins to talk politics he becomes someone I stand away from.

It’s as if my gentle sweet man becomes possessed by the spirit of a zealous dictator. He is convinced that others will see the world exactly as he does, if he only talks loud enough, fast enough or long enough. Gib gets bigger and bigger in his mission, then for no apparent reason, the spirit that possessed him leaves, he returns to the room, to himself and finally to me.train

Did I do it again? he asks. Did I get too loud? Did I run over them like an express train?

The waitress delivers another beer. Let’s just say, Gib, that there is no one here tonight who does not know exactly where you stand on the subject.

There is no listening when he enters these outer dimensions of himself. There is only reporting and a sincere belief that he can change anyone’s mind if he talks long enough.

He is naive in this way and determined. This is the same self who will sincerely lecture on the downfalls of sugar and carbohydrates, while going to the dessert table to refill his plate with apple pie, brownies and carrot cake.

He is a good man though. Kind and gentle beyond measure. This new president is teaching him about unity, allowing and embracing diversity, while I am learning to accept my relationship and the world as they are and not as I want them to be.


Falling apart under the trees.

I was searching for my former vision, my old way of seeing that got lost. I know it hides beneath a tangle of flowers against a damp richness of soil. I imagine it abandoned there, lying at an angle, surprised at the unexpected release. Dropped, lost, gone.

I searched for it today, that old way of seeing and being. It was important to find it because it took so much with it. It took the way I looked in the mirror after hours of receiving you into every cell of my body. It took my sexuality and the way I could never be in the same room with you without wanting to lie you down in our bed.

These days our bed frightens me. It has become a place of illness, of sleepless tossing against you and away. It has become a place for stories of fear and the confession of foolish past mistakes.

I couldn’t find that old way of seeing today. The will that dams my reservoir of sorrows broke open. I had to stand in the flood. Sweet that you searched me out. The trail of your journey etched in green across your white shirt. How comforted I am by the sight of you. You house a lifetime of integrity in your style, your choices, your countenance and wisdom.

I was the child who hid to mask the depth of her feelings. Today I become what I feared; another in a long line of demanding females expressing excessive emotion. My wonderings and confusion seem small next to your kindness. I am embarrassed to speak them.

The Buddha became enlightened under the bohdi tree. I sat on prickers and hard earth staring into a parking lot. My tree was cedar. Nature and your loving words cradled and enlightened me.  Thank you for accepting and loving and listening. I’m such a handful for myself, I can’t imagine what it must be like for you.

I didn’t find my old vision and I miss it, but at least I can still see. Now I must be patient to see what I will be shown through these new lenses.

written 9-23-05

I imagined you

I imagined you walking down the driveway this morning. As I looked out the big circular window in the bathroom, there you were. Just for a moment. You were wearing black shorts and sandals. Morning light danced in the silver of your hair; your head was bent and your arms overfull with all that you carry from truck to house. Your walk was distinctive and measured. You didn’t look up or notice me. Your gaze was on the driveway and the cases in your hand. I imagined also, before loading your arms that you had eaten yellow plums plucked fresh from the branch, a little soft and overripe. 

How grand and welcome you looked against that long gaze of forest drive, too preoccupied to notice the fields of clover, ferns and draped ivy that witnessed your return. The wooden piles that divide pavement from foliage quietly and firmly directing your path to our shelter and into my hungry arms. 

In that moment, seeing you there, a smile drifted across my face, my body lit with recognition. He has come back to me, I told myself, he is home. But you are not here yet. You will not come tomorrow or the day after or the next. I must wait for your return. But the plums will not be able to hang on much longer. They are already losing their grasp. It is hard for me to wait as well, but I can pass the time. I have fasting to do, clients to see, friends who visit, clothes to sew, dreams to dream, pictures to draw and words to write. I’ll spend a day of silence going in and in and in. 

I am a new person now that you are with me. I am a woman with a veracious longing. I am the desert and you are the water. When you are away, I return to my essence and know myself. It’s familiar, comfortable and rich. But when you are with me, I abandon the beauty of that place and reach for you. I can do nothing else, nothing. My longing has a life of it’s own and there is no stopping it. It’s a force running through me and its only path, surrender.

From nowhere you appeared in my life, changing it deeply and forever. Is it any wonder I have visions of you? My spirit lies open and waiting.

written 8-10-05

The Celtic Weave

I won’t leave him. He is the only man I won’t ever leave. I am learning tolerance. I am learning to embrace the faults of another with compassion and love. Whenever I think of going I remember our mutual birthday. There is something about coming into the world on the same day that binds us more strongly than I would have imagined. It’s like being separate roots on the same tree. We are sun and moon. Our differences repel, attract and bind.

The Celtic weave on our wedding ring is knotted, but not a tight knot. It does not suck the air from a room or become a hand closing the flow of freedom. No, this pattern is a loose open weave, expansive, and solid.

I have come to allow his forgetfulness and distractibility, and have learned to embrace his child-self who bounds into each new day with excitement and expectation, but resists domestic chores and limit setting.

He has stretched to love me also. He is an excitable extravert, who had to incorporate my solitary nature, my need for electronic-free living and my shunning of his boisterous friends.

This man belongs to me and I to him. We are different and the same. We are a pair of shoes together and apart. My granddaughter, Britan, says, Grandma, you married one of a kind!  She shakes her head at his quirky eccentricities, all the while being drawn into his orbit by his open-hearted generosity and playful acceptance.

He is patient with me, endlessly patient, while I am more often impatient and short-tempered with him. When I call to apologize, he waves me off. Oh Karen, Your moods don’t bother me at all. You’re wonderful and amazing just the way you are. Really, don’t give that another thought.

He thinks I’m a rock star, an undiscovered gem. He holds my identity with a full respect that I have trouble affording myself.  If I said, Gib, I need you to drive across the United States for me, he would reply, when shall I leave?

I have been with many men, all chosen for the wrong reasons, or attracted from father pain. Gib came after a drought and a desire to live alone rather than continuing to hurt myself in that way.

Oh, don’t get me wrong! The man has put me through hell with inconsiderate actions, dysfunctional family and a very real fear of being close, but somehow this is different. I love him and can stay, because his actions are not born of abuse, rather they are signs of adjusting to a life together after many years of living lost.

I am not his wife in any traditional sense. I won’t take his name or his diamonds.

I just want to be ‘us’ together, two people, caring and walking side by side for as many days as we have left.

written July 16, 2008