a need for butterfly wings. . .
i’ve thought long and hard about what i was going to write here today, and i’ve decided to lower my voice to a whisper and let you all in on what’s stirring in my heart. after all, even if this table is more cyber than maple, and even if the chairs we pull up are virtual, it’s all very real, and utterly fulsome to me: the love and the kindness and the tenderness, and all the shared wisdoms and laughters and tears, as deep and human––and often divine––as they could possibly be.
and what sort of hearts would we be if we didn’t share some especially tender threads every once in a while? so here’s what i want to tell you, though i really truly don’t want anyone worrying: i’m having a little surgery next week. a little something is stirring in one of my lungs and they need to take it out. there, now you know. i’ve been in something of a medical mystery tour these past many weeks, some of them bumpier than others, and all of them pointing toward the date i now have with a wonderful surgeon who has a habit of making me laugh out loud.
the timing, of course, is something of a bummer. not in any marketing plan in publishing land is there a clause that suggests the author duck out for a while to have scalpels taken to her chest. so i’ve had to cancel a swath of bookish adventures for the next few weeks. or, “postpone” them, as sweet blair keeps correcting me. and since brand new books have only so wide a window for birthings, i feel a bit as if i’ve slammed the sash on my very own thumb.
but maybe you can help keep the flutter in my butterfly wings. maybe for the next few weeks, while i get the wobble out of my knees, i can imagine you afluttering for me. any simple thing: maybe a few words on that ol’ amazon reader review (my publisher keeps reminding me); maybe ask your local librarian if they’ve a copy on their shelves; maybe you simply send me a picture of a page you’ve found yourself reading. (i melt every time anyone does that.) or, maybe, whatever stirs you.
i promise you i need not one other anything. i am abundantly wrapped in the tenderest care by my beloved, blessed dear hearts and souls. my blair has been nothing short of a saint. and one of my boys will be here all week. and the other has sworn not to give it a worry. (an emphatic answer to this mama’s prayer; more than anything i did not want that kid to give it one shred of a worry.)
because i’m a quirky iteration of shy, and because i’m mostly allergic to SocialMediaLand, i am not saying a word about this out in the public sphere (i don’t think of the chair as anything close to public; it all feels very sacred and safe here to me), as i don’t want it to prompt any worries or wild-eyed questions. (trust me, the things people ask!!!) i’ve kept it all exceedingly quiet because i can’t bear the thought of worrying the ones i love (or anyone else) and, until i had more than an inkling of what was going on, i didn’t want to utter a word.
so know only this: that little fluttering, however you flutter, is more than aplenty; it will keep me afloat and awaft, and soon as i can, i’ll pick up the winging all on my own. xoxox, and thank you.
p.s. i think by now you’ve figured out that i love to respond to your comments whenever you leave one at the table, but i might not be able to check the chair too much in the week ahead. and i want to apologize in advance.
and speaking of the public square, how’s this for the perfect antidote?
Remedy for Social Overexposure
by Sandra Cisneros
Seek a pirul tree and sit
ears and tongue,
Fast from same.
Soak in a tub of seclusion.
Rinse face with wind.
In extreme cases, douse
oneself with sky. Then,
swab gently with clouds.
Dress in clean, pressed pajamas.
Hold close to the heart,
chihuahuas. Kiss and
be kissed by same.
Consume a cool glass of night.
Read poetry that inspires poetry.
Write until temperament
returns to calm.
Place moonlight in a bowl.
Sleep beside and
dream of white flowers.
or this one stanza from celtic mystic christine valters paintner’s poem, “origins,” especially the first stanza, about peering into a robin’s throat, an image i envision again and again every time i see the robins plucking for a worm in my newly-verdant grasses…
If I could peer far enough down
a robin’s pulsing throat, would I see
notes piled there waiting to be flung
into freshness of morning?
If I close my eyes and burrow
my face into peony’s petals,
would I discover the source
of its scent, a sacred offering?
Can I plunge inside
and find a lifetime of words
spooled tightly inside my heart
ready for a tug?
If I dig beneath the bedrock
will I find love there,
solid like iron or does it flow like magma
filling in all of the empty spaces?
–christine valters paintner
and i’ll sashay off into the sunset with this psalm from dorianne laux…
by Dorianne Laux
Lord, there are creatures in the understory,
snails with whorled backs and silver boots,
trails beetles weave in grass, black rivers
of ants, unbound ladybugs opening their wings,
spotted veils and flame, untamed choirs
of banjo-colored crickets and stained-glass cicadas.
Lord, how shall we count the snakes and frogs
and moths? How shall we love the hidden
and small? Mushrooms beneath leaves
constructing their death domes in silence,
their silken gills and mycelial threads, cap scales
and patches, their warts and pores. And the buried
bulbs that will bloom in spring, pregnant with flower
and leaf, sing Prepare for My Radiance, Prepare
for the Pageantry of My Inevitable Surprise.
These are the queendoms, the spines and horns,
the clustered hearts beating beneath our feet. Lord
though the earth is locked in irons of ice and snow
there are angels in the undergrowth, praise them.
“how shall we love the hidden and small?” that’s a question to ponder in the blessed, blessed unfurling days ahead….
p.s.s happy blessed birthday to my beloved ella bella beautiful, who is turning 14 today, her goldenest birthday. xoxox