Love is having its way with me, working me, softening and deepening and joying and me and preparing me for greater sorrows than I ever wanted to face. Moments almost too sweet to be borne: watching C from the kitchen window as he brings roses into the house. He sees me there and holds out the biggest reddest rose to me. The look that passes between us would make a room full of teetotalers drunk. I don't know what to say about love because the power of it makes me speechless. I can only surrender to it. I'm living inside an answered prayer.
The other night after a long day scraping the ceiling he turned to me as we were both dropping off to sleep. The feeling of love was overwhelming. We found ourselves in each others' arms. It was not about sex, not passion only. It was like being swept along in some sort of great tide, one that makes me feel I am exactly in the right place.
Outwardly, things are quiet. C is finishing up his last days of school (seven and counting...) I am here at the computer, looking at a handful of projects: two plays, a couple of essays, two book projects for other people, one collaboration. The house needs to be cleaned and readied for dinner guests and sleepover guests. There are classes to be taught and taken. Trips to the grocery store to pick up lettuce and avocados. On the surface things are mundane.
But running through everything is this flow, this sense, not of "doing the work" as my earnest spiritual friends say, but of letting the work have its way with me. I wanted a family; we will not be having or even adopting a young baby or child. At one time, eating dinner with just the two of us in this big house felt a little fearful and too quiet--I kept listening for the sound of children's laughter that i felt was missing from our life. Now I'm not listening for anything more. The moment is full enough. Love has not met all of my agendas, but allowed me the grace to set my agendas aside and open to whatever comes next.
It has not made me a better, thinner, or more efficient person. I'm still just going to the grocery store and forgetting to get more Lact-Aid 2% milk. What has shifted has been so subtle; less fear, more love. I did not want to love C this completely, because I feared/fear he will die before I do. My mother died, Alan died. Carla has a fatal disease. C is in good shape, but he has diabetes, which is associated with heart attacks and strokes. I was afraid; I am still afraid, but less so. I am loving fully despite fear of loss. That is all. It's simple and hard. Keep opening, keep opening.
Also; I was afraid to love anyone fully because I was afraid they would discover what a dweeb I am; how messy, inefficient, lazy, and all the other faults I accuse myself of. Well, C has seen. He knows. He's dragged me out of bed by the heel on a cold winter morning when I did not want to go to work. He's observed me wasting time, and being immature, close-up and personal. And he loves me anyway. And he's a dweeb as well. Again, a simple, ordinary, mundane miracle, but one I never thought would be mine. And here it is, glowing, not in the center of my palm, where I can grasp it or drop it, but in the center of my being.
I spent sweet time with Carla the other day, just massaging her shoulder, talking and listening. This is still just daily life, more heightened now, but all the same content. Driving places, picking up, dropping off. Creating, editing, paying bills, making the bed. This miracle of love, like a live, pulsing, muscular river, flowing through everything.
It is not there to feed my vanity, help me lose weight, or make me better or more special. If anything I feel less special, more humble and grateful just to be alive and blessed with this ordinary extraordinary gift. Just eating salad together at night after a hard-fought game of tennis, with a cold beer and a couple of candles, brings tears, is a feast of gratitude almost too rich to eat.
Yesterday I walked around the lake with Laurie and we talked about plans for the class we will teach weekend after next and the book we want to write. Today I picked up my Tony Hoagland book (he's one of my favorite poets! Read him!) and found the following passage, which I love so much I will copy it out here.
The Slipperiness of Metaphor
There is something irreconclably, neurologically primal about the act of metaphor. This primal wildness conceals it from us. Of the hinterlands of the gray matter, where metaphors roam free, our data is all rumor, conjecture, and anecdote. Because metaphorical speech is such a commonplace, because almost anyone can and does produce metaphor on a daily basis, we assume that it is scrutable. Because it is a mental process, because it takes place within our own heads (on our property), because it leaves our own authorial lips, we assume we know something of its workings. But we do not. Invariably, the only adequate way to describe the metaphorical event is by another metaphor. It is a mystery hand going into a black mystery box. The head says, "Fetch me a metaphor, hand," and the hand disappears under a cloth. A moment later, the hand reappears, metaphor on its extended palm. But, despite the spontaneity and ease of this event, we have only a vague idea where the image came from. In fact, we don't know. And neither does the hand."
from "Tis Backed Like a Weasel" The slipperiness of metaphor
Real Sofistikashon, Essays on Poetry and Craft by Tony Hoagland