Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Today it rains off and on, off and on. I can't believe that after all this good soaking we've gotten, we are still in a state of drought, but them's the rumors. Last week, I was driving my Little Sister home after a fun though messy bout of making chocolate chip cookies. She was a bit sleepy, lolling in the front seat of the car, then she asked, "Ali-Al, why do it stop and start like that?"

"What--the rain?"

"What makes it stop raining and then start again?"

Scientific knowledge is not my strong suit. If she had asked, "Where did Sylvia Plath do her undergraduate work?" or "Which painters influenced Frank O'Hara?" or "What is enjambement?" then we would have been cooking with gas. Instead I resorted to what someone had told me when I was seven:

"The clouds are like paper bags full of water and when they bump into each other, the soggy bags break and the water falls down on us and that is rain."

She was not impressed by this, and rightly so, since C later told me it was inaccurate. "Maybe I should handle the meteorological inquiries," he suggested.

"Why do it start and then stop again?" she repeated until I had to say, honestly, "I don't know."

And there you have it: I don't know. Gerry asked me what I thought of the stimulus package, whether it will work or not. I don't know. Where will the good jobs be and will I get one? I don't know. Will Love Shack get taken by a small press soon, or will I be sending it to contests for the next eight years as I did with See How We Almost Fly? I don't know. How much money am I making this year now that my poetry in the schools work has mostly dried up? I don't know. What will I do for work in the next part of my life? I don't know.

I keep repeating to myself what Carla says in circumstances that are harder and more out-of-control than the economy: My positive attitude is unconditional. It does not hinge on specific outcomes, desired or not. It is intrinsic; it comes from within. That's the only way to go. All the rest is weather. It rains, it stops raining. It starts raining again. C says this has something to do with the winds blowing the clouds around. I don't know why.


David Shearer said...

Our lives are very much like the weather. Always changing, unpredictable; then again, sometimes not. Often the rhythms of nature make no sense whatsoever. To us any way. Angry and destructive one moment, showering us with warmth and nourishment the next. And who can say with certainty what will come next? Not those of us who attempt to forecast the future. All we know is that as sure as we all experience birth and death, the sun will rise, and the sun will set.
Your friend Carla has a great outlook on life. That her "attitude is independent of outcome" reveals her understanding of our human condition. Unlike our smaller furry brethren on this planet, our larger brains are easily seduced into believing we can absolutely control our lives. So we loose our ability to flow with the river of random events that seem to more accurately describe our circumstances while living in this world.
Congratulations on getting your book published! When will it be released? And, will you be making an appearance at the SUN gathering in Big Sur in October? I hope so.
The time you spend with your Little Sister is such a loving thing to do. Regardless of how frustrating it may be at times, it is an effort that will yield rewards for you, for her, and for all the lives that will be touched by that youngster in the future. I thank you personally for taking the time and energy to do this for your community.
Be well Alison. May the sun always shine on you when you need it the most.
David S. Shearer

Anonymous said...

David's remarks were so loving and kind and insightful. Carla's wisdom continues to bring us all to a better place. And your poems and plays my dear reflect your kind and good soul. So in terms of the weather metaphor, think of yourself and Carla and David as the ground beneath us and the weather as the atmosphere around the ground and you that makes you appreciate more fully the calm and beautiful transcendence of peace and sun upon which your feet and soul surely do rest

Anonymous said...

drops, drops, drops, always dried into my eyes. I get the chance to watch through them, they give the colours and the pains. wet and leaf; way unseen; weird instinct; while I live. Draw her own fake; bake my own face; make your own fate. They are all ice.

Anonymous said...

IMHO - you should make this particular blog into a poem and send it to The Sun. Good stuff.


Alison said...

Thanks all, for your loving comments. Yes, I plan to be at the esalen conference in october--looking forward to being back after a hiatus this year! And yes, weather, and Carla's wisdom and love bouy me as they have always dne, all the years I have known her.