Sunday, August 8, 2010
Drinking From the River, Mad to Live
From the movie Roxanne
C.D. Bales: There will never be another tonight, Roxanne. Why should we sip from a teacup when we can drink from the river? There's a tiny word. It's not a noun, it's not a verb, it's not an adjective, I, I don't know what it is. But if you said it to me tonight, all this blackness would go away, and you and I would be connected by a tunnel of light.
Roxanne: What is the word Chris?
C.D. Bales: "Yes". "Yes", Roxanne, "yes".
Roxanne: Yes. Yes, Chris.
There is a hutch in my family room. A white hutch with shelves filled with teacups and teapots, bagged teas, and loose teas, like vanilla rose, and mango green and wild huckleberry. There are a few coveted teaspoons of hotel silver found in thrift shops used to stir the tea.
There is something lovely about making a pot of tea, pouring it into a painted porcelain cup, adding a lump or two of sugar, and a bit of cream. Then you sip. It is quiet and dignified and civilized, and even better if there is a crumbly piece of shortbread on the saucer.
Have you forgotten though what it is like to drink from the river?
I want to drink from the river. I want to kneel down in cool clear waters, and drink like an animal, wild and free and thirsty and uninhibited.
I did not choose this path. No one ever would. I do not recommend it. It would be easy to kick and scream and fight and pout and whine and cry every step on this path. It would be easy, and no one would blame you.
I just don't feel happy when I am kicking, screaming, fighting, whining and crying. You notice I left out pouting? Sometimes pouting makes a pixie happy.
None of us can control what happens to us. Only what you think about it. Only how we choose to define it, use it, grow from it. Things along the way have helped me surrender to the path. When you open or when you are cracked open, seeds can grow.
I am planting seeds. I am clearing weeds and tilling soil. I am shaking out little seeds and patting dirt on top of them. I am watering. I am tending. I am watching. I am waiting.
In the midst of this chaos and uncertainty, denial and grief, I am drinking from the river and sowing a garden.
I did not choose this path. No one ever would. I do not recommend it.
There are moments I think "I wish this had never happened."
And then I take it back.
That is not to say this path is easy. This path is a huge challenge.
Tell me though, how could I erase this path, and with it the people and moments and unexpected gifts found on it? How could I?
Grieving the path, embracing the path, resisting the path, surrendering to the path, holding on, letting go, staying stuck, exploding into bloom.
This is living irony, and there are no shoes that go with that.
It is best to go barefoot with painted toes, and a red wig.
When I surrender to gratefulness,
there is fullness where emptiness had been.
There is satiation where once I was so hungry.
There is intention where once had been lethargy.
A voice replaces silence.
A will to live replaces complacency.
The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn, or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn, like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars... Jack Kerouac
CANCER. It would be easy to break it down like this.
C for crying.
A for anger.
N for numb.
C for calamity.
E for empty.
R for ruined.
I'm beginning to see the light, break it down, break it down again like this.
C for Catalyst.
A for Agape.
N for Naked.
C for Clarity.
E for Evolution.
R for Revolution.
There was a cellular revolt that happened in me.
There is a response from me.
Drinking from the river. Going mad. Desirous of everything.
Mad to live.
Burn. Burn. Burn.
This is where I am tonight,
91 blog posts and 112 days into this path,
with painted toes and a red wig,
tending a garden,
with the face of the littlest angel burned into memory.