Taking no prisoners. Including herself.

Dad came into room and said

“Shan, it’s 6:15 — you want another half an hour?” and when normally I would think no, no I need to get up now. I am visiting Sonoma County for only 48 hours; I must rise and meet the day like Sultan-Warrior-God and go forth and Accomplish (capital “a”), I instead pause for a sleepy moment and say “yes.” And so it was then, finally at 7:00, his second attempt, that dad came in with watery coffee, but warm enough, to summon me from bed, I decided my only thought for the morning would be all that I would not do.

I wrapped myself up in my old terrycloth robe, the one I’ve had since high school and hangs patiently waiting for when I return home, and padded downstairs. Dad had the fire going because he knows my thermastat runs cold (God bless him) and I paused for a moment before its hot breath. Then, into the backyard, where I shed my robe and felt the prick of the morning cold against my nakedness, and sunk deeply into the hot water. And then, I did nothing.

At first, I had to work for it. I thought Watch the birds, Shannon. Watch. The. Birds. But then I settled a bit, and all I did was look. I looked at the side garden, with it’s vines and plants I had planted a few years back after seasons of prepping the soil — naturally clay and unyielding to growth — so that I was proud just to see anything grown, no matter that they grew unruly and restless, all of them off-kilter and leaning East to catch the rising sun. I even stopped myself from thinking they needed pruning, because I was, after all, Thinking Nothing.

Then this thought crept in: I’m a fraud. I am a faker. Nothing is ever really as sentimental as you write it. Nothing is ever really as symbolic as it feels. All this poetry and beauty and shit, you write so that you can pretend it’s your life, when really, it’s all in your head. Everything you project out, to others, doesn’t exist.

But doesn’t it? I mean, I really did sit there, this morning, in that hot tub, and think of nothing, think a void, stopped thinking but for feeling, stopped feeling but for being — and it really was, if only for a moment, beautiful. And doesn’t it stand to reason, then, that everything is that way? That when I paused for a moment, and watched one bird fly across the synapse of one branch to another branch, to another branch — like a thought –

that I stopped, and when I stopped,
it really was?

And it was true when the freeway was so far away it sounded like rain.

[for M.W.]

§118 · February 5, 2006 · Love Project, Narrative · · [Print]

1 Comment to “Love going home”

  1. roya says:

    mmmm.you make me wish I could go home again.
    The funny thing is, my momma’s noe valley home is more “home-y” than I could imagine the house on a hill being….

    and your sense of sentiment is not false…
    it may be hard to hold on to, and fleeting feelings sometimes feel contrived…but they are not:)

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