Wednesday, May 31, 2006

The Life of Smoke

This because it's so passionate and because I've been swallowed whole by life and can't manage to post...this, written a few nights ago

By my 8-year-old daughter, Zoe

In the years 2005-2006 I’ve been noticing the pressure life gives you. The questions it asks. The things you do that tears the life apart. I’ve been noticing the fear in people’s eyes. I’ve seen tobacco in places that people don’t think you’re going to look because they’re hiding it from you. I’ve seen how people act when they’re caught smoking. I’m going to tell you a story of the way I’m thinking of it, but I’m not just going to tell you about tobacco and stuff like that. I’m going to tell you about the smoke that factories make because this is all about smoke. At the ending of the story I want you to think about how this is to your life. I want you to know that the smoke that factories make kill the fresh air, and the smoke that you inhale makes you get cancer and you get addicted to it. I want you to know how hard this is to let go of. Think about it and let’s let our story begin.

(we can only hope that the rest of the story is soon to follow. Maybe she's just watching me waiting to find out what happens.)

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Fresh Grass

It was simply the smell of freshly cut grass that hit me today as I crossed the lawn to the library. The smell of freshly cut grass that transported me back to Boulder, Colorado 1979 when I was a 19-year-old gardener on campus for the summer. The fresh, perfect smell of cut grass that I inhaled day after day that dry, hot summer as I pushed the lawn mower across miles of green lawn under the tower of the Rockies. A job that had me watering, mowing, cutting back bushes, picking up litter, and trimming trees with my friend Greg, whose love for Neil Young rivaled mine, becoming competitive in a game we played where we’d recite a single line from a certain song challenging the other to name both song and album.

It was simply the smell of freshly cut grass that transported me today, out of my life; the decision whether to let my husband continue his dance with the ballerina even though her husband and I have ended ours; the brewing drama with my 11-year-old on whether to let her quit the gymnastics team because it leaves her little time to play with other kids; the decision of which book idea I could actually follow through with; the anxiety of whether the new and expensive dress my mother bought me for my birthday is too small and whether it’s too late to return it; the image of my friend who is very sick and possibly dying repeatedly slapping his young son on the back yesterday because the boy wouldn’t listen to him and how the moment stood still for me as I watched him strike his son with hands gone weak because of an illness that is robbing him of all of his strength, his ability to speak and to parent the way he might have imagined.

Grass that transported me past the business of money and whether I am doing my artist husband a favor by bailing him out of being broke each month; whether I’m doing the ballerina a favor by sharing my husband so she doesn’t feel nearly as lonely with hers; the scheme to stop answering my office phone in case it’s her husband, a man I am trying to rinse from my psyche because his departure leaves me confronting my own loneliness and pain.

It was simply the smell of that grass that took me, let me breath in and forget, for a moment as I crossed the lawn today and entered the library.