Thursday, April 16, 2009

Adult Domestic

This may sound odd, but...I'm trying to grow up. The events of the past six months of my life plunged me into a strange new life cycle, in which in fear and panic I regressed and almost collapsed, the architecture of my self seriously compromised. The near loss of one's self is an extreme and frightening thing. If one makes it out of the tunnel alive, as I did, much is changed.

I was just standing out on the back porch in the last light of this gorgeous spring day and thinking something like, "I'm experiencing this differently." The air smelled good. I heard the robin doing that bubbly melody in the mulberry tree. The sky, deep blue overhead and lighter, cerulean behind the western line of roofs and budded-out maple trees, filled me with gratitude. I've seen it all before, but somehow I'm different now; a certain doubt-filled anachronistic naivete and denial has leached away. The words to describe it aren't coming out right; there are poems to be written about this eventually.

Another, similar moment. Today I was out in the front yard, raking. Since we bought this house I've hesitated to bond with it fully for some reason, and that means I've almost never treated its yards, front or back, with the proper care, leaving the mowing and snow removal to a GM retiree who'll do everything that needs to be done for $25 a pop here and there. But today I was raking it myself, systematically and serenely making little piles of dead grass and sticks, leaves left from October. Putting them into the big brown lawn bag, bending, breathing, raking. It felt like an adult thing to do: taking care of my own piece of earth, doing what needs to be done. Most of my life I have not felt like an adult, for whatever reason, as if I didn't have what it takes, couldn't make a convincing case that I met the criteria. But today, raking quietly in the April sun, my life re-arranged by crisis and recovery, I felt peacefully, tentatively whole. Quietly, unsensationally grown up.

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