Choices, Poetry, Things I Can

50. Things I Can Flip: The Switch

light switch

He says, me too.
When it’s bad, I think
if I could see the switch
that ends
I’d be tempted
except it is too far
to reach,
even just there
across the room.

Thank god volition
is a casualty
of depression.

I say
When it’s bad, I think
if I could see the switch
that lifts me
I’d ignore it.

In fact, I do.
Every day.
Every time.

Right now.

And suddenly I know it
the way a lost song
pours across the tongue,
this wave a fluorescence entirely
untwinned from the flickering bulbs
that share its name:
Light. It urges
shadow from corner
and washes it into a chiaroscuro
of truss and beam
which takes the weight
I carry. A simple trade:
one stone
for each step.

The switch is an utter failure
at playing hide-and-seek.
I close my eyes and count
to 20 and it says
I’m right here
So I press my hands into my face
and count past a hundred and it says
Still here
so I thread the blindfold
from eardrum to throat
and knot it twice
inside my skull
then begin to number
each tomb and each bone

and still it lays itself
across my feet and says

Right here.

It is inches
or less from my skin
no matter how I pivot, it stays.
It only asks I feel
for sash, pane
keys, chord
gust, leaf. Asks I open

The switch is a loaded spring
plugged everywhere
to everything.

When it’s bad,
a gesture
as tiny as a twitch
can make it good.

I guess I’m getting up,
I say. I’m ready to move.

He says
Me too.

Divorce, Letting Go

This is not Then

It is impossible to run from the truth of him anymore. Without another man to hide behind, my naked heart receives the full blow. He walks into the house to drop off our son and he towers now in a way he never did. The sensation is not desire but it is similar enough to make the ground tremble. He is not the weak one anymore. That role is mine now.
In the Saturday sun, Bug and I pound a volleyball back and forth before picking our way through brambles at the neighborhood park. Our path takes us around by the community gardens where folks till black soil into stirring plots. An erratic series of reports through the brush leads us to a basketball court glistening with a damp frenzy of male limbs. We watch for a moment before climbing a hill to a buttery yellow house trimmed in white.
“Right here, buddy,” I say. My feet find their way to the precise spot. For a blink, everything is a bright a June day. Bug climbs up behind me.
“Right here what?”
“This,” I say, spreading my hands, “is the spot where your daddy and I got married. He was there looking at me. This tree was absolutely covered in white blossoms.” Back then, two of the flowering trees had stood side-by-side. The arch studded with sunflowers had formed a bridge under the canopy of snowy petals. Now the larger twin is gone and just one tree stands bare. Eight years have passed. There isn’t even a trace, not one scar in the earth. Bug and I gaze all around the grass as it makes its tentative appearance into early spring. A few pink and purple pansies have been planted in mulch by the door.
“Everyone was in chairs here. Your grandmas and grandpas, all your aunts and uncles and cousins.” I retrace my steps backwards along the path I took holding my father’s arm. Oh, how I had laughed during that walk! The giddiness returns in a shiver. It is as potent as the moment I strode out between all the people I loved towards Tee, sweating and grinning there by the blooms.
“Were you embarrassed?” Bug asks as he follows me. We make our way through the trees and down to the tennis courts.
“Embarrassed? Why?”
“You were in front of all those people.”
“No,” I say. “I was happy.”
Bug darts ahead into an empty court. A brisk wind has been cutting into our collars. Bug follows the white lines, kneeling occasionally to press his cheek to the sun-warmed clay. On the neighboring courts, groups of doubles thwack and scrape, hollering at one another. We make our way around the back and look for the next trail into the woods. A man calls out and asks us to toss back a ball.
“Where?” I ask.
He shrugs and laughs. “Somewhere out there.”
We walk on, scanning. “I see it!” Bug hollers. Hiding in the grass is a lighter shade of green. He grabs the ball and races up to the fence. It is chain link nearly two stories high. Bug stops a few feet from the edge, pulls back, and hurls the ball. It sails up and over, clearing the top by at least twelve inches. Everyone on the court whoops and cheers. Bug’s pink face shines.
Early in our courtship, Tee spent weeks teaching me how to throw a baseball. First he had to un-teach me and then I practiced the awkward new pitch until it became second nature. In the field near his apartment, I could send that ball soaring over the power lines. He had to walk further and further back to catch it, and he smiled so big and called out his praise when it really flew. “Can you feel the difference? I can see it!”
The return of my maiden name has restored other lesser lords to their previous stations. Old muscle memory has regained its dominion. Solitude has settled back onto its cinderblock throne. This regime was not democratically elected, and so it happens that it is not easily unseated. I understand now that a coup d’epouse is an impermanent solution to the challenges of becoming a truly human creature.
That passage from the white-trimmed door to that lush duet of foliage is now only a neural pathway. It turns out I could not plant a new civilization in the soil of me just by crossing those 20 feet. Like the whole of the absent sister tree, the petals I remember are black earth now. Neither grass nor root has a record of our covenant.
Bug and I walk on. The yellow house where I donned my white dress recedes behind us. The park is not just the place where Tee and I married. It is the place where Bug celebrated his 5th birthday, burying pirate treasure in the volleyball sand with his preschool friends. It is the place where a visiting friend joined me on a stroll earlier this winter and we stumbled across fallow garden plots I did not know existed.
It is the place my son shows me that he has inherited not only his daddy’s pink glow but his throwing arm, too. Undoubtedly, he will be as ignorant of the rarity of his innate athleticism as he is of his fortune in the assignment of fathers.
Today, it is where I learn that I did love that man once. And it is where I practice walking under the weight of my own name in the other direction.
As it turns out, a swath of awakening earth is up ahead, warming itself for my arrival.

Happy Days, Poetry

Happy 100 Days: 30

Twice today, all the clocks in the universe vanished. On both occasions, this occurred while I was writing. Once was at work and once at home. Someday there will be no difference between the two, and someday I will forget I once knew how to tell time the way I forgot the French I learned at a desk in middle school. Once, I only knew the Is, and that was before the idea of me, the idea of time, the idea of such a thing as “idea.” It was before description. It was when I was inside of that Is, and even though quite alive, not yet even born.
Some days, the capricious universe chooses to bless me. I forget everything but that language which wasn’t even language. This is where we begin and it is certainly where we end. Eventually, we all revert to the first tongue. It always eventually draws back into silence our best attempts to speak new patterns into existence. Today, it was a death of all I learned. It was awakening. It was bliss.


Be, Sweet

I scrub the seed down to hull
under the running faucet, knife scraping
the last of the yellow meat, bone slipping
off the tips of my fingers. The wet is a constant
danger. I use scissors then
nails, clawing the flesh but I cannot
reach It.
The seed is not separate
after all. Fur sprouts from within, strings
peel to fruit to ovary to tree, one thing
inside one thing.
The desire of a mango is not the same
as the tongue’s desire, though both long
to be carried away. To fly
and beetle, to the bowels of elephants,
planting season is always
right now. We are all cannibals here. Eat down
the body, drink the marrow, excrete
the next incarnation.
I carry the moist seed to the bed
where my son reaches out to stroke
the furred remains
of his favorite thing
after it is gone
before being born.



The quiet white stillness outside the chrysalis bears no resemblance to the cacophony within. The rending of flesh from bone, and bone from marrow, the screeching tear as seed splits hull and a wing cracks into being. . .  the noise of that inexorable process is as deafening as a war zone.
There is no help for it, though. Becoming is the only choice. It is not Change or Remain the Same. It is simply Change or Change. Even death, with its pretense of permanence, is an illusion. Renewal is the only constant. All the time, within all things. Listen closely: inside, you can hear shift and jostle of the next embodiment.
Even down on the parched forest floor under the long-fingered shadow of winter, no endings can be found. All is becoming.

Spring, but only the first of the bushes have begun to shoulder open their purpling buds. Weary, crooked sticks lean against the sky. What I know, we all know: the feathering leaves unfurl, the flowers begin. Life returns as it always does. Also, it never ended. It was happening there in the blank silence, too. Death is no less alive than life itself. Everything is becoming, even in dormancy. Even in the in-between.

I dig up the calendar from 2010. An insurance change requires me to stretch back into forgotten history for an accounting of doctor’s appointments and hospital stays. The first of that year is life in Technicolor, even against the heavy Adirondack days. I see in my own hand the careless flourishes across January, February, March. A sledding play-date on camp’s tipping hillside. Staff game night. A preschool field trip. Visits from grandparents scrawled in bold letters across entire weeks.

Then, one square in April, blank. Another. And another. Days into pages, three, four, weeks into months. Not even a dog-ear, not even an erasure. Paper as empty as the branches here, the dull, bare maples sighing in their dry earth.

The nothing was not nothing. It was everything. It was the ground falling open and a marriage collapsing into the ragged sinkhole. The small frames of the calendar seem oddly cramped in their attempt to mark the tectonic event, and about as reliable as Dali’s clocks. Is this not what survivors of disasters say? The seconds slowed to minutes, hours, lifetimes. In a blink, one entire universe trades places with another. The rearrangement is anything but momentary. It is a whole new age in the history of the world.

Failure and ruin. Even when they reduce us to fragments, they are the whole of that terrible verge. They are the bellowing commandment for a new beginning.



Finally, July.

The strident nothing of everything turns into something else. A few job interviews are penciled in. August 23rd is squared off as the first day of the position I hold now. Just as suddenly as they froze bare, the pages crack open, blossoming with trainings and brown bag talks and the names of students who have since walked across the stage.

It was just three months. One season. In the span of a single exhalation, one stunned breath, the shedding of skin and form, the white-bellied exposure of the most translucent husk. Then bones knit. The strange flesh is grafted on, and the beginnings something altogether new crawls, dazed and damp, into the searing luster of the world.

It is hubris to believe this one thing can be chosen and so it will remain. We are forever stepping into baptismal waters just as the silken threads of the next incarnation thread themselves through our limbs. These wisps spin around us before we have even begun to dry. We feel just the faintest breath of this new weaving, and it is easy to mistake it for something we can brush away. It pulls us in as surely as we step to the shore, believing ourselves renewed once and for all, believing ourselves reborn.

We are shapeshifters, blind to our own relentless becoming until we notice too late we have lost our legs for fins, then our gills for beaks, then our arms for the finest cilia, then our bones for smoke and honey, and soil and light.


Squatter’s Rights

I’ve been running into this old friend all over the place. Bug and I opened up a worn copy of Rise Up Singing to find the words to “Big Rock Candy Mountain”, and there she was. She snuck up on me as I leafed through the battered vegetarian cookbook with all the mouth-watering photographs of phyllo pastry and parsnips. One of her handmade collages fell out of the back of the splashy covers of Graeme Base’s 11th Hour. A slim volume of her poetry slid from between the sturdier bindings of the published authors.
Her name, the long arc of the letters in an exuberant hand, greets me. Hello! Hello! I was here, and now I’m back!
The girl was prolific. Artistic. A little intense. I had forgotten how eclectic her literary tastes were. Never dull company, that one.
She left her mark, and now she leaves a trail of breadcrumbs. Mail addressed to her shows up at my house. She is registered to vote in my very own precinct. She even has an account with the university library. On the card alongside a grinning photograph, her name appears yet again.  She has been taking full advantage of the access my small-potatoes position provides. Titles covering everything from neuroscience to storytelling arrive by the week. She has been away for some time and certainly anything can happen to a person, but my guess is she has not changed so much. You would recognize her anywhere.
I am thinking of inviting her to stay. I didn’t realize how much I missed her spunk. Anyway, it’s just a formality. She has already staked her claim, hasn’t she? When that girl gets her teeth into something, she doesn’t let go. Hell, her nameplate is hanging on my office door. She has probably already designed her new business cards. Before you know it, she’ll be running the place.
Good thing. We need someone with strong arms and a little sass to throw open the windows and holler to whatever is out there, What are you waiting for? Come on, get your butt in here!


Mind the Gap

The traditional approach to change is to look for the problem, do a diagnosis, and find a solution. The primary focus is on what is wrong or broken; since we look for problems, we find them. By paying attention to problems, we emphasize and amplify them.

Sue Hammond, The Thin Book of Appreciative Inquiry

The bike was the key. It was liberation. It was the only way to get to the shopping centers with all their pre-teen allure: Montgomery Donuts, the movie theater, dark alcoves and roaming packs of boys. By way of the broad and quiet neighborhood streets, I could meander up to the busy stretch of what passed as “town,” spend a few bucks on comic books and Twix, and feel like I had really gone somewhere.

I have never been very good at riding a bike. I wobble widely. When another rider calls, “On your left,” I throw a gaze over my left shoulder and end up veering directly into her path. This is still the case, despite several decades of practice.

At 11, I was as already a full-grown klutz. For some reason on this one particular day, my sister and I chose to take the more direct yet less forgiving route to the edge of our neighborhood. We turned ourselves out along a roaring stretch of Old Georgetown Road. Six lanes of frenzied traffic whipped past as we made our way to Wildwood Shopping Center for our sanitized version of adolescent mayhem. We rode on the narrow sidewalks, confident in our immortality and in the protective capacity of those three inches of curb.

At every intersection, a handy little dip in the curb for folks on axles – strollers, wheelchairs, skateboards and the like – ferried us smoothly down to the road and back up again. I am sure the sidewalk engineering choice was not intended for cyclists, but considering how few pedestrians actually frequented those loud and dangerous thoroughfares, we made happy use of them. I could zoom down the sidewalk, slowing just enough to make sure no one was turning off the main road onto a neighborhood street, and buzz right through the intersection up onto the opposite path. I was too poor a cyclist to learn how to “pop a wheelie,” as it was called. The sidewalk design saved me slowing to a stop, walking, and lifting my bike up over the curb.

I was zipping joyously along, picking up speed as I became more confident in my ten-speed prowess. I looked ahead. One of the intersections neared. My stomach leapt into my throat. An enormous telephone pole was rammed right into the sidewalk just beyond the opposite ramp. I saw it. I could not slow. I took its measure, and I knew I had enough room to veer around it. I watched it and I locked my gaze on it, calculating the distance, determined to miss it.


My bike flew out from under me. I body-slammed into the pole, face pressed against the splintered wood and old staples. My arms wrapped around its girth as my poor bicycle wobbled and fell into the gutter. My sister screeched to a halt, whipped around, and burst out laughing. “You are so weird! How could you not see that pole?”

I slid down and did my best not to burst into tears. We rescued my bike and made the rest of our limping way to the strip mall.

How could I not see that pole? That was the wrong question. I did see the pole. I was looking right at the pole! My question was this: how could I crash into something I was working so hard to avoid?

Anyone who has put a kid on training wheels or taught a teenager to drive knows the answer. You do not look at where you do not want to go. The gaze is more powerful than any of us really understands. Look, and your mind, posture, and even behavior will veer in the direction of your vision. For this reason, any student of the road learns to look at where she intends to go. She looks ahead.

My sister, with her natural physical aptitude and addiction to speed, had learned this without knowing how to articulate it. She focused on the gap and squeezed herself through it. I fixed on the obstacle and met it.

Today, in the face of several mounting so-called problems at work and at home, I needed a reminder of how to direct my gaze at the open road instead of the flashing lights and gaping potholes. I dipped back into Appreciative Inquiry’s fount of refreshing thinking.

Appreciative Inquiry (AI), a tool that has gained its foothold in the worlds of Organizational Development and leadership practice, offers up practical approaches for drawing upon the power and possibility in people and systems. Work, love, parenting, friendships – hell, life itself – all are riddled challenges. This is especially true if they are seen as such. Pulling from AI’s handy toolbox is a great way to training the mind away from problems and towards capacity when trying to build a way forward.

AI involves, in a central way, the art and practice of asking questions that strengthen a system’s capacity to apprehend, anticipate, and heighten positive potential. . . AI deliberately, in everything it does, seeks to work from accounts of this “positive change core”—and it assumes that every living system has many untapped and rich and inspiring accounts of the positive. Link the energy of this core directly to any change agenda and changes never thought possible are suddenly and democratically mobilized.

David L. Cooperrider and Diana Whitney, Appreciative Inquiry: A Positive Revolution in Change

Through a series of questions about the system when it is at its best, AI allows participants to give voice to stories that generate power and animate dormant resources for building towards a vision. Instead of a problem to be solved, the task at hand is a mystery to be explored full of opportunities to be discovered. The people involved are rich sources of insight. It is a choice to perceive of things this way.

Today, I began again to wean myself from panic, and returned to the practice of asking the generative question. Little by little, the answers offer up source material for telling a new kind of story. Learning how to do this takes intention. I am as much a klutz here as I am on two wheels, but, as ever, learning is exhilarating. (More on the specifics of AI and the questions can be found here.)

Dissect a fear and watch it thrive. Describe despair and feel it spill out of its container. Delineate the barriers to your greatness, and notice how quickly they harden into cinder-block and razor wire.

In the inverse lies solace: You can make real the very thing to which you attend. Ask the right sorts of questions, and watch the future bloom.

Be careful where you set your sights. Yours is an awesome power. That telephone pole is there, for sure. But so is the gap. The open path has been there all along. Hop back on the bike. No matter how you wobble, the way ahead is waiting to meet you.



At some point we are beyond
picking loose what binds us
one stitch at a time.
The fabric will not smooth itself
back onto the waiting spool
with just a few needlemarks,
its selvage passing as new.

At some point we can only rip
the seams
and open up a ragged divide
over the pattern
we drew together,
the detritus of broken thread
falling from our ruptured edges.

History has taught me a few things.
Repairs are in order
after such a rending.
To keep from unraveling,
gather the fray,
whipstitch into place.
Shore up the fat welt
with boning.
Tuck back. Baste.

Do this often enough
and nothing pliable remains,
just a bundle of scars
dense as a scowl
and nothing can pierce
the petrified mass
but the teeth of a chainsaw,
the smack of the axe.

History has taught me
the trick to staying soft:
Remain one thin
but whole
bolt of cloth.

History has a tendency
to slap her students’ knuckles
with a ruler.
I am a mediocre seamstress
and an even poorer pupil.

We lay one across and over the other
premature promises the shuttlecock
we fire between our loose
and drifting tendrils.
This is how we bind ourselves together,
our edges no longer clean
or even our own.


In Bed with Book

The bed needed a new orientation. Mildew had flowered on the window panes. Stink bugs had built their incubators and mausoleums in the corners of the wells. All of that had to go. Vacuum and cloth, then clean linens, then the pillowcases with the dragonflies and tiny birds in butter yellow, in the green of ferns.

Now, the head of the bed is to the wall under the cascade of family photographs. Its foot is closer to the windows. The wintry morning light, low in the east, falls through the sheer curtains and rouses me to meet the day.

It is a fine thing to nestle into a heap of feathers and foam, to unfurl the tucked wings of a story. A whole sack of gold is nothing compared to a long moment’s gaze out at a hazy day. Up above, four sepia 8×10’s in their mismatched frames keep a gentle watch. Grandfather, grandmother, father, mother. Such smiles on those faces! And each of them, so young, so very bright.

Now, as before, we share a name.

For eighteen months, I kept them near my feet. Their gazes were unsettling. Their judgment, subtle. In another time and place, I would have stayed. They all did.

When the bed found its new direction, something else slid with a whisper into its proper alignment. From this place, their smiles are guileless. Patient. Even kind. I have stopped looking at them now that they linger above my tousled cocoon. Their presence is still palpable, but less worrying. They are in the place I don’t let my gaze linger: back, behind.

Here, just flesh, just bed. I settle the weight of my 38 years into the embrace of the day as it begins to stir. I feel the give and accept the invitation. My eyes drink in the quiet light, the quilt warming my skin, and the page as it breathes awake, opening in my lap.


Ground Level

In the photo from an unidentified year, Christmas is a litter of red bows and crumpled paper. Two grinning and sleepy-eyed girls hold up matching nightgowns. As they kneel there, a drab stretch of olive green peeks through the debris. That carpet was already flat and washed out when we moved into the house in 1983. Wall-to-wall padding the color of tinned peas stretched along the hallway through the living room and out to the edges of the dining room.

For the years we lived in that house, I barely noticed the flooring. It took a beating under our adolescent feet. Forgotten Easter eggs and candy canes gathered dust in its corners. Dander from a revolving menagerie of dogs and cats dusted its depths. Embers popped from the fireplace burned dark scars into its skin. Everything we tracked in from the woods and sidewalks worked its way into the fibers, along with the desperate sweat from our middle school dance parties, the busted lamps and windowpanes from our high school drinking parties, and the spilled ink from our volumes of love notes to uninterested boys.

My sister and I lay on that floor with the usual suspects from the neighborhood. Stretched out on our bellies, we played Trivial Pursuit and rubbed the belly of one dog or another. From the record player, Prince and UB40 belted out the soundtrack to our epic conspiracy to win the attention of those aforementioned boys.

The carpet is such an expanse of dingy green, almost popping out of the photo now. In all those years and all that proximity, I don’t think I ever even noticed that it was holding me up. It was as invisible as dust mites, as overlooked as the native tongue.

The surfaces that hold us and bind us are this way. They meet us on our arrival, having been laid down by the folks whose arrival preceded our own. The pell-mell approach of our predecessors becomes a Way that eventually mellows into The Way Things Are. It even becomes ours. We walk upon those planes, the familiar buoyancy cushioning our feet even as we are oblivious to its presence.

As willing as I have been to bore with drill-press intensity into definitions of justice and art and the magical capacity of the human mind for learning, I have never quite turned the implement back on myself. Have these eyes ever looked straight at my own assumptions about work and family as they relate to my choices? Oh, sure, I have burnt a few gallons of midnight oil playing psychobabble ping-pong with friends and lovers about what relationships are all about. Breathless with certainty that I had re-written the script, I managed to skirt around the scrupulous inspection of my notion that I would and should have a partner in this life. Even while raging against gendered and racist patterns of thought and behavior, I avoided focusing too closely on the preconceptions about what roles my partner and I are to play in creating our very real shared narrative. Similarly, I have never looked dead in the eye of my own sense of what it means to succeed. The ideas that I am gifted yet troubled, and that I can do anything but end up doing very little, are a little too densely packed for whatever tools I have brought to the task.

Is this experience true of other people who have had minimal struggle in a largely unremarkable life? Do others share this comforting idea that native ability combined with a little hard work will pay off, and that the pieces will simply fall into place? Have I been piling faith and weight onto a belief that a spouse by my side would lead clearly to kids and then to home and then a future, and the whole package would coalesce into something not so different from what surrounded me in my growing-up years? Tee and I fell into each other. We set up house on a foundation poured long before our arrival. This is what family is (isn’t it?) This is what work will bring (won’t it?) All you need to do is stake your claim to this stretch of land, and the rest will come.


Not to heap too much abuse on this old girl, but I realize now I have been living like that grinning adolescent in the photo. Sprawled on a floor I take for granted, I parade my plenty. All the while, I gaze past the person at who is holding the camera and even past what might be gazing back from the other side of it. A bill is on the table, detailing the price my own parents had to pay for creating that little postcard snapshot for the album. What child wants to look at that? It is so easy for a kid to avert her eyes from the sweat popping on her parents’ brows as they hand down the double-edged sword of their labors: the unquestioned assumption that such bounty is a birthright.

Since leaving home (returning, leaving, returning again), I have padded along the familiar set and slipped into unquestioned grooves, following a script written in another time and place for a character who is not me. The ground below, not solid at all. Particle board and paste, leading nowhere, threatening to give way.

My childhood home went on the market in 1990. Seen through the eyes of potential buyers, it came up lacking. First came new kitchen linoleum, then fresh bedroom paint, and by all means, get rid of that awful carpet. Our family went to work yanking up the foul, green stuff in strips. The first among us who tore the padding from the nails below stopped and called the others over. We gathered round in slack-jawed awe. Down below, hardwood floors. Miles and miles of gleaming, untouched boards.

We pulled up every inch of carpet and exposed the honeyed oak. The glossy surface shined even brighter with a sanding and a polish. Like a new copper penny, it caught the light spilling in from the picture windows and cast it right back up to the very corners of our home – the home we would shortly be leaving. We had never thought to look. We had never thought to dig. It had simply not occurred to us that a treasure might be less than an inch below our feet.

It was not without regret that we left a home we had never truly seen, never really been able to know as beautiful. Who among us considered the true potential of what is right within reach? The cushion of the familiar is usually good enough.

Last week, I walked out of the courtroom, frayed at the edges. My corners were beginning to tug away from the known, the bare underneath of me exposed. As raw as I felt, the experience was not as traumatizing as I expected it to be. The procedure of the divorce is an exercise required by the state. Tee and I have long since vacated the premises of the marriage. I have already begun to pull up and shake out the memories, the stains and glitter alike.

I may not be stripped down yet, but I am getting close. Without the name, the spouse, the soft layer of family that has absorbed the falls for the better part of the past decade, the very ground can feel uncertain. Too hard, perhaps, to cushion the blows. Or maybe not hard enough to hold me.

Despite the uncertain topography, I walked out with my paper and its Commonwealth seal feeling oddly calm. I have a sense that something extraordinary might really be under the surface of this life I have been living. If I can pierce through my own patterned ways, crack open the legacies I have handed myself through years of unquestioned approaches to things – to men, to work, to the very sense of what I might do with the time I have left on this earth – then I might uncover miles of lush, open terrain. A gleaming way, made for my very own feet.