Sunday, May 23, 2010

Dear Danielle,

You were always moving away from us...into the ether, along a pale horizon that shimmered with your want. That want, more than anything, populated your world with ghosts. I know that for you, there was no reprieve from the hurting, and I think that for you it was brave to have stayed as long as you did, here, bound by this heavy flesh, these tiresome bones.

Like an iridescent little exposed nerve, a dandelion gone to seed, you wavered in the too bright air, trembling. Your sense of beauty, ever refined and exquisite, spoke itself in your art, though we could not convince you that what you generated was truly art. It was too messy, you thought. Who ever gave you the idea that art was tidy, angel? Who ever?

No matter. Your skin carried in it the moonlight, and in your languishing eyes, we could always see ourselves. What we did not know and could not fathom were the distances between joys for you. How the suffering we saw there was ceaseless, and even your love was tempered with its bitterness. We could not see that you couldn't begin to receive our love in a way that meant wholeness. Validation. Real connection that soothes what aches in our trembling hearts.

I am too old to accept blame in the way I might have fifteen years ago, and yet there is the small wound of carelessness...perhaps if I had...maybe if I...but no. They were our efforts, our love, that carried you this far, and for that I know you are grateful. And now, released into the ether, you are star-like, beautiful--in all the ways you wanted to be on earth (and indeed were to those of us who love you). What I know is this: in this new and bodiless shape, it will be possible for you to love your self, and for this it is I who am grateful.

I envision you with butterfly wings. They are iridescent, gossamer, and their movement whispers all the blessings that you were never able to claim as your this life and without them. I call you Nereid and wish to have you back, if only for a moment, to see your expression as you receive the epithet. Oh. There was love. And though I cannot conceive of it, though it pains me to think on it, somehow I know that none of it was wasted.

"You are perfect," I told you that night--what was it? Two months ago? Five years? It was an echo of a thing I have said so many times before. Perhaps even to you in those early days of your adolescence. "Not in your word or in your deed--for whose can be?--but in your intention. Perfect." That counts for something, darling, and though I do not know what, I know you know this already and laugh at the way that you have already transcended my earthly wisdom. How every syllable I issue, even now, is for my own benefit, my own healing. Such is the limitation of the "mortal coil"!

Remember Hamlet, my love? Yes and yes. Good bye for now, sweet angel. "And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest. Sleep dwell upon thine eyes and peace in thy breast." We will meet the ether.

Sunday, May 16, 2010


All that is lacking here
is the silence of snow.
It decks the peaks
of Mauna Kea occasionally--
sometimes even Hualalai
and Mauna Loa--but it
is a guest, a fleeting traveler
on its way to a place
that will sustain it.

We float mid-pacific,
laced 'round with rain forest
and waterfalls. There is ever
the coo of doves, ever the shriek
of koki frogs by moonlight.
When it rains in Kohala
the drops are heavy, laden
with the endowment of the ancients.
In Waimea the rain comes like mist
off the sea but with the force
of the upcountry wind.
Ka Makani in fits and starts.

In this place
we know nothing of that kind
of silence.When the air is heavy
with mango and plumeria,
hot and close and absent of
movement, there are still the antics
of the dragonflies, the call of the
myna bird who knows nothing of
south. She nests perennially in her
Hawaiian home, only peripherally
aware of having come from somewhere
else--following the canoes of men
who would know what the vast ocean
held out to them. Men who would
become this land, their bones singing
from volcanic tombs.

Seasonal splendor and the silence
of snow--these are reserved for places
other. Ours is the sound of things
growing, seeds splitting, shoots breaking
the earth and unfurling their green
beneath a cloudless sky. Ours is the chant
of the elders whose hands rap the gourd
and whose voices remind us of
the mythology of the real. Wahine
move to this rhythm, eyes ablaze
with Pele's promise, ti leaf skirts
whispering against sinewy brown calves.
Their hands tell the stories of the ancients,
and the keiki kneel at their feet, listening
with their bodies.

The silence of snow fills the ears of those
who choose it. There, on the other side
of the globe. We are vaguely aware
as we move between these places
of the polar relationship between ice
and lava, contemplation and expression,
silence and sound.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Duck Dive

Mother's Day 2010. Day before my baby's birth, nine years ago. Day after his birthday party. Month of our redemption--moving into the phase of loving, abundance, the ever after of this two year period of struggle.

The dragonfly spoke to me last summer--she landed on my finger and reminded me of two. Two year phases that comprise such experience as I was undergoing in that moment. I shook my head, didn't want to believe her. She shimmered there, gently insisted on her message, let me walk her all the way across the crowded room, out the door and to the edge of the deck. Only when I extended my hand for her to go did she fly, but she left me enchanted and aware of having been touched by the Divine.

I was exultant but also resistant--adjusting the start time of the "two" in my mind--pushing it back and back to put my present at its end. But this--almost to the day--two years after we made the decision to leave Europe, choose family, choose each other over every other thing: my head breaks the water.

It is as if we have duck-dived a massive wave, felt the turbulence pass along our spines as we moved inside its blue-green might, focusing all our energies on punching out the back side of the enormous wave: symbolic willingness to change. We generated it. Indeed we must have created the underwater terrain it would drag itself across to pitch itself into air, curl over, collapse in a wild melee of energy and whitewater and force.

We have shot out into the near silence on the other side--the cool promise of glistening bubbles frothing and popping in a hushed susurrus of relief, blue ribbon of horizon gently beckoning, our own hands interlaced and expressing our perfect intention to do this, whatever it takes. Together. I open my mouth and pull in a mouthful of the air on this side. It is good. It is real. It is good.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Home Again

We must ever be searching, I think, for "our peeps"--throughout the world searching for people and places that feel like home...which perhaps exist at the same vibration, shimmer in the same way, that we do.

Being a foreigner, a stranger--this is important too, for a time. To know what it's like to be "the other." To learn empathy for those in the unique circumstance, at any given time, to be 'strange' or 'foreign.' We must ever be aware, too, that there is a place in the world where each and every 'stranger' is indeed not 'strange' at all, but home.

Over time, I think we learn to carry home with us. To become it. It makes all the sense in the world that I am a cancer, a crab, by birth and by sun sign, carrying my little sense of home on my back. Our new adventure awaits.

In the brief meantime we will love Hawaii, fill our days with her places and her people. Fill ourselves with her beauty and her fun. Thank you, Pele, for being the midwife of Inertia the novel, for showing yourself to us fully this year, for fostering new Hawaii friendships and nurturing old ones. For healing old wounds and embracing us in our time of uncertainty.