Tag Archive: life

I’m watching spring slowly seep into the landscape. Winter was so hard, and the warmer weather, along with the life it brings, is more than welcome. I’m absorbing. Breaking icy shackles. And at the same time, suddenly so many of the loose ends of my life have managed to come fully apart and in so doing somehow managed to bring everything back together again.

I feel like I say this every year around springtime…and also in autumn…but I am so glad to be living in a geographical region that has all four seasons. While I love the brutal beauty of winter – I am always pleased when spring arrives…and I’ve never been a fan of summer, except for the fact that it ends in autumn…but it’s the liminal seasons that have my heart. There is an energy – a moving towards something – lacking in the full stops of summer and winter.

And it is in this season of spring that I am emerging from a mourning period of sorts. I put my youngest little birdy on an airplane away from here at the end of March…it feels like forever ago and just yesterday…and am learning how to have life with an empty nest. It’s something I have needed for a very long time. In spite of my fierce love and adoration for my children, I am a person who requires a great deal of solitude, and I have had none for a very long time. Until now. And I am definitely soaking in it. Wondering if I will EVER want to live with anyone ever again. Woe is the anti-social socialist!

Maybe I’m just not paying attention, but I don’t remember seeing a lot of people talking about how fucking painful it is when your last one moves out and you are taking those first few steps of single-nonparenting. For the first few weeks, I broke down several times a day in a heap of “I miss my babies.” Bereft was the word I was feeling. The last few cold weeks of winter were appropriate, but every once in awhile there was an unexpected sunshiny spring day…or week. I could feel normal mostly, until a certain song came on. Or until I encountered something that he left behind (which is much.) When I cleared off the side of the counter where he piled all of his random drawings. It’s the worst kind of breakup, because there are no sad love songs about your kids moving out. That would be creepy. But I definitely felt a great deal of grief and loss. And unlike when my eldest moved out, I didn’t have another child here to distract me.

But I have the dogs. And the cats. And the chickens. And the turkey. And a couple of nice friends…and projects here and there that I spend time on. I’m slowly figuring out how to meal plan for one, and trying to save money on food. The garden is still going to be a bit sad this year. I’m working some of that “single mama budgetary magic” on some unexpected cash inflow…seeding several different little things that need addressing…hoping to stay afloat.

Over the past few years, I feel like I have disparaged motherhood a great deal. The experience of it, that is…not those who undertake it. They were difficult years, and perhaps my ire was misplaced. Perhaps motherhood is a season, and as such is meant to prepare you for the coming season, as well as use what you learned from the season before. I hope with all my heart that my children weather well out there, flying around the world on their own. Being their mom has been occasionally brutal, but infinitely beautiful. Like all challenging experiences, motherhood has made me who I am, and I am cool with that.

Me: The birds look like apostrophes

Him: What are the words if the birds are apostrophes?

Several of us gathered today to say goodbye to a friend who passed away. We met at City Hall, where most of us originally entered one another’s lives. And we walked together to the tree on the other side of the river on which little medallions were pinned to mark the deaths of  others who, like our friend Chris, were houseless but not without friends in life or in death.

Several people told stories of their friendship with Chris. Universally, we agreed he was a gentle man. A quiet man. A man who forced us to slow down and think. And rethink. And as I listened, I realized I was not only mourning the loss of Chris, but also the loss of that time. That time when we all gathered several times a week to slow down, sit down…and talk. And listen. And plan together. And just to gather with a group of people from disparate backgrounds and experiences – a group of people who, under normal circumstances, might never get a chance to meet – and become aware of each other as fellow humans…and struggle together. And learn from each other. And totally fuck up in the presence of each other. And forgive each other. And try again.

I didn’t tell any stories today. Today, I listened. The truth is, I didn’t have a lot of stories to tell about Chris. I cared about him. I tried to look out for him the best I could. I respected his growth and his journey. I remember him.  I will miss him. But it’s not enough to miss someone like Chris. It’s not enough to mourn and be sad and go on living and forgetting all that I have learned through my friendship with Chris, and through all of the other unlikely companions I’ve been blessed to come to know over the past few years. There were so many lessons learned. So many I forgot. It’s time to remember them now. It’s time to come out of hibernation and be present in the world again, and open to listening and sharing and relating.

The things I have learned as an occupier are lessons I have needed to learn my whole life. And I’m not merely talking about social and economic justice. I’m talking about taking the time to really see people. To see AND hear them. Taking the time to be present in public spaces and share with people. I don’t think I’m done learning those lessons yet. I don’t think I’ve learned them well enough, and I think they are too easily forgotten. I still have a too-frequent tendency to hide myself away. To hurry from one thing to the next without stopping and giving time to appreciate the unexpected. I still frequently neglect the things that are most important while freely frittering time on things that have no soul-nutritional value.

This is how I know that Occupy is not dead. Because we haven’t learned these lessons yet. We are too easily distracted and divided. And until we can learn to come together and be present, we will continue to Occupy where we should be Living.

Rest in Peace, dear Chris. I hardly knew you, but I certainly loved you. In honor of your memory, I plan to spend at least an hour every Sunday occupying the steps of City Hall with my sketchbook and journal. People watching, and hopefully conversing. Maybe I’ll bring a sign…maybe I’ll go incognito. It’s not 3 General Assemblies a day, every day…but it’s something. Maybe I’ll see you there.