so good to read you Nikaela Marie
There are two bits from two different poems that have repeated themselves in my mind often over the past few months. The first is from a poem by Sarah Ruhl called Addressed to the Gods of Unnecessary Labors:
“I want treasure I did not ask for,
the way I didn’t ask to be born.”
The second is from a poem by Joy Harjo called Praise the Rain:
“Praise the hurt, the house slack
The stand of trees, the dignity.”
I think about how I don’t, it turns out, want my children to become who I want them to become, but instead, to just become. I want to take myself out of the equation so that they can be seen more clearly. Treasure I didn’t ask for. I want to notice and absorb and not manipulate. Like going on a hike and not collecting the pinecones. This said, I don’t want to be without my wishes for them either. I want to want. Desires gathered up and heavy, my body growing sore with them, our house growing slack with them. I want my children to be hardworking and kind. I want them to be curious and persistent and creative and resilient. The stand of trees, the dignity.
I think about how, when you’re skinny dipping in cold water you are thrilled. Your legs assess the depth and risk of the lake. You feel a backwards sort of vertigo, held and suspended at the same time, you can’t know what you wish to know. The water touches parts of you you’d forgotten. The way I didn’t ask to be born. I want to hold on to this feeling. Because I so often feel instead like I am guiding a life raft through the waves, fully clothed, my mouth filling with water.
Question: Can there ever be “treasure you didn’t ask for” on the Internet? I doubt it because our paths through it are a constant asking. We are never surprised but always feel surprised. It is like Narcissus’s pond. It is like Pooh and Piglet and the Woozle: we are following our own tracks, gazing at our own reflection, but mistaking them for the tracks and reflection of an alluring other.
“Praise the hurt. The house slack” This year I am very comforted that hurt might be something worthy of praise. And slack feels like a very good word for a house that we’ve spent so much (too much) time in. A kind word. A slack house sounds like a house where the porch boards are warped and no one minds. Where there are piles of books and chipped paint and people are comfortable with solitude.
love and thanks to you Nikaela and to you all reading xx