Saturday, October 31, 2009

Spirits on the Land

Can you feel it? All around me the earth is slowing down, tucking in for a long rest. Only the spiders and spores and decomposition are active, bringing an end to the gift that was summer of 2009. Halloween always feels like the end to me. If I could choose, I would say that New Year's Day should fall on November 1st as that is the day the clocks turn the wrong way for an hour and we begin something altogether new. And strange.

I am behind. Deadlines I cannot meet. So far traction has eluded me as I try to catch up on all that I've neglected all year. Friends I want to visit, e-mails I've stashed in various folders and then forgotten to answer. I am writing myself a note of forgiveness for all of that and moving forward. I will catch up eventually. I plan to. I mean to. In the meantime, read this.

Leave the dishes.
Let the celery rot in the bottom drawer of the refrigerator
and an earthen scum harden on the kitchen floor.
Leave the black crumbs in the bottom of the toaster.
Throw the cracked bowl out and don't patch the cup.
Don't patch anything. Don't mend. Buy safety pins.
Don't even sew on a button.

Let the wind have its way, then the earth
that invades as dust and then the dead
foaming up in gray rolls underneath the couch.
Talk to them. Tell them they are welcome.
Don't keep all the pieces of the puzzles
or the doll's tiny shoes in pairs, don't worry
who uses whose toothbrush or if anything
matches, at all.

Except one word to another. Or a thought.
Pursue the authentic-decide first
what is authentic,
then go after it with all your heart.
Your heart, that place
you don't even think of cleaning out.
That closet stuffed with savage mementos.

Don't sort the paper clips from screws from saved baby teeth
or worry if we're all eating cereal for dinner
again. Don't answer the telephone, ever,
or weep over anything at all that breaks.
Pink molds will grow within those sealed cartons
in the refrigerator. Accept new forms of life
and talk to the dead
who drift in though the screened windows, who collect
patiently on the tops of food jars and books.

Recycle the mail, don't read it, don't read anything
except what destroys
the insulation between yourself and your experience
or what pulls down or what strikes at or what shatters
this ruse you call necessity.

~louise erdrich


Bridget B. said...

That is a beautiful poem . . .thank you!

femminismo said...

Love the poem. Louise Erdrich is right on about so many things. (Except for the toothbrush part, maybe.) Thanks for taking a moment to send me an e-mail. Good on you for writing yourself a note of forgiveness. We all should do that more. I want to paint on paper all day long. How about you? haha

dosfishes said...

Glad you are forgiving yourself for
not catching up, but instead just
moving forward.

Poem is fantastic, so true, at least for those of us on the back side
of more than half a life.

As the compost books say - Let it rot - and turn the pile for those new ideas that bubble up.



anna maria said...

Oh my gosh, thank you so much. I am so touched by that poem. It may seem strange but it actually brought tears to my eyes. I think it was the part about the ghosts coming in and settling on things.

We can't possibly do all the things we want or plan to do. But we must try to be easy on ourselves.

Thank you again.

be*mused jan said...

Lovely post. Thanks for sharing the poem. Everything here speaks to where I am, too, this fall.
Taking a deep breath.

anna maria said...

Oh, and thank you for introducing this author to me. I did not know her. Now I will try to get to know her. But I am not putting it on my to do list ;-)

Candace said...

Thank you for posting this marvelous poem by erdich. How so appropriate, and what a good idea, forgiving one's very own self. Hard to do sometimes. Gosh, I am thrilled about the magazine, Judy. Can NOT wait.

The photo really says it all. yawwwwnnnn.... I hear Persephone calling me.
Happy Halloween

Sarah said...

What a brilliant poem! It is making me feel better already and less defeated by things I can't manage.

Amy Stoner said...

lovely poem...thank you for sharing. And the pagan holiday of Samhain IS the witches new year, which I think is a perfect idea from what you mentioned about the happy new year! :)

misty Mawn said...

cereal for dinner... sounds perfect today!
i love the poem and the thoughts of writing a letter of forgiveness to yourself. yes!
it's a new month... ahhhhh, that feels nice.
happy new day of a new month... enjoy!

oh my, my word verification... coothed. are they talking to me? lol

misty Mawn said...

cereal for dinner... sounds perfect today!
i love the poem and the thoughts of writing a letter of forgiveness to yourself. yes!
it's a new month... ahhhhh, that feels nice.
happy new day of a new month... enjoy!

katie said...

ahhhhh....i feel SO much better now after reading that poem (my celery and her celery are one).

i'm printing it out and taping it up on a wall to remember i'm not alone :-)

i got a my energy and clarity back a couple days ago, running like heck, hopefully still in time to sprint across the finish line and get my "completed" certificate before they've all packed up and gone home.

Kim Mailhot said...

I am feeling much the same - like Fall, not that beautiful colorful part at the begining, but the Fall where all the last yellow leaves are holding on as much as they can as the wind wipes the tree branches bare, and the cold and dark begin to settle in...that Fall has taken over. I read this line one of my favorite blogs (Dirty Footprints Studio) "Be kind to yourself as you discover the leaves of your heart are changing." - I liked it - especially the "be kind" part. I even did a page in my journal about the quote and posted it this morning. May the hibernation time be kind to us and may be be kind and forgiving towards ourselves !
Big hugs !

Lynn said...

Okay, I WON'T mop the kitchen floor or toss the old food today as planned. I'll make art instead and say what the heck to the rest of it. What dust?

ludwiglk said...

You know that Samhain was Celtic New Year's Eve? I feel the same way about the New Year beginning now- at this point it the year- I always have. I found this quick note on wikipedia...
Samhain marked the end of the harvest, the end of the "lighter half" of the year and beginning of the "darker half". Many scholars believe that it was the beginning of the Celtic year.

A fine time to forgive yourself. I have always loved that Louie Edrich poem. Thank you for reminding me. Who said we always had to do more than is possible anyway? xo

sarah said...

what a powerful poem - thank you.

sharon said...

permission to not become caught up...yes!

somepinkflowers said...

i so love EveryThing about that photo,
i do.


i am such a sap,
my heart is touched
by the backside of people's homes...
like the under curve
of a person's foot...
so very personal
and touching

This Is Me---.
my pumpkins,
my fence,
my backyard.

this is me!
and then the poem
{insert little sigh}

i am such a sap!

Joan Tucker said...

I am in the middle of a huge cleaning and sorting project and drawers filled with things that are unsortable.. I felt lifted up by the poem. Permission to ignore or clean or not...Thanks for reminding us to live life.. Joan T

amyrehnae said...

ok, is it cool with you if i repost that on my blog?? cause i just couldn't have said it better myself!! xoxo A.

MB Shaw said...

What a great post. I have read several books by Louise Erdrich and enjoy her gift with words. This one really resonates with me at this exact moment though. I needed to read this today :-)