Sunday, June 17, 2012
I'm here at the hot springs on my birthday weekend sucking up the sun, the music, the mineral water (and yes, the wi-fi), and all around me is the three-d version of the ghost of birthdays past. Once upon a time I owned this place with my then-husband. We were mostly living in Portland, operating "the springs" from afar, and trying to navigate a tense marriage. Raise a few kids. You know the story.
One of the stressors in our marriage involved a disparate relationship with stuff. My ex is a man whose affinity for space and form boarders on the sacred. Well, no, not boarders, actually. Is. Me? Stuff is stuff. The objects in my life I consider sacred can be counted on one hand. My relationships to things are aesthetic nods. I love beauty and form, but after I've registered this allegiance, I happily move on to what I really love. Psychological puzzles. The stories behind the stuff.
The marriage though. Alas, his vision and his ability to concretize vision within the financial, temporal and cultural constraints of reality were at odds. Abjectly, at odds. And me? I grew bitter and impatient. I was on a hag trajectory. Another few years riding shotgun to the effluence and detritus that tailed out of his love for possibility never-quite manifest, and the ridges in my downturned mouth and the slump in my shoulders and the martyry resignation in my brow would have brewed a fullon Queen Hag.
And being here this weekend, walking into and around the objects that were once an everyday part of my life, invites a new understanding of the hows and whys of the way people connect and disconnect from one another.
A little horse abstracted from its carousel. A plywood cutout of a genderless deity once lifted from the maw of a dumpster. The propeller that once sat sentinel in my driveway. A taxidermied nun. A rusty red wagon decorated with a South of the Border bumpersticker procured on a drive from Virginia to Florida. A weary appliance dolly once employed for moving the Wedgewood stove I cooked our wedding soup upon. All these objects. All this time.
Seeing all of this, you'd think I'd be sad. Wistful. Why didn't I just buck up and choose to grow old with that rusty red wagon (in which my daughter once tipped, splitting her head open on another relic--some bisected metal boiler which, one day, could have made an excellent planter)?
Enough time (six years) has elapsed. Whereas earlier I may have been melancholy and regretful visiting the springs, seeing all the new iterations of my former life, now its a somewhat elegiac experience. I'm separate but equal, let's say. Live and let live. Appreciative and grateful.
It's been a fun weekend. The playa is kicking up now, though, which happens, out here. Thirty-mile-an-hour winds are gusting, and it's time, once again, to move on. With love.
And you? Any peace with the past moments you'd like to share?