Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The Rightful Names of Things

"Say I wedded the place I love, late at night and alone, one pledge, one ceremony not to be repeated. Say I cut the clay with a sharp spade and planted there a slip of weed; say I buried my shoes, the soles slick from much walking, split past repair. Mark a line on my body and let the blood run down, for marriage calls for something more than a gold ring; marriage calls for the blood of a woman. The question is not, How much will it take? but How much will you give? Say I turned the spade and the earth was red already. Not the first lover, not the last. And so every day I pay my due, calling things by their rightful names, taking into my body the elements (water, light) of life, every day falling more deeply into dept."

Joni Tevis, "The Wet Collection"

Late January we grow numb, find resentment in the earth. Stay inside and forget to watch the sky. Complain about the weather. We love to complain about the weather, no matter the season, but mid-winter is the highpoint of our weather banter. How we hate the lack of control we have. The way the weather can change the day, change our plans, make us stay home; and yet, don't we love to stay in? It's too cold, too much snow, too gray, too wet. I must stay in. I'm falling into a deep depression. I've had enough of winter. Oh, bother!

Hah. I partake of course. But I also love the way we are wed to land here in the north. The sky is blue today as it was yesterday and my body sings. When the sun is gone, the body curls in on itself, is silent. I started reading Joni Tevis again last night. My husband and I in bed by 9pm. Her words, the "rightful names" of each thing, returned my wings to me. I flittered away into the night. I slept long and hard until the 5 am wake-up call of Moses. Then lifted from the strangest of dreams, I curled my body around his --almost two-years-old-- and smelled his hair and shushed him back to sleep, and tried to think of the word for the feeling I had, the feeling so common to parents. Oh bother, darling boy, waking me from my dreams, and so soon you will no longer want my comfort. So soon you will know the rightful names of things and speak them like magic. You will wed yourself to something or someone, kiss me goodbye and be gone. Yes, Every day I am falling more deeply into dept. 


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