Thursday, December 03, 2009

Lost in the in-between

Early December and the temperatures have dropped below zero. The cold is coming in, creeping on soft cat feet across the floor and under my nightgown. I can feel the icy folds of it laying about my shoulders. Its too early for such cold as this. Only 22 more sleeps till Christmas and I haven't even pulled out the tree.

I have entered a phase of deep ambivalence in my life. The world is going on around me and I'm floating somewhere over a vast sky of stars trying not to be afraid, trying not to worry. Trying to relax, let life move on and take me with it where it will. Like the ebb and flow of the tides, I am at the mercy of the moon.

What is this place?
I wake up, I go through the motions of the day. I feed the dogs, I cook the meals, I do the laundry. I knit. I pray. I wish fervently that my mother were here. I kick myself for not listening more, not asking more questions. Not preparing myself for a life without her, when I would be the aging woman. We've traded places she and I. I look in the mirror and I hate the face there. The lines that pull my mouth down to an ugly line. What does Mike call me? Hang dog? The frown wrinkles deeply embedded between my brows. I look down and see my mother's hands, the hands of a middle aged woman and I weep.

What if I remain in this in-between like the poor girl in The Lovely Bones, unable to move on, unable to let go. What if I wake like Rip Van Winkle, ten or fifteen or twenty years in the future and I have no idea how I got there or what happened in those intervening years?

Where did I go?
I buy cookbooks in an attempt to inspire me to cook. Fabric to inspire me to sew. Books and magazines to inspire me to read, travel, craft. I tear out pictures, recipes, patterns. Bags of wool sit waiting to be spun. Sick of looking at the wheel I have moved it out of sight. Nothing works. Only the knitting is still there and even it has slowed to a snail's pace. It is my anchor to the earth, that line of wool as I float here uncaring, just moving my hands.

Mrs Moon
sitting up in the sky
little old lady
with a ball of fading light
and silvery needles
knitting the night

-Roger McGough

*Roger McGough is a well known English performance poet, born in Litherland in the north of Liverpool. Much travelled and translated, his poetry has gained increasing popularity, especially from its widespread use in schools. A prolific writer, he is twice winner of the Signal Award for best children's poetry book and recipient of the Cholmondeley Award. McGough is an Honorary Fellow of Liverpool John Moores University and an Honorary Professor at Thames Valley University. He has an MA from the University of Northampton.


Anonymous said...

I know the feeling.

"GATHER ye rosebuds while ye may, Old Time is still a-flying:
And this same flower that smiles to-day
To-morrow will be dying.

The glorious lamp of heaven, the sun, The higher he 's a-getting, The sooner will his race be run,
And nearer he 's to setting.

That age is best which is the first, When youth and blood are warmer; But being spent, the worse, and worst
Times still succeed the former.

Then be not coy, but use your time, And while ye may, go marry: For having lost but once your prime,
You may for ever tarry."

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