Friday, June 26, 2009

Passage of Many Moons

I think it's fair to say that most Americans are more familiar with the concept of dog years than the reality of lunar cycles. I'd wager, also, that a majority of women are unaware of the relationship between moon and menses ("what men sees?").

Another moon circles round and becomes crescent, rises to fullness and wanes into darkness. Do you experience this, also? Or perhaps the better question is, are you aware of this also? It pulls at your blood as it does as mine, whether you know it or not.

And so here I am, at the ripe old age of thirty-five, living for many months now in the clutches of a good old-fashioned mid-life crisis, looking back on not five or ten years but many more than one hundred months, all these circlings of our moon... not a cycle of death and rebirth but one of living and dying. Period.

This is what women know: no one is born again. We are not saved. We enter this world once, we live once, we die once, each of us. Unlike many, I've never feared death, but I have been foolish enough to think I might out-run life... I've literally attempted to run away from my own life force, the blood in my veins, the beating of my own heart... You might imagine how I've fared.

Am I getting too personal, here? I realize that my audience--all three or four of you--is mostly male. I'm sure my meaning is not lost on any of you, but I suspect you cannot fully appreciate what it's like to hear your younger sister tell you, in her almond contralto, that she's only twenty-six, she still has time--that same refrain you sang for years, in a hushed voice: time to go back to school, buy a house, find work she loves, have children, build a life, time to change... so much time...

My mother tells me things, now, about the life she's lived. Things I won't share here, far too much to reveal, and other things: the roots have quadrupled in size in one week; flowers have gone to seed; remember where we were at this time last year... I do remember. But this year, where we are now, is not where we will be or where we strive to be. She turns my attention toward what has grown and changed, to revolving skies full of clouds and constellations. She tells me how she had hoped to bequeath to me, and to her daughters, the kind of love that would let us feel as though we could bring another life into this world. These are different times, now, than when we were welcomed into the world. And we both know that, and we grieve for it.

This sadness that takes us--Robert Bly, what was it that you said about grieving for a hundred years, and about it being right and beautiful?--it comes, to some us, with the passing of every moon. Each and every moon. Each and every life, taken by war, lost in blood. Every idea unmanifested, every color unpainted, each song unsung,
every call unanswered, each bite untasted, each caress not felt, each sunrise not seen... it goes on... And so we go on. Persistence, maybe. Perseverance, perhaps. Lunacy, more likely. It pulls out us out to sea, and back to shore again. And again, and again, and again... Amen.


conniewonnie13 said...

just now, having read this post, i realize i have never, not for a second, felt this way about my blood. huh.

it's always been a kind of nuisance. or more recently an indicator of illness, dis-ease.

seems like it should be rather an obvious, significant connection to make... i wonder which i made instead.

by Olga Broumas

No. I'm not tired, the tide
is late tonight, go
with your sisters, go
sleep, go play.
No? Then come
closer, sit here, look

where we strung the fruit, hammocks
of apples, dates, orange peel. Look
at the moon
lolling between them, indolent
as a suckled breast. Do you understand

child, how the moon, the tide
is our own
image? Inland
the women call themselves Tidal Pools
call their water jars Women, insert
sponge and seaweed
under each curly, triangular thatch. Well

there's the salt lip, finally
drawing back. You must understand
everything that caresses you

will not be like this
moon-bright water, pleasurable, fertile
only with mollusks and fish.
There are still
other fluids, fecund, tail-whipped
with seed. There are ways
to evade them. Go
get a strand
of kelp. Fold it, down in your palm
like a cup, a hood. Good.
Squat down beside me.
Facing the moon.

fremenine said...

mmmm...nice words. thanks for sharing them.

i hope to explore my love affair with the moon more deeply here, in the months to come...i find it fascinating, this wobbly cycle that moves the salty fluids around our sphere and through our veins... there is something about the constant changing of the moon that brings me back to life, to the act of creating, only to let go. it's all we can do...

gotta run--it's full tonight, and i'm late for our date, down at the trainyard...