I don’t often look back or get hooked by nostalgic music enticing me to visit my history, but recently the shuffling music gods hit me with song after song from the way way back machine — and it was my husband’s music algorithm and he didn’t know most of the songs! Go figure. Sometimes, I do feel like there are spirits/angels/guides messing with me through music. The tunes weren’t particularly melancholy, but we happened to be driving through the town I spent the first 30 years struggling to grow up in. Goddamn Dan Fogelberg. Sappy, dead son-of-a-bitch popped in with this one and my resolve buckled… maybe collapsed.
After spending time with a woman very dear to me, who is being brutalized by vicious metastatic bone cancer, earlier that day and over the previous couple of weeks, I suppose I could be vulnerable to these drippy emotional forays. And it was finally raining after a hot dry spell. Just sayin’ …
I suspect the combination of these things sent me down the road of reflection with a special focus on regret. ugh. I’ll grant that a good cry was likely warranted, but stabbing at old wounds to dig up regret is just mean.
You know that cliche, “live every day like it was your last?” Yea, that. What if, like my dear one, I was totally hoodwinked and sideswiped without much warning into a state of such agony, I could do little, but try to blot out the pain? Would I be ready to submit to this potentially being the end? Could I let go to the uncertainty that might never walk in the world as a healthy woman again? Could I live and possibly die with the choices I had made to this point?
These quaint thoughts moved me to consider my present circumstances — not perfect, but damn close. I was busy pondering all the opportunities squandered; the youth in general of course, the education I did NOT pursue, the young healthy body I did NOT appreciate, the places I never went, the songs I hadn’t sung, the kind words I hadn’t said. Was I letting the goodness, the light and the rich adventures of life just float by with only lame attempts to ride those waves? What was I squandering now? What the hell was I supposed to be doing here in this life anyway?
Then Mary Oliver whispers in my ear to look for that poem, you know, the one that ends with the question, that infernal zap of truth…
by Mary Oliver
Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean –
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down –
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?
I’m not going to attempt to get too philosophical here, but suffice it to say, the insights I gleaned after mopping myself up, were that if I were to have a limited time (which of course we all do), what hadn’t I done or said or written or sung? Where hadn’t I gone? Who did I need to see and what did I need to say to them?
I have more to do and say in this life, so I best get down to it. Starting here with The Green Divas. I’ve been on an inward journey since Covid pushed us into our caves a couple of years ago, and I decided I liked it (too much perhaps) and have gotten way too comfy in this cozy, quiet mode.
So, emerging from my self-imposed comfort zone, wincing from the light and the noise of the world, but with a renewed gladness to be among the ambulatory. There’s a lot of energy in gratitude. Going to let the healing rains of summer soak me and revel in all the sensations of waking up to life, again. F^ck you Covid, climate change, cancer, insurrection and war. Imma do my best to kick all your asses with light and love, while there’s still life left in me!
The first thing to do is get back to producing The Green Divas podcasts! We’re putting the band back together man! I’m not sure if this is part of the “meaningful” work I’ve got left to do, but it’s kinda fun and it’s here just waiting for me, so might as well try to make the best and blast out some good vibes and good news — yes, still focused on solutions and positivity here. Stay tuned, because there is a reunion of Green Divas in the making.