3:08 in the morning…if i can’t sleep, i might as well be creating something, si?
working hard on driving from here to there…a four hour drive becomes seven with three fabulous, laughing children in the back…stopping whenever we feel like it…trying to go to a little country zoo on the way, my tires look low, i stop to put air in the tires, we drive the backwoods…the zoo has a big gate with the words in red: CLOSED…driving on…stopping at a funny cafe in old dime box, texas and asking the kids to eat salad you need salad have some vegetables i say they want gravy and chicken tenders and please eat some salad and then my nephew crams his hands in the croutons since there is no spoon or serviing utensil “milo!” i exclaim and he looks stricken and then i have to explain that there are tongs to use we can’t use hands in restaurants at salad bars and iolana please put your shoes back on and we are playing hangman on the napkins …everyone use the restroom let’s hit the road back in the car teasing pushing seatbelts gum chewing …driving, driving to the candy store in huntsville and there are 25 cent candy sticks, gummi bears in jars, chocolates and swirls of color….grabbing a box of handmade convections for my step-dad…driving on, forgetting to yell out “hellloooo, ethridge!” like i always do when i drive through huntsville and feeling sick i forgot….driving more, almost there, hang on, now, almost there, everybody…driving into the driveway, visiting my mother…hugging, dinner ready, come on it, you’ll have a room to yourself you have had such a week come relax now, there, there…next day, celebrating my grandmother’s life with strangers and friends, cake and ice cream, photographs, memories, tears…singing “i’ll fly away” with a room full of fragile people in wheelchairs, slumped over and waiting for love…wishing i had a tape recorder as we sing…wishing i had captured this moment in life…watching tears fall from my brave mother’s cheek as she holds my nephew, tenderly, in her heartbroken, yet faith filled, arms…a minister who laughs out loud when offered cake…”too much already, ya can see from the belly!” he goofs…wiping an old man’s face after he has gotten icing on his nose, cheeks and chin…he licked the bowl! smiling into his eyes and dabbing at him with the biggest love i can share, my heart to his…grabbing my guitar and singing ella fitzgerald songs to a circle of elderly, one man bent over in half, trying to help him, help him someone please holding him and whispering “hang on, help is coming” as he moans “it hurts” i see my daughter’s eyes as she goes to get a nurse, panicked yet calm she sees we are in need…i see my guitar balanced precariously on a stool next to another man’s twitching foot but if the guitar falls i will not care i let it go it has been broken so many times but never broken like this man i hold in my arms…wanting to be able to heal his old body and knowing that holding him is the best i can give
finally someone comes and they grab him up like an old doll, pushing him back in his chair, he is dazed and i can let go says the nurse you can let go…
driving back yesterday…i call ahead to the zoo, this time our nephew is not with us and we are sad but we want to go to the zoo and they answer the phone but will be closing at five and we are ways a way and no problem, we will stay open just for you and they DO and we have a private viewing, me and the girls, of this fabulous miniature zoo…we watch vic feed the lion (his name is bamboo) and we see the guinea pig ranch, the turkeys, the fossa, the baby coatis (five? four? can’t tell, they are in a tree trunk, sure are cute, though!), the lemurs the bobcats the pony the goats who nibble ferociously at our buckets of feed the giant snake and bathroom break and tumbling back into the car, eager to get back to austin, tired of being in the car, the car with no more things to do, mommy….tired of drawing on paper, drawing on ourselves, drawing and talking and laughing just want home now…
hang in there we are so close, my loves…chinese food is waiting, daddy is waiting! how far, mommy? how far now? oh, just twenty miles or so…is that far, mom? iolana counts to twenty and i explain with a smile that twenty miles is about thirty minutes so she counts to thirty…”there” she says, “are we home now?” i have to laugh….lily says a minute is sixty seconds so everyone looks out the window and i drive on as we feel hopeful that soon we will be out of the car
working hard on the creativity class for the crossings…worry, worry, organize some more, laugh out loud, thinking, searching pushing finding more ideas…stretching…wanting this to be a class of create create create getting people to make and see and smell and feel and just go for it…writing it all up, changing things around…gathering materials…feeling like a mother hen…wanting there to be enough room to expand for the mind the spirit the energy the heart…knowing i am who and what i am and will give what i have to offer and that will be what it is and hoping people walk away seeing the creative everywhere seeing they can expand their home their yard their ideas and life through creative ka-pow
working hard on the album…calling and organizing…making a new calendar with times for each musician to show up for the next set of days back in the studio..balancing out funds and figuring out what each song needs in order to burst forth into the world as its own creation…feeling excitement with each yes and looking forward to hearing sounds and voices and blending it all into one micro-universe capturing these moments as a mother wife creator musician elf wanderer passion thriver pusher nurturer
working hard to remember birthdays..to send cards and wishes…
working not at all to love my neighbor, jack, as he appears on my doorstep, a bit of five o’clock shadow in the 102 heat, his robin’s egg blue polyester pants his shirt to match one button not quite in one of the holes, he sits i bring him water he is on my melon colored couch and we talk about this and that and i show him pictures of lily with the beluga, of hillary clinton and george bush and george burns…he says, “that’s you” when i show him the pic of me and hillary and we laugh…his wife is a proud republican and can she party! whoo! i ask to walk jack home, he seems so wobbly these days, no no he says as i move lawn furniture from fourth of july out of his way and he walks on towards his home next door then three hours go by and there is an ambulance and i rush outside as they drive away with my friends inside…jack has fallen and fractured his hip while helping fran bring the groceries in and i feel might heart frantic beating what can i do i say what can i do to their daughter who is always so calm, so kind and she calls me later to update me they are still in the emergency room, waiting, waiting it has been two or three hours i can’t tell you now but that seems like an eternity to make people wait so long when i know he is in pain but from the phone i hear fran has eaten dinner out of a machine, that is what she wants to tell me and then jack says something comical, too, and i hear their hope and their humor and i realize this is life life is happening every second all the time no going back just love and let love and pray for kindness it is all we can do to love this here and now and i want to reach out there and scoop the pain up and lay it across my lap and nurture it away i want there to be arms around the world all the time, soothing…soothing
i want to sleep how does sleep occur?