Last night: Space heater humming, listening to Amos Lee, "Seen It All Before." One lamp on, darkness pushing against the window pane. Cat sleeping on the arm of the chair.
This morning: Space heater humming, listening to Dave Brubeck's "Take Five." Bare branches against gray sky. Cat sleeping on the arm of the purple chair.
There was an old Sesame Street routine that I've forgotten all of except this: the voices of a bunch of kids yelling, "Go around again!" It's an exuberant cry, asking for more of something that held just too much joy to do only once.
How many times do we go around?
A dear friend shared with me this vision of life: you're inside a spiral, like a giant slinky, and you are climbing the coils around and around, gradually rising, and let's say that the inside of this slinky is painted in vertical strips of color so that as you climb, you are going from color to color and then, oh! Blue again, I'm on blue again! But now you're on a different coil of this spiral. You recognize Blue but from a different level.
Recently I have been challenged to question some pretty basic beliefs about myself. I have heard myself say, "Aging is hell." And then I think of these lines from Alice in Wonderland:
"You are old, Father William," the young man said,
"And your hair has become very white;
And yet you incessantly stand on your head—
Do you think, at your age, it is right?"
I think I'm standing on my head.
Consider this: We all have stories about ourselves (and about others, of course), and for years many of my stories have started with "I'm too old to [fill in the blank]. I was convinced that my "too old" stories were true, until something happened that made me say, "No. I was wrong. Those stories were not true." I'm still upright, ok? Now here comes the standing-on-my-head part: The stories I had been telling myself were true. Those stories were true. Every story we tell about ourselves is true. Stand on your head; flip the story: How does the truth look from down there?
Now I think I'm inside that multi-colored Slinky, just rolling around as it climbs down the stairs: Blue again! Yellow! Green purple red! Blue!
Go around again!