On the eve of going to the snow, there is a dog snoring at my feet, and trickling rain at the window. There are fat horses standing quietly out in the mud, chickens asleep on their perches in the chicken house, bunnies nestled in hutches. There are cousins laughing in the living room, long lanky teenagers with fresh hearts and strong opinions. In some ways they're more open than all of us, because their lives are stringbeans still stretching on the vine. Plump and green and alive. They are noisy, but I like them.
Tomorrow I will go with my son driving us all up the windy way to the snow where I will be a family prisoner for four days. I will stay in my pajamas and occasionally be outside covered in snow and ski pants. I will allow the children to disarm my tired and tiny heart. I will laugh and watch a fire. I will let some of it be fun, instead of blocking out all joy because joy takes too much tending. Joy means being open, and shredded. Enjoying peace. Allowing chaos.
I will miss the hundred year old man that I am liking taking care of. I like the routine where I know what I'm doing, where my skills at nurturing are put to good use, where I can simply clean up and dress someone and get their breakfast, just like I used to when the kids were babies. It's comforting to be a comfort.
My favorite writer died a week ago, and when I would clean up the horses everyday, feet stuck in mud, I felt like the earth hated me and words would leave me. She was so funny, how could I live in a world without words churned through her mind and released into the wild of me. Writing is so personal.
Then I thought how it doesn't matter if you ever meet the writers whose soundtrack run through your head. You mourn them because when they share their words, they become your words, and part of you. Their words are a comfort to your humanity. Surviving the human earth.
On the way back from Costco in the dark, on this ugly weird section of road, there are these four massive striped steam pipes that rise majestically up from the ground in the distance. Every time we pass I say, "Yep. Someday that ship is gonna sail. And I'm gonna be on it."
My teenager says MOM. That's a FACTORY.
But I look at those Queen Mary/Titanic steam pipes, in the middle of the desert.
"Someday," I say.
My son laughs and says that now his friend says this every time he passes it too. Ever since he heard me in the car.
There'll be two of us on board the ship, so far.
Someone was listening. There is comfort in words.
This year, I decided. It's time to get my words to other people. Widen my ring, fill up my phantom ship. The hundred year old man will turn a hundred and one, and will someday turn into a cloud, he's already changing into that right now. I can comfort more than one. Even if it feels like I have lost my way.
Without my favorite writer, I better be my favorite writer.