Category Archives: Writers Write
We’re saying a prayer today for our spiritual home and for those fighting to save it. Holy Ghost Creek Campground is a part of the Tres Lagunas fire in New Mexico. This morning the news says the fire is 5% contained. The most intense heat in the 8,000+ acres is along the western ridge line above Holy Ghost Creek. You can read about the fire here. The latest map is here.
I found the chocolate tin in my dead brother’s kitchen. Packed to the top with Hershey’s, I couldn’t judge its age, but I knew it had been a while since the chocolatier packaged the powder in metal. I tossed the old spices and a rancid bottle of olive oil, but after emptying its contents, the cocoa container made it into the box of saves. It’s been sitting on my desk ever since–no good for pencils or markers. The opening isn’t wide enough, and it has that nifty lid. I don’t want to lose it.
I have a hard time letting go. Old sundry containers aside, I’m not a hoarder of objects. But I will admit to being a hoarder of memories. Of worries. Of past loves. The act weighs me down at times, and it drives my family crazy. My favorite poem is Robert Frost’s “Wild Grapes.” The final lines are my answer to anyone, sick of my rumination, who utters “Fogetaboutit.”
The mind–is not the heart,
I may yet live as I know others live,
To wish in vain to let go with the mind–
Of cares, at night, to sleep; but nothing tells me
That I need to learn to let go with the heart.
To be honest, picking up my metaphorical foot to move in a new direction stymies me. Forward momentum is my modus operandi. A twist to the left or right is difficult.
This week I read Anne Lamott’s, Help, Thanks, Wow: The Three Essential Prayers. It’s a little book, only 102 pages, but if you’ve read Bird by Bird, you know she packs wisdom between every word. Lamott classifies prayer into three categories: help, thanks, and wow. Eureka! I was thunderstruck by my own whiney simplicity. I began classifying my own internal dialogue. Guess which category won by a landslide? Psalms 121:1 says, “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.” It’s great to pray, but maybe I’ve been staring at the horizon a little longer than the psalmist intended.
Not to worry. Lamott suggests a tool. She calls it a God box. Take any physical container. She admits to using her car’s glove compartment. Write the worry on a scrap of paper, shove it in the box, and close the lid.
Finally, I have a use for my brother’s cocoa tin. Now, when I can’t let go, I scribble my request on a Post-It and put it in the box. When the thought pops up again, I’m reminded. The worry is hermetically sealed, surrounded by the scent of chocolate.
The rain began yesterday around noon. Torrential. Of course, I’d put off grocery shopping to the last possible day. Cherry’s academic awards assembly for the seventh grade and Coco’s last elementary school field day were scheduled. The first happened. The second didn’t. By five, the rest of the calendar was trashed. I envied my friends already headed for the coast, where for once, it wasn’t raining.
In the middle of the night, thunder woke up our dog guest. We’re pet sitting this weekend, so Lucky cuddled up next to Coco. Jasmine slept on my feet, oblivious. I shoved her away to turn off the desktop computer and unplug the laptop. When I came back to bed, her head rested on my pillow. Who knew an eighteen pound schnauzer could be so hard to move?
Between six and seven this morning, four inches fell. In twenty-four hours, twelve inches. We live on a hill. The rest of the city isn’t so lucky. A city bus loaded with passengers floated into a ditch. Before ten, the fire department reported seventy high water rescues. The news: stay home. Slip a disc in the DVD player. Watch Barbie and the Fairy Secret. Eat chips and hummus.
We’ve had these days before. A year or so of nothing but dust and dark clouds. Then, the clouds crack open. We catch up. Become the subtropical paradise the city’s PR firm advertises.
I’ve been dried up too. In August, I lost my brother. In April, my sister lost her husband. Too soon. Too painful. Couldn’t write. Couldn’t dream. Now, Heaven’s floodgate is open again, and I can breathe.