Thursday, October 1, 2009


I am typing this currently in very small, very unassuming font into a Word document at work. After lunch, after the morning tumult and the relaxing walk outside after sharing a packed lunch at the library with Gary, my stomach begins this horrible decline, this needful feeling of want and regret and envy. Of lonesome feeling for my son. I never had this trouble when he was two, or three even. I’d like to say that it’s because I was working at the library, enjoying every minute of my paid hours (which I was) but in the beginning of my back-to-work-after-two-years-off-with-baby career I worked at this fluorescent corporate nightmare job, albeit with a cafeteria and some friends I really enjoyed spending my days with. I also got done at 3:00-ish, and it was a very short jaunt to pick the then-diapered towhead up and then onto home, the park, downtown, etc.

Now, the hours from 1:00-4:30 feel like time spent waiting for my visitation rights to begin with him. He is always mine, of course, but lately the absence of his wild blonde head is too much to bear. Maybe it’s all we’ve been through in the past year, maybe it’s that his true self is blooming all over the place and it’s a miracle to watch. I can’t imagine what it must feel like for women to put their babies in day care at 6 weeks. My heart breaks for them and thanks God at the same time that I was able to stay home for 2 years. It was supposed to get easier.

Little yellow head
that once was snow-white with fuzz
How long until brown?

Maybe this needs to be the pure catalyst of continued motivation to do more, be more, create my own life with my own two hands. I married a highly creative man, I am highly creative, we’ve “created” this beautiful singing boy with the imagination of J.M . Barrie, it seems. To free ourselves from these maudlin, terribly modern American shackles of commute+preschool+work+commute+home. I’ve got to look at something Divine right in the face and ask plainly. Speak the truth. Say please. Keep moving. Keep working. Pray for real, true work. Embrace the Muses. Squeeze my son and husband tight. Lead us all by the hand back into the forest.

I had a dream about Our Lady of Sitka when we first moved to Alaska, shortly after the volcano started to rumble (yes, I have an LA-style commute in a land of volcanoes and glaciers, the antithesis of what everyone dreams about Alaska! It’s out there, though, the Jack London life. It’s less than a few miles from us, teasing us a bit). I was so afraid of that mountain and its ash, so afraid of our empty checking account and the unknown that my lungs were practically paralyzed - constricting attempts at deep, relaxing breaths. One day while sitting at my desk at work (checking the volcano reports every half-minute) the fear became a tangible entity in the pit of my stomach. It crept up and out and my extremities began to shake. I know that I left to pick up Xander that day, but I honestly don’t remember anything from the time I left that afternoon to late that evening, when I had a cinemascope dream. In the dream, I was sitting at my desk, the volcano had erupted and the office was shaking in its boots, black smoke swirling all around the file cabinets behind my cubicle. I was looking out the big picture window and the snow was grey with ash. The fear started to swirl through my veins, turning my blood into ice water, my stomach into a frozen knot. I had the impulse to swing around in my chair and there, in front of the file cabinets (how very 21st century, not exactly a knoll in France!) was Our Lady. She had a black, gossamer veil, her face a perfect oval shape. And her hair! Black as raven feathers, with little wispy strays flying around her forehead. What I see every time I summon the memory of that dream, though, are her eyes. Giant, almond shaped, crystalline, opal, tortoise shell. She didn’t say a word out loud, just put her finger to her small mouth and looked at me with those mysterious, calm, wondrous eyes. I felt an intense feeling of calm, of joy, of “Every little thing is gonna be all right”. I knew it was Mary, who else would she be? All fear was gone, all hope was back home again. I woke up less shaky, less sad, less confused, more certain of the existence of true love and good in this world and beyond.

A few weeks later I saw her picture. In my dream I knew it was Mary, but imagine my “aha!” feeling when I saw her in the Russian Orthodox Museum in downtown Anchorage! Our Lady of Sitka, I have family in Sitka, of course that’s how she showed herself to me. She’s in a few quiet places on postcards in our home now, so that whenever trembling fear starts to course through me again, I can remember when she quieted all the fears I’ve ever had and will ever have. The fears of every sentient and non-sentient. I know now that one day her cool hands will calm and guide me somewhere that none of us can imagine.

I'm entering this in Scribbit's Write Away Contest for October. Just cuz.


Scribbit said...

I love this--and I didn't even know there was an Our Lady of Sitka.

Erin said...

I've had this song in my head all day..

Chrissy Johnson said...

In reading over that breezily written entry, I just realized that I, used, too, many, commas. Mama needs an editor.