21
Jun
13

just lying there, listening

Had several sleepless nights this week; not really sure why for the most part. I have adopted a “move at least an hour every day” policy so I’ve been exercising more, and my legs get a little twitchy, but even when I take extra calcium and they aren’t twitchy I’m still kind of awake half the night.

Lying there listening to the whir of the ceiling fan and the really loud “tuck-tick, tuck-tick” of this new clock/picture frame Husband procured from somewhere and some nights the wind dances through the leaves of the trees over my house in such a way I’m not sure it’s not raining. There’s also this really resonant hoot owl in our woods and sometimes Dexter the Dumb Dog decides that he needs to bark at the grill or back to the owl or at whatever random shadows move outside the kitchen window; Second Son is also a night owl and home for the summer, (except for this week when he has been touring the midwest/east coast with his band, which is kind of cool for him and worrying for me while they drive from city to city through the wee hours of the night) so we hear him downstairs, or moving around in the kitchen.

Anyway, lots of time lying there in the dark, listening, listening, thinking, listening.

I start to write poems sometimes while I’m lying there, but I’m either too lazy or too sleepy to actually write them down, so then I lie there trying to devise mental tricks that will allow me to remember them when I wake up the next morning, but then of course I don’t. Some pretty good stuff, if I remember that much, which I probably don’t.

Stuff about the difference between being in love and loving and which is better and why sometimes you think one is better but then later you realize it’s actually the other.

Stuff about wishing you were better than you are — a better parent, a better pianist, a better person — and then realizing that you are actually usually pretty much doing the best you can (at the time) and that your parents probably were too and that all the stuff that you’ve been spending a lot of time being pissed off at them about you should probably just let go because it’s not doing you any good and it’s certainly not doing them any good and you sure hope that someday your kids will cut you a break and do the same for you.

Stuff about your professional disappointments and who stabbed you in the back and might even be stabbing you in the back still and whether your pursuit of inner peace and Happiness (rather than “happiness”) means they get away with it or just that you get to stop carrying that particular load of garbage around for at least a little while.

Stuff about friendships that didn’t turn out the way you’d hoped, and friendships you’re grateful for; stuff about whether it’s worse to have been overlooked when one friend threw another mutual friend a party and you weren’t invited, or whether you were considered for the invitation list and then expunged; wondering why it matters and then wondering if maybe that can be just another one of those bits of garbage not to be carried around any more.

Stuff about whether it’s “fair” that I get to live in a cozy and humble but comfortable and beautiful home and cook whatever I want for dinner and sip gin fizzes at a cute little desk in the corner lit by a funky lamp bought for me for my birthday by my (now-deceased) mother in Nashville, Tennessee while we were celebrating her birthday, while elsewhere in the world women are raped on buses and child brides are married to men in their 30s in India and the people of Syria kill each other and those guys keep standing on exit ramps with their “Homeless. Please Help. God Bless.” signs and what does “fair” mean anyway and why does that matter so much to me and everybody else?

(Sheesh. Is it any wonder I can’t sleep?)

But the funny thing is, it’s not like I’m lying there all twisted up with anxiety and unhappiness.

It’s just all there, floating around me, while I get to feel lucky and grateful and regretful and sad all at the same time.

So not a poem really. A rant? Maybe.

Maybe I should have just stuck with what I put on my “Not a Guru” blog yesterday.

I’m scared, but I’m grounded.
I’m sane, but I’m overwhelmed.
I’m lost, but I’m hopeful.
Yeah.

I’m sad, but I’m laughin’,
I’m brave but I’m chickenshit,
I’m wrong and I’m sorry baby.

But what it all comes down to,
is that noone’s got it figured out just yet,
but I got one hand in my pocket, and
the other is givin’ a high five.

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6 Responses to “just lying there, listening”


  1. June 21, 2013 at 11:26 pm

    As usual, it’s hard to know what to say, and yet I feel compelled to say something. I imagine, as I often do, that we’re sitting in some coffee shop and you’ve just said all that stuff to me. I’m nodding….that is, I’m identifying with much of what you say or seeing the truth of the parts that I don’t personally experience. I say Mmmmm…yes (there’s so many aspects I could focus on) So are you thinking a lot about your parents? I watch your eyes to try to judge whether you want to talk about that. Maybe I ask Are you still in love with your husband? Or maybe What happened to that article you were writing on the Bach work?. There are so many issues I’d like to cover and hear your insight. I’m sure the time would go quickly and the conversation would go in directions I can’t imagine right now. I’m not able to offer any great insights, but I love hearing yours. I’m just sitting here, listening.

    • June 22, 2013 at 6:29 pm

      Your replies are always so gracious and thoughtful. I think I might have to get myself to Sydney and take you up on your offers to meet over coffee and talk. A bit of a laugh that Husband thinks maybe he better come with. 🙂

      In answer to your questions: Sometimes; Yes, and love him, too — sometimes more one than the other, but always at least one; the article has been submitted and is awaiting the verdict of the peer-review board. I was asked shortly after its submission to review a new collection of published duets, so that’s either a freaky weird coincidence or they saw something they liked. Did you really want to read it? I can send it to you.

      And I’m so grateful for your listening, and your insights. I always wish you were a little bit less hard on yourself — whatever you have done or not done, or has happened or not happened in your life, you seem to me to have found a peaceful and “enlightened” place to be. It can’t all be sunshine and yoga and homemade whipped cream on warm apple pie, but the fact that you listen and respond the way you do speaks to me of someone with a warm, kind, generous heart and perhaps a bit of a twinkle in the eye.

      • June 23, 2013 at 4:01 am

        Still ‘in love” with Husband! That’s interesting, but of course hard to interpret. I’m not even sure what I mean by “in love”, let alone your thoughts and emotions. But I’m interpreting it as meaning that there is still a strong emotionality….that you think of him quite a bit when you’re apart (even just for a few hours), that you enjoy ‘romantic’ moments together, and of course there’s probably still the physical thing happening. I’m not entirely surprised, because I do see you as someone who operates at the emotional level a lot, and yet I wondered whether you’re also an intellectual, analytical, academic type. Perhaps more the former than the latter.

        Yes! Speaking of your academic, intellectual nature, I’d love to read your article!! I expect I wouldn’t understand a single sentence, but I’d like to see the sorts of things you wrote about, to get the flavour of it, so to speak. I see potential insight into both you and J.S.B. and how people approach his work today, in some vague kind of way.

        • July 13, 2013 at 6:37 pm

          Sorry, oldblack, have been away teaching at an arts camp for 3 weeks, with no internet connection at my place of residence. I will try to get the article sent to you as soon as I can figure out/remember the password for my sheriji gmail account. :-}

          Hope you’re well. I’m completely out of touch — how’s your mum?

          • July 13, 2013 at 8:02 pm

            …have been away teaching at an arts camp for 3 weeks, with no internet connection at my place of residence…” Woah! What kind of crazy, mediaeval torture is that? I was a bit worried by your absence from the real world, it seems every time your away it’s because of a major family issue. How did the three weeks turn out? Sustained torture or blessed release from family responsibilities?

            My Mum is good!! She is actually very happy in the “retirement centre” and her permanent status has just been approved (after she handed over a very large sum of money!). The down side is that having the responsibility to sort out her house and possessions turns out to be not much fun. You may or may not be shocked to hear that tensions can arise between family members in relation to the disbursement of such assets.

            • July 13, 2013 at 9:47 pm

              Not torture at all — cabin on a small lake, nice breezes and lapping waves, wonderful students and colleagues, beautiful weather, some fantastic meals at area restaurants, cherry picking, time at the beach, etc. etc.

              Lots of responsibilities, but all good. I do actually feel like one of the luckiest people I know.

              Glad to hear your mum is adjusting well. We actually managed the asset-disbursement pretty well, especially considering there are 8 children. Nobody’s particularly greedy or materialistic, and I did end up with my mom’s “mother’s ring,” among some other things, so that was fine. I did not have to go through the houses/possessions myself, as I have a few siblings who live closer and it kind of fell to them.


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