1. Almost all the sounds are yours. And the ones that aren’t – the dry crunch of leaves along the side of the house, they’re either animal or man. Man is the heavier step, the raccoon and the possum are more tentative, more low to the leaves. And if you’re scared, you can get out of bed, like you did last night and stand by the window, flicking on the outside light to watch a little mouse duck under your house.
2. Your ex-husband left you a woodpile, which you need to load into the wheelbarrow and stack in the wood bin. It’ll take some time, but the gift will be the way you’ll remember how to use your body, the way you’ll bend to pick up the pieces he split, tossing them into the wheelbarrow, which you’ll make too heavy, lifting the handles, and wheeling it over to the wood bin. You love this honest labor.
3. The pile has been there for three weeks, ever since he drove away to New Mexico, and while it’s true you haven’t had the time to get to it, you like looking at the pile sitting in the yard because it reminds you of this act of love – the way he rented the wood-splitter to split the wood from the dead tree that came down.
4. Your love language is service, and as long as you can see the pile, you can feel the love. Maybe this is why asking for help feels so intimate.
5. There are people to call for the jobs you don’t know how to do; the cat door that needs to be replaced because the raccoons and possums use it too. And if you could figure out how to get the hot water to flow faster you wouldn’t waste as much as you do now – plus the drought. And if you take the time, you can probably figure out how to get the handle back on the grill, change the tall bulb in the kitchen, sell the futon, and stain the kitchen floor from all those years of cats, dogs, dinners, and family.
6. “Buy a pitchfork,” your ex instructs before he heads to New Mexico. It’s for the compost bin he spent half a day digging into and turning, a job you’d avoided for two years, thinking that one day the horrible mess of rotten fruit and eggshells, coffee grounds and vegetables would magically turn into glistening black soil.
7. You always knew you’d need to be part of a herd. A family. Not because you wanted to be a mother, it’s that you wanted to be in the center of things, needed, busy, protected from a solo-ness that shadowed you since you were a child, and what you feared that meant about you.
8. You married the first man, the nicest man, the one who smelled like spareribs, the one who led you blindfolded into craters in the desert and wrestled with you on the beach. He’d give you the shirt off his back, and sometimes that’s all he had. You had two rascally daughters together who roller skated through the house, and who chased the dog, who chased the cat, who let the raccoons and the possums in. Messy, beautiful, noisy. You baked as many birthday cakes as you could.
9. “You will become conscious,” says the Jungian therapist, Marion Woodman, “there are two ways. 1) You walk nobly down the path and take your lumps. Or 2) Fate will drag you down like a squealing pig. Either way, you will become conscious.”
10. You love the wind. And you love the silence. And if you can stand it, you try to sit nobly in that silence and watch the parade of fears and bright ideas pass without jumping up and running after each one of them; How much time do I have left? Will I partner again? Will I have the courage to get past the nasty voices and write that book? Can I tolerate my own mediocrity on the road to making something beautiful?
11. You can still see the way your date’s eyes teared up 10 minutes into meeting him when he showed you the picture of his kids from 13 years ago, when they were small. It was the way in the few words he used you knew he was feeling regretful for something he’d done or hadn’t done before he left their mom, or after he’d left their mom – all those missteps.
12. “Don’t follow the wrong dog home,” is what Gary, our old therapist used to say about the mind and how easy it was to go running after thoughts like they were real, when they were just some bad story you were telling yourself.
13. Another day, another chance to begin again; compassion for me, compassion for you, the front door wide open for the wind, the woodpile winking in the sun.
Listen to Laurie read this post …
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Love this, love you.
Soulful, beautiful. Thank you for the unfiltered truth. Now I’m sitting here wishing I had baked more birthday cakes. Answers to 10: Who knows, who knows, YES!, and of course you will.
I love this. While my writing will never be similar, the inspiration I gather from your writing is a delight and great value. Thank you!
What Eve said. Thank you Laurie, for your honesty, your light, and your way of weaving them into words to create such pictures. Grateful to know, to write with, and to be inspired by you. <3
Thank you, Laurie; I feel you wrote this for me. Only it was Wyoming, not New Mexico. The way you put words into a picture. Enjoy your time for you. In Gratitude, Ruth Ann
this is beautiful and inspired me on this rainy morning…
1. You notice how hard you try to soothe a person when they feel bad. Especially men. Say the right words, hug, comfort. Offer your body in exchange for the hope that you’ll be accepted back.
2. The men you choose usually feel “less than” you and you wonder if feeling bad about your power and your strength and the gifts life has given you are what you should really be feeling bad about.
3. Don’t follow the wrong dog home… meant to be about one’s thoughts but you think it may be about the men you allow into your heart. You had hoped that this one would be different, the right one.
4. He sits on your bed, sad and sharing, yet again, his shame. He fiddles with the zipper on his bag. You see him waver about sleeping over then you decide he should go home. You both need sleep and you know it won’t happen if he stays. You’re sure he takes it as rejection but you know you were only taking care of yourself… and him.
5. You’re thinking kindness and safety in a man are enough. Maybe they aren’t… yet again, you watch your barely open and vulnerable heart curl back into itself.
6. Your whole life has been about keeping your thoughts or needs to yourself. Only bad can come from speaking up about how something makes you feel. You see this happening again with this man and the realization makes you feel so sad.
7. Your new life, moving across three states, has seemed so hopeful until the last few weeks. You remember the saying “wherever you go, there you are.” Is this that?
8. Rain softly drums on the window, the room is dimly lit except for the lamp light, Bill Evans quietly keeping you company on the stereo. The weather matches your mood. You vow to take some time to think and to make the best choice you can for yourself. Self care, baby.
9. You know you can make it though this. You know you can do hard things. As you have in the past. Life, and you, will carry on.
Starr…beautiful. Deep. Thank you.
🧡🌸🍀 – Beautiful.
So beautiful, so honest. The images you create with your words carry me through each
scene like a dance. 🧡🧡🧡
Beautiful, Lolo. May there always be a winking woodpile out your window to show you love. Xo
Oh my goodness. Absolutely gorgeous. Thank you. What a perfect way to start the day — with you and that woodpile and so much love. 💥💓💥
Knowing you is loving you.
It is always such a treat to see an email with a new blog post you’ve written. Thank you for sharing so much truth and for modeling how to write what wants to be said.
Perfect companion to my espresso as I stare into the lagoon created by the merging of the Russian River and the Pacific. A late night summer solstice spent staring moonward and manifesting the next steps. Love to you always speaking in ways we can all relate to—for teaching me so much about telling truths.
Laurie, so much lighthouse wisdom in this piece. I am struck by your knowing so early on you wanted to be in the center of things, that you needed to be part of a herd, to protect yourself from too much solo-ness. You are the center of our Wild Writing Family, our herd, which for some of us is such a welcome respite from too much solo-ness we consciously cultivated to protect ourselves in this the world. I love our herd, but for you, would not exist! Thank you, most generous hearted lady!
I’ve read the piece twice now. May have to read it again…. it’s beautiful and moving.
“You had two rascally daughters together who roller skated through the house, and who chased the dog, who chased the cat, who let the raccoons and the possums in.” – quintessential family – so evocative!!
Sublime. Thank you, Laurie XO
Love and miss you! Such good, raw, glittering stuff. Thank you <3
Am too weary to try and shape the feelings into words. Am offering a mouth full of mmms and hmmms and a silent wow and oh my yes while my hand rests on my chest.
I love the images and feelings evoked in this piece! Peace to you!
Thank you for this. Inspiring and relatable.
Wow. Just wow. And with a rusty, audible, kerchunk, my soul has connected with this day, carried on the back of your writing. thank you.
I thought, Sunday, in my head, to write to you. I’ve written volumes as fast as I can, writing I can mostly but not always read, with you for over a year. Your generosity as a teacher and your willingness to lay yourself bare are so appreciated. But Monday I was so dragged out from thinking myself into a blind alley and still not turning around but attempting to climb the walls. And then I remembered to simply be grateful. I keep learning this over and over. Thank you Laurie for sharing your life as a daughter, a mother, an ex wife, a good friend.
I love reading your work!
You are and have always been such a wizardess of lists. The gifts of reading you are like waves returning in concentric motion to shore.