Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Songs in my head

My other blog is down again, so here I am. I shouldn't think of this as exile, though. Maybe more like a vacation opportunity, the kind where your flight has been cancelled and you agree to be bumped and spend two days in a foreign country with only the clothes on your back.

A man walks down the street
It's a street in a strange world
Maybe it's the Third World
Maybe it's his first time around
He doesn't speak the language
He holds no currency
He is a foreign man
He is surrounded by the sound
The sound, the sound
Cattle in the marketplace
Scatterlings and orphanages
He looks around, around
He sees angels in the architecture
Spinning in infinity
He says Amen! and Hallelujah!
(Paul Simon, from You Can Call Me Al)

We're hoping to get out for my daughter's birthday. Our last several vacations were fun, but they weren't very ... natural. Much more touristy. So we're going to eastern Oregon and bum around in caves, hike, maybe do some fishing, be outside critters. We haven't been to Eagle Crest so I'll try to get us a room, but if I can't, we can camp. I love camping. During the season in the Pacific Northwest the campgrounds are so overrun, though, it's an uncertain thing to be able to get a spot without a reservation. This summer we'll go wild camping, though. No facilities, no other campers twenty feet away from us, only the woods and what we bring. Just drive somewhere beautiful. Sometimes we talk about if we had only six months to live, what would we do. Our answer has always been, just the same as now, we love our lives. But lately we haven't had time to even go to a park. Well, we haven't made time. Visiting a friend with acreage in the woods recently, I got another taste of that beauty I used to tromp in as a child so often. This time we're going to the desert where my husband grew up, the clean air, the clear skies, scent of sage and juniper and volcanic dust, away away from traffic with people driving like angry monkeys in 2000 pound death machines and grocery store politeness.

You can spend all your time making money
You can spend all your love making time
If it all fell to pieces tomorrow
Would you still be mine?

And when you’re looking for your freedom
(nobody seems to care)
And you can’t find the door
(can’t find it anywhere)
When there’s nothing to believe in
Still you’re coming back, you’re running back
You’re coming back for more

So put me on a highway
And show me a sign
And take it to the limit one more time

(Eagles, Take It to the Limit)

My dear friend, after years of struggling, finally had her baby. Talking with her and her husband on the phone last night, it struck me how radically different people occasionally end up with the same experience. There are core human traits, and I don't imagine I would get along well with someone who didn't have at least one of them.
As glorious as having a new baby is, it's a lot of work on less sleep than you're used to. Babies have different cries for different needs, but each one vocalizes differently so it takes time to learn. Not to mention those different cries aren't as easy to distinguish in a newborn as they are in an older baby. You have to just take it one night at a time in baby boot camp. Your life changes so radically, it's unreal. Life without a baby, even when it's hard, is relatively calm. Adults reason with each other, talk things out, make compromises, and ask when they need something. Babies don't reason. They don't wait. They demand, and you have no choice but respond to those demands as given. You can't train an infant to only cry when it really, really needs something or to stop crying until you can get there or to sleep in or hold its bladder until you can get more diapers. But the baby grows up, becomes more self-sufficient, less demanding, more giving, and that's exquisite, to share the world with someone you've raised who has your spouse's eyes and your nose and an emotional connection unequal to any other in the world. I love my children, and as hard as it's been, through the autism diagnosis, problems at school, late nights and early mornings, I wouldn't be as happy without them. I don't understand why I didn't feel lonely before, without children in my life. It's hard to explain. Rory and I did great on our own, but it's not the same sort of togetherness as it is with a family of our own.

Many years have passed since those summer days
Among the fields of barley
See the children run as the sun goes down
Among the fields of gold
You’ll remember me when the west wind moves
Upon the fields of barley
You can tell the sun in his jealous sky
When we walked in the fields of gold

(Sting, Fields of Gold)

It's past time I get out to the barn and deal with goats, chickens and all their ilk. I think I'm of that ilk too. I love the pasture and the sunshine, the scent of alfalfa and grain, the garden and warm wind and clean water with no ice. I like eating blackberries fresh from the vine, that dark, rich sweetness, and look up with curiosity at the barn swallows as they swoop through the narrow opening into the barn to their nests. Scooter especially likes watching them, craning his head over his back. It's a good life. Moving here has been one of the best things for me, for the children, and hopefully my husband too. I love this. Here, you can really feel the wind.

The wind is the whisper of our mother the earth
The wind is the hand of our father the sky
The wind watches over our struggles and pleasures
The wind is the goddess who first learned to fly
The wind is the bearer of bad and good tidings
The weaver of darkness, the bringer of dawn
The wind gives the rain, then builds us a rainbow
The wind is the singer who sang the first song
The wind is a twister of anger and warning
The wind brings the fragrance of freshly mown hay
The wind is a racer, a wild stallion running
The sweet taste of love on a slow summer’s day
The wind knows the songs of the cities and canyons
The thunder of mountains, the roar of the sea
The wind is the taker and giver of mornings
The wind is the symbol of all that is free
So welcome the wind and the wisdom she offers
Follow her summons when she calls again
In your heart and your spirit let the breezes
Surround you
Lift up your voice then and sing with the wind

(John Denver, Windsong in it's entirety)