Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Those damn gaps!

"[...]This suggestion that bad teeth and talent, in particular, are mutually exclusive betrays our broad, unexamined bigotry toward those long known, tellingly, as ‘white trash.’ It’s become less acceptable in recent decades to make racist or sexist statements, but blatant classism generally goes unchecked..."
 I learnt early and often that one doesn’t leave a place, class or culture and enter another, but rather holds the privilege and burden of many narratives simultaneously...
 For the American Dream to put its money where its mouth is, we need not just laws ensuring, say, universal dental care, but individual awareness of the judgments we pass on people whose teeth – or clothes, waist lines, grocery carts, or limps – represent our worst nightmares." - "There is no shame worse than bad teeth in a rich world" Sarah Smarsh
"It was possible to live in a town for years and not bump into a cronie. I've always loved the sound of that word. Old Crow. Old Crone. Cronie. Places change, and sometimes people change. To see a face over fifty or sixty years the contours shift, landscapes fall off, teeth too. But then this is the twenty-first century. Overheard while in line Pale listened to the local editor of all things advert, "Yeah, he's got one amazing practice. Up the island in Oiland. His computer zooms into the top of her tooth and a program designs a crown using graphic design. A perfect fit, and no fiddlin' around in her mouth." She held her tongue which wanted to say 'And, it'll only cost you $5,000 dollars or the promise of her first born grandchildren.' - Pale in Purple

One more ... 

[...]You see; poverty doesn’t produce violence. Lack of story produces violence. Lack of connection. It’s easy to kill when you don’t care, when you have no story of your own to carry you. You’re dead weighted to the world with no wings, no eyes to see gentleness and peace. We are ruled by a social order that is rife with nullified ideology, stumped on their quest for something else, and confused by this quest. They still think it can be taken from something, someone or some place. I feel sorry for those who believe this. They are truly the ones who stand outside, looking in.
As a poet, I could bring you metaphor and symbolism. I could wax rhapsodic about the myriad ways my people illuminated the best of home, experience and place, but sometimes the story is most precious when it leaves gaps and questions. The simple song is the one that sings." Dirt-Sense, Animal-Speak, Origin, Aleah Sato

We live an oddly cobbled life. "Born gifted, you will NEVER live a normal life. NEVER." The words of Clarissa Pinkola Estes repeat nearly every time I begin wishing for something closer-to- normal. The hand-drawn diagram my husband drew for me dangles from a clothespin behind me. It's the second drawing he's done for me. This one simplified so I can wrap my slightly tepid limbic system around the system of power in this life of ours. Three extension cords snake from the electrician-installed power box across the forest floor--buried in the ground, to quote the husband. In that tiny building which shelters my sewing machine, the shower, a double sink for washing dishes, dishing clothes and hand-wringing (the clothes) we attach ourselves to the world of electricity.

Heavy duty extension cords run the manifestation of Mercury (lightning) to the heaters in our sleeping room and our eating/writing room. Tucked under the Tall Ones of White Pine, Cedar, Doug Fir and Hemlock surrounded by Wild Huckleberry, Salal, and Wild Blueberries, my husband and I involve ourselves in the community of this Salish Sea Island. Our beginnings have, more than likely, contributed to the choices that we make and the options that provide choices. We are no longer young, but, are probably on the front-end of elder and fittingly can be part of the Gap Years. I'm rooting, as a pig roots for good things to eat, with this post. I can sniff the essence of what I want to say but it will be messy.

Alright. On with it. Neither Pete nor I can be said to be your normal sort. And rather than define, I think it might be enough to say: Pete was struck by or was near-enough to being struck by lightning to never have a normal life. His astrology if you care about that sites two planets at the 29 degree. That's significant signature astrological. Just read this if you'd curious about the 29 degree of a sign in astrology.  My own astrology bears the 29 degree on the Mid Heaven (if you assume my time of birth is correct). We live the edge. Well of course we do, and in the playing out of those roles my fingers and my heart write the stories of those at the edge, on the borders, those who tread the between. Being plenty Virgo (work, in-service) our Cancer sun-sign husband does things, with lots of different people (lots of Gemini this man) and has opinions that are broadly tooled. A oddly-cobbled couple.

What REALLY started this post? It all began after my first cup of strong Wild Black Forest Black Tea, and my morning re-read of Terri Windling's post. With that cup of strong black tea drunk, staining my teeth another shade away from brilliant white, I relate to the story Sarah Smarsh describes in "There is no shame worse than poor teeth in a rich world."  We are there. We have been there. We cobble a life from the beginnings that include Midwestern working class and Filipino immigrant and Part-Hawaiian colonialism. The quotes that begin this post are the ones that touch the live wires of my personal story. "Classism" crosses color borders even within the colors that are ones' own. Reading Smarsh's essay I relate to learning "that I don't leave a place, a class or culture, or enter another, but rather holds the privilege and burden of many narratives simultaneously."

When I packed my boxes and bags during the travels of 2007, I had made the choice to no longer include the forty years of hand-written journals. This time, the boxes Pete had moved from closet to crawl space to storage locker went instead into the back of his Nissan pick-up destined for the dump. That's what can happen during a year of endings (a '9' personal year in numerology). With those words on the sheets of dead trees went a life lived in a house with a roof with all the rooms under that one roof. My inheritance, my legacy of home ownership would need a different story.

Those damn gaps in the space between one story ending and a new one beginning can be a ball-buster and breath taker. A new '9' Year starts up with January, 2016 the newer versions of the story has led us to the woods of a Salish Sea Island. Seasons have come and gone and the lessons we learn fold in, or are recycled with the outgoing tides. The Midwestern working man keeps his hands busy as he ever did. His gait has shifted, his speed variable though still includes a mean sleigh of hand to keep people guessing. The many narratives I hold find their way into the medicine of stories so I can share the burden and the privilege. Between us we have fewer teeth than when the white Nissan pick-up took boxes of hand-written letters on bound pages of dead trees. We have little money to pay for a proper smile. And in spite of that lack, there is a crazy sound that rises from the tiny buildings in the forest. No, not the sobbing, the laughter.

To our family, friends and readers ... many good wishes for all the reasons to be thankful!

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