recently it snowed and then got very cold, and we had some issues with our spring-fed, gravity-driven water system. i was reminded of how my inner feminist has completely sold out for the conventional male/female division of labor, and how interdependence with an extremely capable handsome man really suits me. i am sure that if it was just me, i would have been able to fix the problem (it would have taken me at least twice as long) and even speak intelligently about the particular issue that occurred, but i am quite content not to understand much about what happened, having bided my time inside the toasty wood-heated house making the dinner while he handled it. i am also sure he would have managed to feed himself, had i not been in his life, but the thing i am surest of is that neither of us would choose that other version of reality over this.
speaking of the handsome man in my life, he has now officially been my man for two whole years. wow, is it just me or do you guys feel like i was only just recently talking about the mysterious stranger in my yoga class and trying to work up the nerve to chat him up at the laundromat? two years!!!
as you know, since i go on and on about him, he has turned out to be mister exactly right. serious lifelong commitment material. although we are only committed for 99 more years at this point in time, forever is certainly on the table for discussion. i feel unworthy. for our anniversary, i wrote him a love letter and made him a mix cd with a pablo neruda poem inscribed inside the track list; whereas he started speaking not at all cryptically about manifesting the newer, better car he would like me to be driving. with four wheel drive to get me all the way up our driveway in weather such as we just endured, and more room for him to drive it comfortably on road trips we will be taking together. mix cd, subaru. 50 cents, $6 grand. the best thing is, nobody is keeping score.
“your love is better than ice cream, better than anything else that i’ve tried.” i don’t even have to explain a single one of the intentional lyrics i planted on the cd to him. no matter how subtle, he notices every one, knows why each one is significant. which is good, because if pressed, i am not sure i could articulate exactly why the song from the movie zach and miri (hold me up by live) needed to be on this cd. then if i draw attention to any of the subtleties, he pretends to play it cool and oblivious, the same way he will thrust the sports section into my hands open to an article about the romantically sappy way some linebacker just proposed to his girlfriend, and then when i ask him what he liked about the article, will simply reply, “huck it, chuck it, football.”
i, on the other hand, am emotional in the more characteristically feminine role of being prone to weepiness, crying at the drop of a hat, or over the sports page. our living school sang some songs in spanish for our holiday party and it was magical. little drummer boy chokes me up on a regular day, but listening to all the children sing it en español, the non-readers and younger sibling toddlers booming out with “rom-pom-pom-poms” in between all the trickier phrases carried along by the more proficient readers, was quite something. sometimes the tears hit me out of nowhere. my mom sewed a gorgeous tree skirt for us, an amazing, 7-sided, quilted piece of pure beauty, and when i opened the package, sitting alone beside the tree, i wrapped it around myself and cried.
the tone of some of the songs on the cd mix echo my seasonal trend toward emotional tenderness, with a theme threaded throughout of how keenly i feel our mortality in the context of fierce love, how love sharpens the reality of the impermanence of all of this. take your pick. eddie vedder: “it’s a fragile thing this life we lead, if i think too much i can get overwhelmed by the grace by which we live our lives with death over our shoulder.” bob dylan: “and if there is eternity, i’ll love ya there again.” making a cd is partly my lame attempt at transforming the painful, desperate, grasping feelings into something more beautiful. a way to send my thoughts out in the form of music, as sound waves traveling out into the universe. i unclench and let each impossible thought go, each note a thread from a prayer flag, released forever into the infinite wind.
exhaling, i return to the present moment, where my son has just asked me, “mama, could i make you a christmas present?” and more transformations swirl into being, as a boy once filled only with expectations of piles of gifts to be received has suddenly blossomed into one who also gives.
another day ends, and i fall into bed with my love, only to blink and the supposed longest night is already over, my exhausted body unsure it has actually slept at all. the christmas tree lights blink on, and i know a freshly shaved face surrounded by the aura of witch hazel and tom’s of maine woodspice is about to burrow into my neck and wake me up to start another day. (isn’t it funny how certain smells can fit one’s olfactory receptors like a key in a very specific you-were-meant-for-me lock?) i know if i turn to the alarm clock, it will read 5:38 and it will be time for me to go wander sleepily around the kitchen manifesting coffee, breakfast, lunch. but first, i have a minute to hold this special man close and mumble nonsensical accusations about how he is an eskimo just returned from outer space, otherwise he would not be so cold. barely thirty seconds pass and he is already contributing more warmth to this equation than i am, in spite of his shirtless foray into the frigid arctic of our bathroom/igloo. yet another magical manifestation of the combined whole being ever so much more than the sum of two separate wholes.
two years, going on 99. and, because i know you will eventually read this, because you are unswervingly dependable and you always do: i love you rich! even after all these years!