Sunday, August 12, 2007


Is this the height of ego, starting a blog?

Here we are, August. I'm about to take my annual trek to the Oregon coast to play in the surf and let the sounds of the water and the wind soothe me. But before then I have a big week - lots of work herding the cats through peanut butter at my place of employment, a subpoena-ordered appearance at a trial, and of course PACKING.

But that can wait a bit - what I'm thinking about today is connections, and about something I read this morning by Mary Clearman Blew. I am missing a connection that has sustained me, and maybe that is why this leaped out at me. It's an excerpt from her memoir, All But the Waltz, part of a textbook that I am helping to edit. Blew is in the cab of a pickup truck with her grandmother and uncle, looking out across a river swollen with runoff and rain at a pig and her piglets, moored on an islet of earth. It reads, in part:
My surge of understanding arcs across the current, and my flesh shrivels in the icy sheets of rain. Like I cringe at the roar of the river, although behind the insulated walls of the cab I can hear and feel nothing. I am in my center and they are in theirs. The cur­rent separates us irrevocably, and suddenly I understand that my center is as precarious as theirs, that the chill metal cab of the old truck is almost as fragile as their ring of crumbling sod.

I'm taken aback by this passage, today. Two things strike me: we are all separated by currents, whether they are physical, like the rain-swollen river in this excerpt, or more ephemeral, like currents of mistrust, doubt, fear or misunderstanding. We are all, then, stranded alone on tiny islands of earth, or moored in the relative comforts of houses or offices or cars. It seems, today, as though all there might be that matters are these arcs of understanding and connection that surge across the currents that isolate us.

It is the mark of my heritage, my Scottish, and Irish, and steeped in lapsed-Catholic fatalism, that in this realization, this imagining of isolated souls being connected by arcs of understanding, that I find hope, and the beginnings of joy.

I'm going out to my pleasant deck, in the cooling August night air, to drink a glass of wine and try to feel surges of understanding arcing toward me across the currents that isolate me. Peace and hope, light and love to us all tonight.

~ plk

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wow. You write beautifully and I am a new fan.