Friday, July 11, 2008

Underwater Hush

In the lives of many people, the announcement that follows would be rather dull. But in my life, it is a major smile-producer. I would like to announce that I wore real shoes, with heels, yesterday to work. I wore them all day. Today I'm back to the privos. It might have been a bad move to wear the heels all day. Still smiling, though. For those of you who have suffered along with me (sorry for my whining) and wonder which pair ultimately got the nod, I went with my favorite black kid RSVP Insolia's. Curtsy.

I found myself out walking around my neighborhood a few nights ago, tense and needing to be out of my house for a while. A block from my house is a big irrigation canal. A big one, paved, with bridges, etc. I was standing on the footbridge looking at the fast moving water, and remembering how the complex irrigation systems fascinated me, wowed me, when I first moved West. The canal cuts through the center of the golf course, and I wandered around the "do not trespass" signs onto the course and found a spot to sit on the bank and dangle my feet in the water. It was shockingly cold, and felt fantastic in the evening's still-hot air. I was a kid for about six minutes, and I imagined sliding into the water and letting it take me somewhere, the next county, another country, the ocean....illogical, dreamy thoughts. I thought about the map I had seen once that showed it traveling miles over the countryside. And then I remembered once scooping a dog out of this very canal, a small mutt who had fallen in somewhere, scared and freezing when I grabbed him. And then...I had an idea for a story. Which has not happened in months. And I took a very deep breath, and smiled, and relaxed while I waited for the sun to set over "my" golfcourse.

I write a lot of stories with water imagery. In our fiction workshops when I was working on my MFA, we had a running joke about whatever story we were workshopping needing a shower scene. Yes, I write some of THOSE water images, but I also write lakes, bathtubs, pools, canals, rain - I love the way water moves things, carries things, lifts us, washes and covers and reveals. Lately, though, I've been a bit fixated on sounds. I think about sound often, I think in sound often. I have a friend who wears hearing appliances, and sometimes when I think of her it reminds me of how my world would be changed without sound.

But I also think of how sound tells us so much about a place. The feeling of a silent, sterile room as opposed to one which may be hushed, but with undercurrents of music, or the bubbling of an aquarium or a fountain. The pounding or sprinkling of rain on a roof, leaves, pavement. The way a home sounds - filled with music and laughter and shouting, or quieter. The sounds of illness - breathing machines, or coughing, or the cutting sounds of painful movement.

I circle always to the sound and the image of underwater hush, the escape of it. The softness of the water on skin, the magic weightlessness of being submerged, and the lovely hush. In real life this moment is only ever a moment, of course, no more than the length of a deeply indrawn breath. But in my imagination and sometimes the world of my stories that moment extends, breath comes easy even under water, and the world retreats.

Find your place of ease, and be in it.

~ patti


Anonymous said...

I found your blog by accident. It's so honest.

Remember telling me how you felt scolded by your friend who asked you if you were settled yet? Screw that. You keep doing the best you can, and remember you deserve to live your life. And you know what? It pisses me off, the way things are for you.

You are someone I'm proud to know. Remember that. I won't butt in. But I wish like hell I could take some of your shit and carry it for you awhile. I'll bet a lot of people do.


Patti Knox said...

Hey there. Wow, I'm blushing. No need to be angry, in the range of human possibility these are all little things, eh? And there are a lot of ways to find joy, you know. I have that brewing in my head - hard stuff makes happy stuff happier, more joyous.

But hey....hmmm....yeah, "you carry this" and "YOU carry that!" I like it! Nah, it's all good, I'm looking into a Rascal to carry all my stuff. :)

Thanks for caring. Sorry for the lame Rascal joke. Big hugs.