Advice From a Friend?

Promise of Spring

If you click on this photo you see a bigger version of it, and this one needs to be seen bigger! Something about the fragility of the pure white petals with the sun shining through them on this single blossom with its delicate filaments topped with brilliant yellow anther captured my imagination.  I actually didn’t know the anatomical terms for the two parts of the stamen until a few minutes ago, but I wanted to wow you with my new knowledge!

Today was one of those days that begs to be captured with a camera. The sun was so bold and fearless in its warmth that it managed to deceive most of the city about the fact that it is actually still winter. I saw a girl today wearing a tank top and shorts, oversized white sunglasses, drinking an iced latte. And not just shorts, they were summer shorts, the kind that have an inseam of about two inches. That’s a lot of leg for February!

Taking the dogs out this afternoon, I already knew where the sunscreen was. I’m soaking up sunshine and storing it in my body because its supposed to be snowing in New York next week. Brrrrr…

So the real thing that triggered my imagination today and I wanted to write about was the following poem (under the next paragraph) and incident. The poem was given to me in a comment on the blog, so if you happen to be looking through the comments, you may run across it again, but it is priceless so I’m reposting it here to be shared with a wider audience. Do you suppose the friend who sent it to me was trying to give me some advice on how to better manage different hats?

I was in the parking garage at Trader Joe’s waiting for a spot and yes, I admit it, I was checking my email. The car in front of me moved, so I put my Blackberry aside to go park. On a Friday afternoon, that garage is quite full, so I headed into the back section and felt the Thule box on the top of the car bump, gently. Damn. I had forgotten that box was on the car, but I was through the opening and thought, “Oh well, I made it. It must be under the limit. Cool.” I decided to go extra slowly on the way back out, just to be sure, as their were no spots back there either. So, I’m inching my way under the horizontal part of the opening when I felt it touch. Shit! I open the car door and take a peek. No chance. I’m not going to make it by at least two inches. Double shit! I quickly glance around, there’s no one behind me. Great. I turn off the car and hop out, opening the back door and climbing, so that one foot is on the armrest of the back door, and the other is on the latch on the inside of the door. This is a familiar maneuver. Thats how I get skis in and out of the box. But in order to take the box off the car, I actually have to hoist myself up so that my belly is balanced on the edge of the roof and one foot is on top of the car door, straddling the opening between car and door with one foot dangling in the opening. At this point, I’m really glad there’s not room for a car to be right behind me. So, I’m laying up there almost in the box, trying to release the clips that hold it to the roof of the car, when the policeman who directs traffic in the garage and an employee from Trader Joe’s come over and ask if I want to go back out the way I came in. At this point, I’ve got three clips undone and the fourth one is stuck. When I inform them of this, they just walk off!  They’re far more concerned about congestion in the garage than they are about the fix I’m in. So I holler at the guy, because by this time there is a car waiting for me to move. I had just gotten the fourth clip free and jumped off the car. I asked him if he could open the back of my car. By this time I’ve hauled the box off the back of the rig and am trying to keep it vertical while the cop strolls over. He finally gets the tailgate open and I shove the box into the car part way, release the back seat, shove it the rest of the way through and drive off to find a parking place… which by now there are several of because no one has been able to get by me for the last 5-10 minutes. I get the car parked and go off to do my shopping slightly sweating, a little out of breath, giggling to myself and covered with the road grime that had previously been on the roof of my car. I would have paid for a photograph of that scene. It would have been the perfect photo of the day. Instead, I’m publishing a delicate spring blossom that does not even remotely go with this story .

Advice to Myself

Leave the dishes.
Let the celery rot in the bottom drawer of the refrigerator
and an earthen scum harden on the kitchen floor.
Leave the black crumbs in the bottom of the toaster.
Throw the cracked bowl out and don’t patch the cup.
Don’t patch anything. Don’t mend. Buy safety pins.
Don’t even sew on a button.
Let the wind have its way, then the earth
that invades as dust and then the dead
foaming up in gray rolls underneath the couch.
Talk to them. Tell them they are welcome.
Don’t keep all the pieces of the puzzles
or the doll’s tiny shoes in pairs, don’t worry
who uses whose toothbrush or if anything
matches, at all.
Except one word to another. Or a thought.
Pursue the authentic-decide first
what is authentic,
then go after it with all your heart.
Your heart, that place
you don’t even think of cleaning out.
That closet stuffed with savage mementos.
Don’t sort the paper clips from screws from saved baby teeth
or worry if we’re all eating cereal for dinner
again. Don’t answer the telephone, ever,
or weep over anything at all that breaks.
Pink molds will grow within those sealed cartons
in the refrigerator. Accept new forms of life
and talk to the dead
who drift in though the screened windows, who collect
patiently on the tops of food jars and books.
Recycle the mail, don’t read it, don’t read anything
except what destroys
the insulation between yourself and your experience
or what pulls down or what strikes at or what shatters
this ruse you call necessity.

by Louise Erdrich

So back to the poem… the reason I was at Trader Joe’s is because I am going to New York on Monday and I wanted to buy provisions so that my family doesn’t have to worry about shopping while I’m gone. Something tells me that Louise Erdrich would not have found herself flailing about on the roof of her car in a grocery story parking garage because she was concerned about having enough food in the fridge so that she could go on a trip.


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