I went to visit Acer today. Two days away from Him, and He has changed. The thrum has grown to a roar. It feels like he went from a noble musician playing Spring on a very old cello to a shaggy, green-haired drumming genius who is rocking out his wild strength at top volume.
Really, the whole woods along the creek have gone Whoosh! The Green God stopped painting with the little brush and just started throwing around buckets of chlorophyll: Splash! Emerald!! Splash! Viridian! Splash! Moss!! (That last a redux because it rained last night…)
It was hot. I felt so good. Which lasted for like, ten whole hours.
After the creek, I went home and wrote for much of the day, strong and true, keeping my body easy with PT breaks. I went for a walk along the water and picked up Forest early and we had such a sweet, sweet night together.
All the way up to the end when I fucked it up.
We ate pizza and wrote stories and talked about baseball. I drew a picture of the strike zone and he practiced winding up. We came home and he washed his hair and then he started getting a bit chippy, pretending not to hear me when he was underwater, refusing to come up. This is a danger time for me. It’s the final stretch and I am tired. I want to be off duty and I start to see the post-bedtime lounge, waiting for me…
And then I asked him to hold still while I towel off his hair and he fucking danced around and I counted and he didn’t stop before three and then I told him "No Pandora in the car on the way to school tomorrow." And he said “Fine, I’ll listen to my CD.”
That’s not the point! The point is to make you sorry, you evil spawn.
“No CD! No music until you learn how to be helpful! No! You don’t talk! You don’t argue! Get to bed!”
This is not my best self. I believe in boundaries, and consequences, but not punishment. But sometimes, I am filled with helpless rage and then we are off to the races and afterward, like now, I feel like the worst mother in the world.
(Then I think of my friend Jim telling me about his mom basically leaving him for the weekend with a bag of cat food. Not really, but close, it sounds like. And I try to get a little perspective.)
I’m sitting down now. I’m breathing and trying to remember my tools. What can help me here?
I wrote a lot today about my intuition returning to me, which it is, a gift of the story of Baba Yaga and Vassalisa the Brave.
But while my intuition is helping me with other parts of my life, like coming back to life and also getting a difficult hair appointment—true story, stay tuned – it doesn’t not help me when I am being taunted by my six year old.
The Green God? This morning, He filled me with His shaggy fierceness… I suppose grounding would have helped! Yes, being made of old wood would have helped. Tonight I felt like I was the drum and Forest was the drummer. He was playing the beat and I was making the noise. This is bad for both of us: in truth, he doesn’t like it any more than I do. It’s too much power for him, overwhelming, a burden. I know this. I wish I could remember it every time. Or even more times.
Breathe. Breathe. Trying to ground. Trying to fill myself with the color green, with my own beat. With chlorophyll and rhythm…
Wait. What I need to do is drum…
So, I put on another layer and I grab my frame drum and I head outside, to my front yard that is little, but nonetheless filled with Him, with moss and downed wood and the small magic of bird and insect and flower.
There is a perfect crescent moon, cupping upwards, and Venus, I think. I begin a light rhythm…my habitual trance beat… slow, slow, steady...
But I am here for Him and that’s not wild and that’s not it. So I stop and I ground, and now I begin to appreciate the practice of visiting Acer these many days. Because it is there, as soon as I reach down. The deep roots, the roar of earth becoming life. I let it push through me and I can feel that what is being pushed out is a human panic. There is no panic in the earth. There is, at this time of year, speed… but not panic.
I begin a new beat. I don’t know what I’m doing. My fingers are a little spastic at first, they aren’t used being wild, moving free, unplanned, but I keep going, moving, pulling it up, beating, faster, a new rhythm, never before. And what I notice is that I can do this if I don’t focus on whether I am doing it right. Which happens, and then stops and then happens and then stops and eventually, if I keep my feet moving on the earth and my eyes on the pattern of wood sorrel and bluebells in the moonlight, what eventually happens is that getting it right doesn’t matter anymore, there is only the effort and the motion of sound and energy, at least as much as I can get from my small frame drum, and I am carried by it and worked through until I am calmer and softer and close to myself and Him again. And it is enough, so I go back in the house.
I sit down on my couch, and begin to write again.
And then, from my front window come a sound.
The unmistakable call of a Barred Owl. Close.
Again. And again.
I have never once heard an owl in the 12 years I’ve lived in this house.
An owl in my neighborhood. Calling, I am sure of it just now, to me.
If you've ever heard a Barred Owl, you “Who cooks for you? Who cooks for you?”
You do, Baby. You cook for me.
Thank you, Green God.
Here's a link to the call of a Barred Owl, scroll down and click on "classic hoots #1"