I took my banjo, a big bottle of water, the best dog in the history of good dogs a bucket and a brass chalice and I walked downtown, wearing my red boots. I made twenty seven dollars.
Particular thanks to a woman named Gina and her patient husband, who talked with me for quite a while about life and belief and hopefulness and God.
I am still so reluctant to speak of The Almighty Everything name in any language other than music and pencil lines on blank pages, in the sighing sound of my own breath falling asleep and feeling safe.
I went and sat on my neighbor’s porch for a moment this morning and they are the very best neighbors. Growing organic eggplants on their front steps.
I am dropping the assault charges…because, although I was handled roughly with hands on my upper arms and although I hit the porch hard when I fell, I am not of a punitive nature.
I just want to be respected in front of my children, who – yesterday – still smelled very much like themselves…sunlit hair and mustard seeds and the blood of grass and dirt.
I am, it seems, filled with a grace I remember how to hold.
I recall the surviving German Shepherd. His brother died, snakebit. It breaks my heart to think about broken-hearted dogs and then…
I remember running fast through the pasture and the grass was just warming and the sad brotherless dog ran beside me…and I swear I felt like it was all okay…we ran and ran, in circles and straight lines, darting and swerving…alive.
Later that winter, my father shot that dog…it wouldn’t come out from under Rach’s porch. It was filthy and starving and cold, even in south Georgia…holes dug under houses can be frigid. I wonder if the dog was as sad as we assumed it was…perhaps it simply wanted to be left alone, with the ghost of his brother.
I can’t seem to get angry anymore. Even frustration is faltering. I definitely believe…in something and in everything. I believe in dogs and banjos and wagon wheels and women named Gina.
I believe in laughing and singing. I believe everything will be okay…because there is no way I will settle for anything less. I hope to lay a thick stack of bills in the palm of my father’s hand. I want to shake his hand for pushing me toward a life true and good and independent and worthy of all that he taught me…
I do not want to leave these trees I’ve nurtured. I don’t want to have to tear down my chicken coop. I don’t want a one-bedroom apartment that my kids can come visit. That doesn’t even make sense…how could that bring anything good…just sadness and high rents.
I will make some money today…singing improv from Emily Post’s Book of Etiquette…I will make friends as well. People smile at me. I smile back. It is wonderful to see myself reflected in them…not sick, but something more true and uplifting.
I will apply for more jobs, keep identifying resources…and keep thinking of myself as a resource…I need to write a few letters to some Very Important People. Scientists, Sisters, Public Personalities. Authors who I am certain could offer some insight.
Don Delillo is at the top of my list.
Jonathan Kozol. E.O. Wilson. Oliver Sacks. So many brilliant people…so many big ideas…
This is living.
Don’t worry, I am taking my medication:) I am working on my treatment.
Singing out loud is an integral component.
Proving that I can fight a clean fight independently is another vital component.
I can take any punch you want to throw.
This is the last song pandora streamed me…this guy was born in Nova Scotia…a place I am thinking about again lately…I will write sometime soon about my visit there in 2000. Greyhounds and local service buses from Jacksonville, Florida to Bar Harbor…a whale bruising ferry across the Bay of Fundy. Corn Chowder. Canadian buses to Halifax and walking and walking and walking…not really getting anywhere, but happy to hear foghorns.