Day 20 Lockdown in France

Are you who you are today, right now? Are you being yourself, maybe a little I-don’t-care mood. Or even, what-is-this-all-worth. Perhaps, I-don’t-give-a-damn. Because even if you feel reckless, helpless, overwhelmed, don’t judge yourself.  There is no right or wrong way to be on this path. It is okay to be who you are, embrace it. Spend some time with it. Keep it if it serves you. Let it go if it doesn’t. 

There is wind today and the gusts keep pounding on the windowpanes, sending them squeaking and groaning. The metal hinges have plastic inlets, and the wind makes them rock back and forth within that little space that holds them and a stopper in the front. I shove bits of cardboard to stabilize and stop the rocking and the noise. Mostly the noise. I look at the distant trees and how they sway, all beautifully green and lush right now. I remember of the time when I would stand outside on our terrace to welcome the tropical hurricane that came every summer. Elsewhere, in the house, my mother would run to close the windows, shut the doors, hang down the wash. Leaving all the rush behind, I would stand at the terrace and watch a perfectly blue sky turn threateningly black. Huge black clouds rushed in from the south, covering vast tracks in a very short time, bringing with it a dusty wind that blew everything off and away. The plastic roof of the tea-stall at the bottom of our house would fly down the road and people would run behind to retrieve it. Debris, dust particles would whirl about, some particles entering the eyes making them water, and in the nose, the mouth. When the hurricane came, nothing was safe. But, for me, those moments were both terrifying and enchanting. Today, listening to the wind howl outside, I am reminded of the other wind, where I stood outside, clutching the bannister, loving the inky black sky.

Am I who I am today, right now? Not really. I feel a little disconnected. A little like the leaf blown around in the wind. I am in a I-am-not-sure mood. Maybe it is time to invite a guest. Perhaps, the only one who will remind me of who I am. Then, I can take a cup of coffee and sit with her, for the guest is a she, of course. And she is not so much a guest, as a permanent presence. I just don’t see her very often, but there she is, always right behind me.

I am what I am.
The fire-eater and fire-spitter.
I walk through the woods to see her
peep behind the trees.
She follows me- silent and ghost-like.
I am curious and afraid
of this Madonna, this fiery-eyed Baba Yaga.
She is my shadow.
She stops by the creek 
to quench her thirst by the cool rippling waters.
She looks at me with her innocent wide eyes,
her dress is torn and dirty.
I, the fire-eater and fire-spitter
open the door wide
and hope
that she will invite herself in. 
- 2005

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