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Capture and Keep (a theme)

Updated: May 11, 2021

29 April 2021

Capture and Keep

I feel compelled to write my yesterday; I’m not sure why…or maybe I am sure why…so here goes.

ACK before I do: there’s a bunch about Buddhism in Tess that needs to be discovered here in my pages, but it will have to take backseat to other, more pressing, thoughts. Also, Tess isn’t finished, so I really should wait until I know the end of the tale (which I’m not yet even halfway through) before processing and purging my ideas.

In the meantime, another fleeting thought: “The Thinker” by Auguste Rodin. Absolutely my favorite – I want to say sculpture, but really, it’s my favorite piece of artwork altogether from Paris. In the Musée Rodin. Ohhh boy and then, with that image in my mind comes another image of the gates of hell – the doors he designed for a cathedral (I believe) that show all of the horrific humanity – all of our grievous carnal sins – the torture, the pain, the terror – the truth. In black. What was it, iron? Cast? It was cast…but what medium, I don’t know. OOOhhhh here comes another…the burghers with their giant hands and feet, standing sorrowfully in a circle with those nooses around their necks. What was that piece? I don’t recall…but the gardens of Musée Rodin. They were top. Inside, alabaster or marble figures with absolutely Adonis-like facial features; lips so cherubic, noses bridged, eyes emotional and yet hollow – the blacks of pupils represented by an absence of marble – an absence of material. As in reality. Oh how the fingers twitched to touch that smooth stone, to internalize the experience of witnessing such artistic truth. Even the curve of a buttock or a thigh, the tilt of a jawline, revealing an Adam’s apple mid-embrace. How Rodin was a creature of reality and faith in truth. His representations, although often caricaturistic, almost spoke more truth than they could have had they been purely perfect representations of reality. Perfection in their designed imperfections. GOD, how I love that man and his work; what I wouldn’t give to go back to that museum today and absorb it all again. The passion, the pain, the pure humanity. Explodes my heart just a little bit.

But none of this is what I wanted to write, today.

Everything these days is tinged with a little bit of gray at the edges since I learned that I was not selected to be a part of UNM’s PhD program. Indeed, this makes me a little ill to just see it written in black and white. But it’s – the feeling – it’s a bit, like, everywhere. The word escapes me just now – ah, omnipresent, pervasive. It’s – everywhere and in everything.

OK ok ok. So there I was yesterday evening, sitting on the brushed silvery-colored aluminum bleachers within Duane Carlson Stadium (this just elicits an image of Carlton dancing – you know, Fresh Prince - don't ask); the air was, in the distance, terribly brown and smoggy. Brian later said it might be farmers burning remainders of crops in their fields in preparation for new planting/growth. I hope so. The sky above was a patchwork quilt of clouds and blue oblivion that imposed fits of chill and heat as it intermittently permitted the passage of the sun’s touch. Warm, cold; warm, cold. Likewise, my body responded: chin up and face out, chin down and face down. Blanket me in those rays! Oh lordy, blanket me in – a blanket, please.

Anyhoo, my attention was perpetually pilfered from the field to the family and flag behind me – they were so raucous, both! Quelle distraction! The maroon Minot Magi flag whipped and snaked in the wind, and although normally this would not snag my attention so, it kept coming in contact with the overgrown bush planted beneath it. So the whap whap of any regular flag was interspersed with an intermittent scribble scrape that was just enough to ensnare my attention – so I kept turning back to see What was that? Ugh.

Then, the family, with its boisterous five-year-old boy. Just like Grant, this kid could not just be; stillness was not in this child’s repertoire of active (err less active) verbs! He grabbed a grandparents’ walking cane and used it to balance himself as he clambered up and over each row of bleachers, placing his feet directly on top of the seatbacks as he did, making my heart gasp and gallop, his shoes bending nearly in half at the middle under his weight. Although there was no malice in my gaze or attention, it was impossible for me not to continually glance backward at this child’s antics; it was entirely too much noise and activity for my senses to ignore.

But the sensory input that captured my attention most was the smell of sunscreen. Behind me, mama bear smeared sunscreen on her bottle-feeding baby (toddler? No, baby), and it threw me all the way back – back and back and back – to the boardwalk in Avalon, NJ. You’d think it would have thrown me to the beach itself; however, it threw me specifically into a pile of mostly naked bathing suit-clad people waiting in line for Italian Ice at the corner tienda at the mouth of the wood-slatted pedestrian ramp that led up from the heat-shimmering asphalt parking lot below. Perhaps this is because down at the beach people were more spread out, and therefore it would be more difficult to smell other peoples’ sunscreen – I can’t be sure. But there I was, suddenly, in this line of strangers waiting for my cold treat!

Why this link happened in my brain, I cannot be sure…but it was likely the sensation, the emotion of carefree living. Watching the game in the fresh air, enjoying the breeze on my skin. Smelling the sunscreen that reminded me of my own childhood. But here’s what happened: in my mind, something clicked. I realized that these were all sensory experiences that need to exist in my life – because the kids are not yet gone! There is joy in this. There is joy in the last remnants of motherhood – and perhaps, just perhaps there is even more joy than ever before because during this twilight stage of motherhood I have recaptured my sense of self enough to appreciate it!

Ooooh for sure, I could bury my head in books and be quite content; however, what would I miss in these last few years if I did?? Those days may come. There is time for them. But these days are fleeting; there is only so much time left for these – and thus it is crucial to be in and of them. There is, then, a bit of a blessing in this rejection from UNM. It is a calling to be – to be. To be the still that child couldn’t be. To absorb. Reflect. React…and…here it comes…to write.

Yes. That’s it. All thanks to sunblock.

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Apr 28, 2021

A perfect post for me to read on Keira's 5th birthday... officially not a baby anymore, and I enter into my own next stage of motherhood. I am sorry about not being chosen for the program. I know the sting of rejection, and I admire your attitude about it. Enjoy your next calling and reflections. Maybe this calling to be and be still was meant to be after all.

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