Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Burial of a Saint

Quite a while since I “Blogged”. I’m not one to Blog you to death- but the adventure continues in odd ways which may hold meaning for others along similar paths.
Back in Rhinebeck, the leaves are pretty much off the trees now. Daylight Savings had thrown us into early darkness, and everyone seems stunned, and mumbles about the winter solstice in December- and how we just have to make it until then. Hunh. This reminds me of the phrase “ I can make this work” – which always makes me wonder why something should be work when it could be…joy or at least neutral. I realize that the phrase doesn’t mean that the outcome will necessarily be less than satisfactory- but it still gives me pause.
9 a.m. and I feel like the sun is already setting. It is low and dull in the sky, but at least with the leaves down we get all there is of it. This is one of the lovely paradox of autumn and winter- less light-more light. The world opens up. Long vistas appear where a wall of green stood before. Nice.
This summer I bought a little statue of Saint Joseph to bury in my front yard. Apparently this helps a house to sell. Real estate around here is slow in these economic times. Friends on the southern side of town also have an old farmhouse on similar acreage for sale. They are both designer/architects, so you know what shape their house is in…compared to mine that is. They too have had lots of lookers, no nibbles- just like here. I’m in no hurry- and find myself settling in for the winter without too much complaint.
But back to St. Joseph. I bought the statue on-line somewhere, in August. It continued to sit on the shelf in the Adirondacks all fall, and now it sits on the kitchen counter here. I have said the requisite 9 days of prayer before burial…and still it sits on the counter…not underground. The prayer that accompanies him says- be careful what you wish for: it always works. Hmmm. I think I am just too tired of moving around to get an offer on the house right now. In fact, I took it off the market yesterday – will put it on again in April. It isn’t that I have changed my mind about moving; I haven’t. Flew out to San Francisco last weekend to see my daughters (one played Hamlet- on Alcatraz at the old prison!) and as we flew over southern Utah my face was glued to the window and my heart ached at the sight of the landscape below.
Here is what I know:
1. I don’t want to take care of the exterior of any more houses.
2. I don’t want to have to find someone with a tractor to mow the fields.
3. I want to be able to walk out the front door into a neighborhood.
4. I want to have the option of hearing live music at night.
5. I will still have my cottage as an east coast roost- so I should stop worrying about seeing old pals here.
6. I am unhappy about upcoming ice and sleet. I have already seen trees coated with ice on Monday up on Rt. 90. Not happy.
7. Even though I dreamed about skiing last night- I’d rather do it in Santa Fe, and be home in ½ an hour.
8. I could make Rhinebeck work.

There it is again. It dawned on me this summer that Rhinebeck is great! Terrific in fact- for all kinds of people. There is no reason to badmouth it (especially if I want to sell my house!). I wrestle with feeling spoiled that I just want a different something. Novelty. Another pair of black pants, a different blank book, a different set of towels, another tea kettle, a different ____________ and I ponder whether it all boils down to a feeling of “lack”. Pema Chodron talks about both fear and hope coming from a place of lack. Am I hoping for a new life? Am I afraid I’ll miss something that happens here? or miss a life that might happen there? Or is this a brave thing? an interesting thing? an adventure worth pursuing? and a longing for balance that seems to pull me there- as it has since I was 15.
I’ve been dragging myself over the coals for a year now- maybe longer. Soon the ground will be frozen, and the trees will bow with snow and ice, and another year will have passed. Am I just a coward? Is that it?
Did I just say the ground will soon be frozen? Wait- I have one last bit of gardening to do- a certain statue needs to be planted- head down, facing the street. I’ll take the plunge, cross my fingers and see what it all brings. I go back to Pema- whose husband once told her she was the bravest person he knew. “ME?” she said- “I’m afraid of everything!”
“Yes, but you do it anyway.”
Going to get the shovel.


  1. As one of your postcards to me pointed out, Oscar Wilde's last words were "either the wallpaper goes, or I go." It's not that nothing is serious, but no matter what you do, it comes to the same end. To quote old Oscar again, "To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all." I don't know what's braver, believing life can open up in the place you already know backwards and upside down or trying to fulfill a lifelong wish to be in the Southwest. But either way, you are not staying put. xxx

  2. It is interesting because you are in a different place from me - I think I'm learning that there's no place like home (after yearning for Italy for YEARS) while you may be ready to venture beyond - but maybe we are both coming around to trying to figure out what we really want, without the bonds of shoulds that have been such a significant part of life over the past three decades. XXOO Lea