Sunday, November 1, 2009


I found the perfect graveyard for my yearly stroll through those who have gone before. A stone fence, jagged and lichen splotched. Tall, leaning stones, worn by time, death to death, so that the names were nearly erased. And the sun, sunk below the heavy blanket of clouds so that it shone a gold spot light on the birch with the white trunk and fiery leaves.

Late October is the time, I've heard, where the veil between the worlds is thin and beings pass easily between. I don't know if that's true. Nor do I know it's not true. What can't be proven, proof wise, is what doesn't exist. So what if? What if there is a veil? What if there are worlds, plural? What if the veil between them is thin? Well, then, I'd like to be listening.

And what if that's not the case?
Who cares? A fresh contemplation of the brevity of life and our own mortality is rarely a bad idea. My dad never took me to playgrounds, only graveyards. It was better for the mind, he always explained. So I suppose that informs my concept of fun.

And there they were: the dead. The loving mothers. The devoted fathers. The baby Does. I imagine them in photos in that black and white world they inhabited. Their leather shoes, flat and cold with the laces always breaking. Those curls, laying for one still moment in eternity on their baby cheeks. Children, grown and dead. I could see Al and Ava dancing, maybe the Charleston, on a warm summer night by the lake, the band playing. All those musicians are dead now too.

Yesterday morning, Coyote crawled into bed with me. He does this less and less and I miss it more and more. Although, Huck and I share a full size bed, which is way too small for two people, much less three. But we squeeze him in still, and I hold on tight so he won't wall off. And because it won't last forever. So he turns to me and says, "You know mother, we won't be together for much longer."
"Why NOT?"
"Because I will grow old. I will be as old as a grandpa soon."
"So, why can't I be with you then?"
"You'll be dead."
How frank.

He inherited this collapse of time from me. I wailed through my sixteenth birthday because I knew the next would be #87.

When you parent with some one else, say a spouse, you see your own strange ideas, like graveyards for fun and imploding time. Huck's set of neurosis put mine in contrast and I wonder where mine came from. My childhood was a bowl of cherries by comparison to many others I've heard of. And, to be noted, childhoods are never responsible for the whole story. Nevertheless, I trace some vein of my parenting style and reactionary issues to my parents. Seeing how they were raised, I know where they got their ideas. And knowing how my grand parents were raised, I can see where they came from. And it goes back and back and back as far as the eye can see. Really! Some of my issues go all the way back to my great-grandmother, an alcoholic who parented her 12 kids for only a few hours of the day. Beyond that, I don't know. But I'm sure my great grandmother got her shit from somewhere. That's not to say that we aren't responsible in the here and now for our own shit, but it's traceable.

These dead folks still have a say in me, I guess. These are the real ghosts. A thousand ghosts live within me, in my DNA, in my history. A host of dead ancestors haunt me. History haunts us all.

Speaking of spooks, there was dentist trauma all over the place here this week. And what could be scarier than dentists?!

I pined for Dr. Pape back in Wenatchee as Dr. R took a mass excavator to my teeth, and his assistant rolled her eyes when I insisted I couldn't have epinephrine in my Novocaine. I can't even take Sudafed. Oh, fine, I almost said, if it's too inconvenient just give me the epi-nov and see what happens! THAT will be inconvenient! It's like they forget that my mouth and my body are MINE. Not just work, but someone's personal space.

Blue's substitute dentist strong armed me into a mass of extractions. He looked at her mouth, exclaimed, "What a beautiful smile!" and then ripped it out. It's like he forgot what teeth are for! Not just pretty things for the perfect grin, but also for, like, eating. How will she do that with 1/2 her teeth missing, her mouth mutilated? I feel sick about it. How could I consent to that? How could I be so bamboozled? I could blog for a long time about that...

That morning, when I made her lunch, I sent an apple, thinking we were going in for a 20 minute extraction of a back baby tooth that wouldn't get out of the way. She has this problem repeatedly. Part shark, I guess. After the sudden removal of all her teeth, I realized she wouldn't be eating an apple. I considered keeping her home and IV-ing her smoothies, but it was the class Halloween party. So we picked up a can of mandarin oranges with a finger-open lid. She asked the poor-substitute-for-a-teacher to open it and the lady REFUSED! Said, "What kind of mother sends her kid to school with a can she can't open." Instead of lunch, Blue got an earful about what kind of mother she had. When I heard about this, I let loose the appropriate string of expletives about just what kind of teacher... THAT's the kind of mother Blue has. And what about all those mothers sending their kids to the cafeteria for corn-dogs and chik'n nuggets? And what kind of mother sends her child to a school where they have a substitute like that? Well! That's just what I'm asking myself these days...

Then I realized that this woman, too, is haunted by a host of ancestors. She's a bitch. She's the only one responsible for being a bitch. But she's clearly got baggage that's probably not helping. And that baggage was handed to her by the previous generation, a poisoned baton in this sick relay race.

This All Souls Day, I'm contemplating just how many ghosts haunt us and our fellow humans. The many specters of horror that birthed us. And how, just how, are we going to break free of this ball and chain, Jacob Marley?

And I'm now plotting how I'll haunt my great grand kids, and yours.


photos: O why isn't there a caption contraption on this blog?
Blue as Lady Jane Grey, beheaded teenage queen (she just read a biography of her)
Coyote was a Karate kid, his choice.
I was ye olde stand-by: corn flower. I can get INTO costumes, but this year I had no where to show off. Apparently my costume enthusiasm requires an audience.
The warty pumpkin Huck picked out was too tough for kitchen tools.

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