Unfortunately, I'm going to be mixing metaphors in the process, but please bear with me. I think it will all come together in the end.
I knit. I am not a great knitter, as I find out every time I venture into one of the knit-and-bitch sessions at my favourite yarn shop -- but I love the feel of wool in my hands, the way simple movements of my needles create patterns that make sense. When I make a mistake, I know how to work my way back to my mistake, correct it, and go on with the project. I don't despair. I don't just rip the wool off the needles and throw it away. Now, if only I could carry that attitude on to the rest of my life.
Reya Mellicker (The Gold Puppy) truly spoke to my heart today, and I am grateful to her. She talked about starting and re-starting, about transitions. I have always thought of my life as a shelf full of books, opened and closed one after the other, rather than as chapters of one long story, related by the story's theme and by the characters who inhabit it.When a part of my life is over, I say, it is over, and I move on. I cut my losses, and I start anew. At least, that's what I try to do. It must be obvious to even a casual observer that this doesn't work. An old friend told me long ago (Why didn't I listen?), No matter where I go, there I am. I find myself in awe of the people around me who live where they grew up, who have friends from their childhood, whose lives are, for lack of a better word, a gestalt. Mine isn't. Even my bookshelf metaphor is far too neat -- much neater than my life.
This September, Robin and I will board The Turtle and head back to Ontario. I am excited about seeing my daughter and son-in-law, who moved back east two years ago, and I'm already counting the days -- but there will be more to the visit than that. I will be going back to a place where I spent more than twenty years, where I loved and was loved, where my children were born, where I lost my marriage, lost the continuity of my own story, and went into a predictable tailspin. I'll be going back to a place that I left abruptly, heartlessly, and tried to forget. I'm full of conflicting emotions, bouncing between elation and trepidation. Maybe I will find that everything has changed, that I have succeeded in becoming a stranger. But is that really what I want? Maybe I'll encounter old friends. I don't know quite how I feel about that. A way-too-big part of me wants to buy a wig and some oversized sunglasses. When I'm tempted to do that, I will try to remember Reya's example. I will try to hang onto the thread of my life, to remember that the earlier chapters of my life still have valuable lessons to teach me, if I only have the courage to work my way back, to correct my mistakes -- or to accept that I can not correct them, and that they simply make up the unique pattern of my life.
Brave words, eh? Wish me luck -- and thanks again to Reya.