Friday, September 28, 2012

A Message from the Archivist (january - july 2010)

An Archivist -- let us introduce ourselves --  is a kind of Archangel of re-Visitment, if you will.  Forever looping, swooping back to gather up the rags of lost moments, stitching them together for a glorious patchwork flag to carry into the future. 

In our fascination with past and future we are like the Anarchist, our unruly and opposing twin.  An opposition, though, we must admit, like a paired dance. Gathering up and tearing down.  Breathing in and out.

You may recall . . .  as Archivist we have no choice but to remember . . . our last collection, i.e. something sensational (2009).  But the Archive -- (that is to say, the Arch Hive, hexagonally checkered with fragrant cells of summers lost, topped up with the transformed nectar of memory and capped over with impressionable wax) -- the Archive would not be an Hive at all, let alone the Archetype of Hivehood, if the Archivist didn't keep collecting ever more nectar to distill down into honey.  Breathings in and out.  Flights of being.  Gathering and reducing to its sweetest essence.

This is what at the distance of two years seems most sweet from long ago 2010.  Something further here to distill:

 (click on titles to read the full posts)

WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 13, 2010   apples and oranges
. . . Idly curious I was.  And discovered another reason I am glad my life is not bound by astrological manipulations. 

I.e., my husband and I would never have been allowed to marry : "Ox is patient, methodical person while the Horse is a fast, spontaneous person. The Ox may not like it when the Horse keeps taking off in different directions. The Horse in turn may find the Ox to be very rooted to be of any action." [sic]  

(Fritz, are you very rooted to be of any action?) . . . 


WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 27, 2010      why we write
YoungSon has been writing a poem.  He brings it to me to edit. 
Its pace is full of grace, its scales soft as lace,
Its dark blue eyes have no lies even deep beneath them
He brings it not for applause.  When I say, "I like it.  About a dragon, right?" - he says, "But does everything work?"  The crucial question.  And that sizzle of recognition rises up my spine. . . . 

THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 4, 2010       Joy of Riding #1: Cycling in a Skirt
Here’s what I’ve heard these past two weeks, cycling in a skirt (and other fine duds):

Young Mother: What are you doing?
I: I’m getting ready to ride home 
YM: But what are you doing?
I: I’m riding my bike.  I’m having fun.
YM: It’s raining. What are you doing?
I: I’m pretending I’m in Europe.
YM: Oh.  Okay. . . .

THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 11, 2010     The Craziness
I never have been great at telling jokes.  I always forget the  punchline. Have you heard this one?

A woman walks into the middle of the room
carrying a large pan of water.
Suddenly she empties it over her head.

Oh, wait.  Maybe that was the punchline. . . .

. . . I'd realized that one of the reasons I'd found it so hard to cook lately -- really cooking, as in planning out weekly menus, ensuring the plentitude of leafy greens, soaking beans, kneading bread, that kind of cooking -- is that all my years of learning how to cook the Healthy Way! have let me down. 

I have been betrayed by broccoli's false promises. . . .

MONDAY, MARCH 1, 2010       Burning Houses

. . . I realized I could not carry anything but her.  Everything else would have to stay behind in the fire.  Not only the dollhouse.  But also the Hans Christian Andersen. And the photo album. Photographs of Christmases and cousins with ice cream cones and lost birthdays curling up in the heat, blackening away into the nothing that had already eaten the past. But we would be safe, my sister and I.  I pictured us together at the end of the road, her head tucked up against mine, our faces warm with the orange light of our house going up in flames.

In this way, I lost my fear of fire. . . .

MONDAY, MARCH 1, 2010   Half the Fun . . .

To celebrate twenty years together, we ran away from home this weekend.  We took our bikes and not much else – two panniers with a change of clothes and our toothbrushes. . . . Of course (this is Oregon, it is February), we got caught in the rain. . . . The rain filled all the little streamlets so that the basalt cliffs were full of movement of water and trickling.  

In places the bullfrogs could be heard over the roar of traffic and sudden waterfalls inspired meditations upon the meaning of words like "spate.” . . .

MONDAY, MARCH 15, 2010    I Am Wrong
. . . And we lingered at our last corner talking about the beauty of diatoms and the recovered meadows of mint and mustard, forests of almond, birch, and pomegranate that paleo-botanists can call forth just by reading the fossilized pollen record.

And then we parted ways and I began hobbling home, aware suddenly of my sore-footed state.  That is when I heard that thought in my mind - Maybe I am wrong. . . .

FRIDAY, MAY 21, 2010    Losing Edge 
 . . . "Does anybody still check in on Imaginary Bicycle?" asked Fritz last weekend.
" . . . occasionally.  Yes.  Here and there."
 "What do they say?" he comes to look over my shoulder where I am writing something else.
 "I don't know.  We miss you.  Where are you?  I hope you're okay.  Variations of."
 "Maybe I should get on and leave a comment."
 "Really?  And what would you say?" I ask him.
 "Where are you?  Are you okay?  We miss you."
"You goon.  You know where I am." . . .

TUESDAY, MAY 25, 2010     considering vetch
. . . Oh please.

Our dear Miss Emily D wrote many a fine thing but this is not one of them. And frankly, if all she had done was lift that limp-headed birdie into his nest, would we care what she said?

If all I manage to do is cool one pain, I will have lived in vain.  If all I do is spend my life tucking birds back in their beds, I will have entirely lived in vain.  If all I do is keep one heart from breaking . . .  unless it be my own self-hating heart.

THURSDAY, JUNE 24, 2010       inexpressible privacy
. . . We drove down by the river.  The weather was too cold.  The sky leaden.  If I had been alone it may have felt moody, atmospheric.  But with my parents at my shoulder I couldn't help but feel that the town was purposely holding back, recalcitrant, sullenly refusing to perform. 

There's a reason no one comes here as a tourist.  There's a reason a proportion of eager home-buyers put up For Sale signs again within three years.  This town has felt for years as if it's on the verge of becoming something. When newcomers realize that this town is becoming ... just more itself, some people move away in disgust, eager for better shopping and reliable amenities.

You have to stay for seven years before you begin to see what's really here.  This morning, my parents gone, the sun came out dancing in a clear sky, like a child no longer under pressure in front of company. . .

TUESDAY, JULY 6, 2010    you are special today

. . . Again at the weekend: triple decker and fresh strawberry and family gathered, with all the belated ka-jinga-thunkle of the just-a-little-too-late.  The cake layers list - threatening disaster - the frosting slowly oozes toward the plate, and the berries are not ripe enough to taste like berries.  But Middlest has been admiring the strawberry cake on the cover of Patty Pinner's Sweets for some time and recognizes this as best effort. . . .

THURSDAY, JULY 8, 2010      a drop of water
. . .Thirsty I filled a glass left clean in the clean cupboard above the tiny metal sink in the tiny old-fashioned motel.  I drank and drank again.  I filled glasses for everyone. 

I was a mother by then, with young children sleeping in carseats.  I was, by then, obsessed with aquifers and drainage deltas.  I read and read about irrigation and rivers and water treatment, though I lived faraway from living on the land or living water either.

The morning after, early in Alpine, before we left, I dumped out all our carried water jugs by the side of the road and refilled with this sweetness and sparkle.  My children would live forever.  I would never eat sorrow. . . . 

FRIDAY, JULY 9, 2010   good enough
  "And do you like going there?"  my mother-in-law wonders. 

We were ironing out the schedule for the coming week.  All Wednesday I would be busy at the food bank.

"I do," I say, glancing at her, a frail Elizabeth II - the same gracious manner, same self-conscious dignity.  And a not dissimilar bewilderment at a world so changed from proper patterns, fallen away from the way things were when she first came to power. . . .

MONDAY, JULY 12, 2010    rutherford cup
. . . And then she sat down again, my daughter, among her cohort, her mates.  And the principal called out the name of every student, one by one, Eldest's name among them, as one among them.  And each came forward as the crowd applauded every one.  And when they had all sat down again, and only then, as one, they reached hands up to their silly caps and moved the silly tassels from one side to the other, moving together, passing together over a moment's arbitrary threshhold, the way a body passes through a gate. . . .

Thursday, July 15, 2010  boy friends
  . . . "How did we luck out?" a friend of mine has said to me, I have said to her, through the years, "We were so clueless, so unknowing, what did we know? With the little we knew, how did we fall in with such gentle boys, such patient and good men? We were no smarter than other smart women we've known.  How did we really know?  Did we really know? What are the chances?"  

 What chances for our own girls? we never say.  But we turn our heads together and watch them, laughing together in a circle, bare feet in the grass, sun shining on their hair.  . . .

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