The Mermaid is Down and Flopping on the Ground
I am down. This time in physically writhing supine on my bed. Wondering if watching force fed fifteen seconds of endometriosis advertising time after time has finally caught up to me. The barb wire belting prerequisite to hearing favorite Pandora programing. This is a mystery. Pain. I am a healthy girl. Thank God this is not emotional. Or is it? More likely, what I would think ectopic pregnancy would feel like. Thank God THIS is not my lot, in knowing my sex partner is shooting blanks. Definitely grounds for giving thanks.
This cramping put a kink in one of my greatest pleasures. Next to listening to the apple tree sing with wind chimes, and slipping into a beta lap swim, I love, love, love running with my dogs. We set out again today. Do this about three times a week. The days we do not run, Mark takes them for a ride in the truck for a beef jerky stick at the Rafter B. Sometimes I take only one dog with me. This is a sad thing, but they frequently run off when they are together which is a great worry for me. I couldn’t bear any harm coming to them, and I’m not sure I could afford bailing them out of the pound again.
So today’s romp was the third this week. Welcome, after spending the morning online completing an application requiring much thought and writing. This I love….but I also love to be out in the sun. So in donning speckled sage hen hiking boots, headed out, deciding to risk it with both dogs. God help!
The dogs burst with excitement in unchaining them from the barn. Their power, a bit unnerving, required me to stand in my power and used a commanding voice. This is a different feel…giving this kind of command in this kind of voice. Necessary though. I think of other dog trainers and lessons given and learned. I think too much.
Jimmer and Boozer bound as if after a deer up the “Sledding Hill.” I pump and puff and drive legs harder and up, up, up….with each pounding stride. Each time I run this hill it is a little easier and more enjoyable. I love the exhileration of this. The self talk that goes on almost resonates Yance’s yelling at me, “Don’t quit!” This is good. I keep going, smiling, and reduced to nothing but lung busting breath by the top. Then I have to tell myself, “Don’t stop. Just take it slow in the cool down transition to a stride.”
Make my way from gate to gate to next steep hill. This one shorter. I call it the “Hip Hop.” It is steep and silty, salt and peppered with rocks to hop around. This makes this one fun in chosing footfalls. The short jaunt takes me up and then down a long decline that resembles a poorly laid cobble stone cause way. I accelerate down this stretch watching feet and calculating foot falls one, two, three moves ahead like a moving chess board. This is dangerous, as I could be taken out at any time by an unsuspecting rook, or knight, or rock, or intersecting check mate dog. If I were to fall….that would be it. I would be finished for a week or two of convalescing. Fortunately, my legs are strong. My senses keen. My eyes and choices single and sure.
I make it to the bottom to a gate marked “Government Property. NO Trespassing Past This Point.” I ignore this as so many other times and slither through the gap. Here I leave the familiar back road for the “Short Cut,” or “Deer Bone Hill.” I trot, zig zagging ribs and vertebrae, grass tufts, cacti, a half burried cable, an exposed galvonized culvert, steel flashing. Junk. Junipers. There, back on a kinda, sort of road to the top of the Rockport Spillway and Dam. I usually walk this hill. Some day I’ll run this too.
Then up and level out along a tall chain-linked, razor wired fence marked, “No Throwing Rocks into the Spillway!” I always want to bend and pick up a rock and throw it over at this point, but don’t, because I am so law abiding. Ha ha. Actually I feel too tired to push the envelope.
Then looking down I see Mermaid Cove, once high and beckoning with green water. Now low, and outcropped like the physique of a chiseled lounging man. I like to clamber up him as if he were a sleeping god, or Michael Phelps. The view from here is stunning. All choppy water today. Few signs of life. The wind is stiff and steady. Another good day for kites and kiteboarding as is done at Deer Creek. I think of my sailboard stowed away in the tractor barn for years on end. An abandoned friend of younger years. Wonder if it ever sheds tears in the shed for want of use. Choose to take her out this summer.
The bank is barely in existence now. A week ago it presented steadfast in providing passage around the rocky outcroppings. Now sluffed off, reduced to nothing much but scree, requiring me to high knee up and over. A wonderous sign of weathering and errosion came into sight like a miniature delicate rock formation. The bank had washed away creating a hole in the sandy sediments and leaving a delicate natural bridge to a larger boulder taking on waves. I wished I’d had a camera. Could only take a snap shot in my mind for later artist renderings. I think back to a college drawing class in which I practiced “seeing.” Think of my landscape painting father at Rocky Point, Mexico, and bullfighters in spray and breakers.
I prancercize on, behind the dogs strong familiar lead. Then up the shore line to a sandier stretch. Lie down as was the case last Sunday. It was a bit warmer then than now. Sunday I sprawled out on the fine, warm sand. My left ear filled with blowing sand, much like tiny sandfilled eclare sea shells under foot. The smooth slip of sand between my fingers like buttery floured Cafe Rio tortillas between my fingers and lips. I scooped the sand like bakers flour and felt its lovely grit. Set it free to the wind.
The dogs came circling smaller and smaller, tighter and tighter. Then suddenly Boozer was on top of me and in my face with slobbery huge ham tongue and doggy kisses. He is as affectionate, as Jimmer is aloof and around the next corner. I hold this moment in my mind and heart a little longer soaking in the sun. These are the moments that make a life worth living…the moments lived largely in ones heart.
Heart things. Both the happiest, and the saddest refining holdings. These feel a lot like Maths huggy arms when one finally understands the Associative Property of Multiplication. Known properly, appropriately in the beauty of its rulings. Understanding that one can produce good, even in struggling and breaking apart from sometime mistakes. One can find partial products, and in time still come together in the sum of parts. Love is letting go, and holding on at the same time.
I like the holding on….the hugging most though. How to be understood. How to understand. Word work succeeds at times in this. Requires a willingness on both author and reader though. Suddenly I am reminded of a quote by Joe Boaler, “I am giving you feedback because I believe in you.” Wonder: Does believing in someone mean you love them. I long for someone to share things with. Someone to give me feedback. Difficult, because I trust so few. Fear I may live out my life only to never find someone to know this about me. Fear I may never have second chances with those I’ve ruined. Still, I can hope.
Today it is cooler, but I peel off my hoodie and shirt exposing shoulders, back, neck, and stomach. I run in my black lycra running pants and matching sports bra. This is the best in having no audience except the dogs who don’t care what I wear as long as they are where I am….free. My skin is free to breath and to brown in the autumn breeze and rays like those last red apples hanging onto branches.
Sad that this weather will not last with temeratures falling to a time change, darker evenings, and gradually brighter mornings for bus stops. Meanwhile, I run along the sandy beach. I glance up at campers at Juniper Camp ground and green covered day use pic nic spots.
Due west looms Rockport Estates rising from the ashes. It has grown in more green. I think that time and sunshine heal most hurts. Imagine my holey heart growing in like green mesh as if in applying life saving skin grafts. The green of life. Not gangrene. Forgiveness is a beautiful regenerating miracle. By spring there will be little evidence that a demon fire rampaged the cabined hillside blazing paths of devastation and loss. Wonder how my regrowth will present in results of daily practices for months to come. Wonder what form and how intended outcomes with develop. I will need direction. How will I do this thing? How will I be me? One day and prayer at a time I suspect. With focus. With exactness. With soberness. I hope with joy. With patience. I pray for forgiveness and second chances at something more.
More wind. More waves is what I get along Rockport. I think I see a small two-man fishing boat making its motorings from south to north west. This is the path of prevailing winds.
I remember and know these driftings. I think the choice to be out on the cold water in this wind…unwise. And still the people do this…in spite of hearing capsized boat stories and cold water drownings regularly in the news. I don’t understand this thinking. These risks. And yet I am not so different in my life choices, I suppose.
Too often thinking only of myself. Thinking myslef invincible. Then remembering in suffering and humility. It is the pride cycle to spin off. Pray that I am recoiling in increased centering to Christ. I am trying.
We hang out on the beach. We run and play freeze tag with the waves that lick the sandbar. Think we best not go much farther than the peninsula today. The lure of people and other dogs too much a draw for Jimmer. Boozer is more obedient. But then I turn to gaze at waves and sequined refelctions, and in an instant my dogs are up the rocks to greet new friends.
A couple and a black lab. They wave to me. I pull my under armor shirt back on in being found out. I call my boys. The man is holding a racketball and racket. Launches a blue ball into the sky like a Suzanne Vega song on Sirius Radio. It bounces playfully down, down, down, as do the dogs in hot pursuit. I take this as a cue to start running up the beach, and as I guessed….they follow and we’re headed north toward the spillway and home. I am grateful for the couple’s help and redirect. It played out so well without a fight at all.
By now my crampings are setting in hard, and harder. We go a distance and I must sit down. Sprawl out upon the flattest sanstone rocks hoping the cramps with right themselves in sunny healing. Not much change. More doggy kisses. I decide we had better go before I lose my boys again to distraction. I know this Law much better now. This Law of Distraction. Another metaphor to preach to me…..to teach me….what?! I think of something I once said: “Sometime the distractions are the most important things.” Sometimes not though. I want to be important to someone other than my students. But then again…I want a million dollars too. Then I could buy and donate a pace clock to the swim team. I remember another Coffee House song that says that the trick is not to want what you do not have, but to want what you do have. I am grateful for many things.
I am grateful that I know these contractions will pass. I try to think painless thoughts. Of happy things. Of favorite things. Of rainbows and roses and whiskers on kittens. Of blue eyes and soft words….and maybe I do need a nanny after all. A mentor who will take me gently by the hand. I think of last night’s Austrian Marrioette Performances of The Sound of Music. I think of a window opening somewhere.
I sort of laugh in remembering Ms. M…..e and I sneeking out, scaling down stairs to exit doors in search of back stage access. Intending to see the inner workings, and scaffoldings, and all the details in these amazing marrionettes. The expression, and nuances that were void from our nosebleed seats that cost too much at this praying BYU venue. We think ourselves sooooooo smart and funny in our diversion. And then it’s suddenly DONE in our undoing.
When will I ever learn!? Not every idea is a good one. I bang on the small glass pain and watch the people file up and out the red carpet staircase to relief of intermission bathroom breaks, and pumpkin cake and wassel at the fine arts convocation across the courtyard. Ms. M….e and I are caught in our trappings. Finally, some kind soul lets us back into the fold.
Meanwhile, I gather up myself in peeling slowly from the scratchy rocks. I scale the craggy ledge. I siddle by a boulder tall as me. Pause. Turn around in taking up a small sharp tool, begin to etch my mermaid logo on its face. My treading, finning self among the waves. Brave girl. I think she’ll keep on treading here until the tide comes in next spring with seasonal run off and filling of the reservoir. She promises to give hellos and mermaid knowings in the weeks and months to come…whispering until she disappears in deeper waters as she must.
I’m kind of proud of my clever petro glyph. Pick up a flat smooth rock to take to school. A slice of cemented sandstone for the taking. A sedimentary slab of rock for outdoor corridor breaking in proving it truly sandstone. For hammering. For crumbling. For wisdom.
A few steps further on I see the lone star rock. This rock that bears my Texan lover’s name. Wish I were really visiting him again. I’ve loved him all my life. Could never be his wife, but in my mind I’m still his lover. Summer uncovering. I leave Texas behind to future visits.
Then up and over, down, and through the gate, and gate, and gate. And past the horses and the their biscuits, and round the bend, where up ahead I hear the buzz of chainsaws. And see my husband cutting firewood. The dogs have followed at an arms length. For this I am most grateful. I haven’t energy enough to compell them home now in this pain. Good thing they’re hungry. This works to my advantage.
I say “Hello.” I’m sorry I can’t stay and be with Mark and cut and stack the needful firewood. I need to desparately lie down, or eat, or hydrate, or something. And so I do. I climb the front steps where the singing apple tree is still happily singing. I’m glad for this. I’m glad for many things. Including my soft, firm bed on which I am soon flopping….like a mermaid out of water who grew legs for running.
Life is good even in it’s pain.