Sunday, November 9, 2008

A Guest Post Brought To You By The Great Blog Cross-Pollination

First, let me thank the hospitality of my hostess today -- the lovely and kind Kristen...she was one of my very first blogs I ever found -- that welcomed me to this warm place -- and so how appropo that she should be my match:


It's so improbable, the striped shirt, the trousers, the hair up in a scarf. I imagine the moment he stood there taking the photograph - a summer in the early 1940's. I imagine the same sandy Michigan soil, the twining sweet-pea vines, the sprays of daisies. She's twenty, in love with a machinist. She's heartbroken because they've been trying to have a child and if she knows anything its how easy children come because her mother had one after another after another: her sister Claudelle before her, Ralph and Boone after her, Ruby Dolores and Celeste Faye -- spilling out into the drought-hardened yard on the Kentucky farm first, and then after the train North, out of the frame house in the suburbs of Detroit -- her mother would have her last child before she had the first of her own -- a blue eyed boy, a chubby, nearly-naked child clutched in a picture like an unwieldy handbag while her parents wore church-going clothes, her mother cats-eye glasses and a netted black hat, her father a broad-cloth shirt straining over his barrel chest and belly, his hair slicked and graying. It's hard to see in them the schoolteacher she once was, the orphaned daughter who'd inherited her farm from her father, one of the most successful farmers in the county; he a cowboy come up from Texas where he'd been running cattle, cousins somehow. He would show people his roping tricks in the backyard of their Michigan house, how he'd lasso, roll a cigarette with one hand on the pommel. He stands in the photo on the back porch beneath an awning and the lacy shade of a tree, his wife clutching their last born, he's staring straight at the camera without expression. You have to wonder if he had regrets. He'd tried to run north without them, without his wife and the four children they'd had in Kentucky -- gone north and sent no word except that when he had steady work he'd call them up, when he had a better place they'd be there...and the months ticked by and my grandmother's great-uncle put them all on the train and sent them north. My great-grandmother came with the kids and the cast-iron skillet, the family bible, some photographs and her second eldest daughter grew out of her accent, blazed with the kind of mind that's god-given as she cleaned other people's houses and rang up sales at the dimestore and graduated high school, married a handsome hot-rodder with a good job at Gar-Wood and a temper.

I wonder what she's dreaming in this picture. Why children haven't come to her. The kind of mother she might be. She can't imagine that the child she waits so long for once she's come, when she's three the divorce will be final and he'll be taking that pretty hotrod to Florida and the sun and orange groves with a sixteen year old girl. She can't imagine what her unlived life and its toll will have on what she says to her daughter, and what her daughter will say to her own, and what that daughter is dreaming, sitting here. Why children haven't come to me. The kind of mother I might be.

I've realized that I want a life fully lived with as few regrets as one can have. I have slept in the wild. I have held the waist of a motorcyclist I barely knew who I met after my car broke down and we drank beer and watched an impossible starry Idaho sky waiting for a tow truck. He stood at my door with tears in his eyes going back to the woman, the love of his life he'd left in Vermont and I had a love in my own heart that made it impossible to do anything but kiss him once, sitting on a log in the middle of a clearing looking out over the bitterroot valley. Days after he'd gone a package arrived in my mailbox filled with sage he'd cut in the desert because he'd remembered that I loved the smell. He wrote a letter in the small ill-shapen letters of someone unused to writing. Signing it Keep a Good Thought.

G is gone today, off on the rare hunting trip that takes him from me for nearly a week -- rare for us who see one another every day and whose company we prefer above all others. I realize that it is only now all these years after we began dating that I am coming back to myself -- drinking tea out of my pottery cups, pulling out the handmade navajo rug that had been in an unused room downstairs -- unfurling it in the living room, chopping vegetables for my incessant vegetarian soups, listening again to bluegrass, folk music, coming back to my writing. I have to believe that being fully in my own body, in my own mind, in my own dreamed life will bring a fullness of joy to the children in my life -- so they don't stumble in the darkness of their mother's untouched hopes.

Have you solved the mystery of the guest blogger? Don't cheat! Leave a comment with your prediction before you hop on over to see Kristen's post of the day. For more cross-pollination fun and a list of all participants, click here.

Thanks! Your guest blogger ;)

5 comments:

Mrs. Shoes said...

I was guessing Wordgirl from the beauty of her prose, but then I think she gave it away with the initial. ;)

Robyn said...

I was going for Wordgirl for the same reasons as Mrs Shoes. What a fabulous post!

Geohde said...

Yep, I did the matches but I promise I didn't cheat :)

I'm guessing wordgirl, too.

J

Courtney said...

Okay, I must admit that I went and looked before posting this comment, but only because I was fairly certain that it was Pam. Now does that make me smart, or a cheater??!?

-Another beautiful and thoughtful post Pam. :)

Me said...

Hey Kristen,

I'm coming over from Wordgirl's blog to respond to your guest post over there. You might or might know this but breastfeeding produces the same dopamine in the brain that a woman get's during orgasm. At the same time, prolactin actually inhibits sexual interest. So, effectively, your hormones and neurochemistry are working against you. I hope you don't think I'm giving you a$$vice - I'm only telling you this because I think that sometimes understanding WHY we feel the way we feel can help us to better cope with it.