Friday, September 16, 2011

Widow's Walk

Like last night at this time, the sky to the west is dark and ominous and I expect no more out of it than we got yesterday- thunder and early dark and enough rain to wet the ground and smell like rain, tempting us to believe that maybe...oh, maybe.

Mr. Moon is out fishing and I do not know when to expect him in. It is always a bit of a worry when he is in the woods or on the water. He is not alone, though. Jason and our across the street neighbor are with him and I hope they come home with grouper- more precious than gold and as delicious as any fish in the sea.
I am thinking though, of how wives of old handled it- that letting go of their men, sometimes for months and even years, as they set sail or took off across continents, seeking new lands, whales, cargo, the Fountain of Youth, whatever it is that men have always taken off to search for.
Adventure, money, treasure, fame, fortune, bounty, food, gold, silver, souls to save, peoples to conquer.

In Apalachicola, the old houses are stately and fine and they all have widow's walks and I do not know if women actually went up those steps through the Florida heat to search the bay for signs of ships coming in. Maybe they did, or maybe the ocean-going husbands just thought they did, and so built those places for their dream wives to constantly scan the horizon for their particular vessels, their own fantasies intact as they went away and left their women behind to be too busy tending children and home and worrying themselves to the bone to go stand and look at the damn ocean.

Who knows?
Not me.

Now we have cell phones and no need for widow's walks but it is a romantic idea.

I feel disoriented this evening. Very unsettled and strange. I took Mother to another doctor. I told him, in her presence, the signs of dementia I have seen in her. "How awkward," I said, as I gingerly began to list the repeating, forgetting, inability to cook or pay bills or read or play bridge or do needlework or, or, or...
The disorientation. Hers, not mine. It was her appointment, after all.
Mother nodded in agreement at everything I said and she said, "It's a natural part of aging," and the doctor (his name is Joe) agreed. He said, "You have very good insight," over and over to her.
I hope that made her feel better. I felt like Judas but the insurance company will not pay for her care if she doesn't need it. Officially. With forms filled out. Officially. And he asked me. Joe asked me. I told him.

Kathleen and I went to a nursery and it was so fine on a fall day to walk around and fall in love with this plant, with that one. To say, "What the fuck?" and take a chance on another tomato, half price, or a cucumber. To buy mustard greens and broccoli plants and cabbage and and more collards to replace the ones my chickens ate. To look through seed packets, to laugh at all the silly different mixes of lettuces (gourmet this and micro that and spicy this and baby that). I bought two types of arugula seeds. Wild and, well, I guess not wild.
"Rocket," it is also called. We shall be eating rocket. That I am almost sure of.

We went to lunch with Hank, we saw May. It was good, it was great, it was wonderful and all the while, I felt as if I were someone else. I didn't want to feel that way. I wanted to be THERE with people I love, doing things I love, which is what I was doing. Why does my mind go off like that, this disassociation? Because that is what it is. Disassociation.
I am no shrink but I know a thing or two.

Kathleen and I went to Target. She needed a yoga mat and we got that and we mourned the passing of the Target Garden Center and I bought Mr. Moon a new lunchbox and new soap and I bought Owen the cheapest set of watercolors and a pad of paper and I can't wait to show him the magic of dip-brush-in-water, then-in-paint, stroke-paper-with-color. We looked at finger paint but somehow, I am not ready for that. He probably is, but I am not.

We parted in the parking lot and I hope that I was there enough for that girl, that dear friend of mine, Kathleen, whom I love so much but I know she knew I wasn't all there. I hope she can understand that it wasn't about her, it wasn't even about anything that I can understand. Maybe tomorrow I'll get it. Today I am not sure. It is almost as if my essence has taken off for worlds unknown and left me here behind.

I came home and got in the dirt but I could not find myself even there.

Well. Perhaps I need a widow's walk of my own to pace and scan the horizon but I don't think so. I don't think the strongest telescope or the highest vantage point could help me sometimes.

I just have to be patient, like a woman with children clinging to her skirts, crying and asking for their daddy.
I just have to have faith that like that old sea merchant, my consciousness will come sailing back. "Hey," I'll say, "What do you have for me? What have you seen? What have you learned?"

"Come here," my consciousness will say. "Lay down with me and let me tell you."

And hopefully tomorrow, I (all of me) will cook grouper. And it will be good.


  1. Arnica is good for grounding. For things like jet lag. If you have some, maybe try taking one and see if it makes any difference? I'm not sure if it's the right thing, but it won't do any harm if it's not.

    Maybe it will feel better when Mr M is back home too.

    My friend's boyfriend is a fisher man. Deep sea, gone for weeks, dangerous, industrial sort of fishing. She's confident that he knows just what he's doing, and when she goes to pick him up after a trip he throws away his cigarette and jumps onto the dock to meet her while the crew cheer, and it's all very cinematic. I'd say she still worries a lot though.

  2. Jo- Ah. Fall in love with a man and you take on so much. Mine has called and he is fine and coming home with fish. Again- I am lucky beyond belief.

  3. Dissociation -- disengagement -- I know that feeling and don't understand how it comes and goes so mysteriously.

  4. For one who feels dissociated you write about it so beautifully Ms Moon, and as you say, your sense of 'being there' will return.

    The things you describe here, especially your mother's developing dementia might be enough to trigger your own disappearance. These things are complex.

    Old feelings rise to the surface from past difficulties and can grab at us when we least expect. Hence perhaps the need to dissociate, to take a little time out.

    I know the feeling well, and the discomfort of it all but it will pass, as all these things do.

    Your image of the widows of old is so poignant. It matches your mood powerfully.

    Thanks, as ever Ms Moon, for your riveting writing. I only hope the pain of the experience that comes across in the writing has mellowed in the process and that Mr Moon comes home with a big grouper for your supper.

  5. I just love your writing. I think you know that but I'm just saying it again.

    Also - I have never been ready for fingerpaints - but the kind that are designed for use in the bathtub are nifty.

  6. Thank you for sharing your day with us.

    Helping your mother/helping the doctor/helping yourself help both of them--this is trauma. Perhaps something needed you to get out of yourself--you needed to get away from you for a powerful reason. Only you can find the source of this.

    Sending you peace.

  7. My guess is that Glen's leaving may have triggered the dissociation. It's hard sometimes though to nail those triggers.

    Good move waiting on the finger paints. Harley is almost 6 and I'm still waiting.


  8. I call that split off feeling you have my glass wall. Caught behind my glass wall. I can see you and you can see me but there is a barrier of safety between. (at least that is how I see it: safety/protection). It could be something completely different for you.
    Neat to buy colors and paper for your Owen-bless his heart. Have a great weekend... Your man will be back soon.

  9. Elizabeth- Sometimes I think it's just all too much and my "too much" gets smaller all the time.

    Elisabeth- Thank you for such beautiful words. I really do appreciate them. And yes, today, of course everything is better. Of course. It always gets there.

    Lisa- Yes. Those I would try. Bathtub fingerpaints. Thank you, sweet, for your words too.

    Jaye- Who knows? It is always a bit traumatic for me when dealing with Mother. Always. But it has mellowed, that feeling, as has she. This is a good, good thing.

    Ms. Fleur- Nah, I don't think it was Glen leaving. Not for one day. But I'm with you on the finger paint thing!

    Photocat- All is well and the glass wall is dissolved. Amen and thanks!

  10. I get that feeling when I just need some solitude. Maybe I am going someplace that I really don't want to go, so I disengage. I know that I need some down time. Time to be quiet and get busy being and not doing.

  11. I could have used a widow's walk--the big fat L.A. attorney version facing the downtown skyline. Is he on his way home? Now? How about now?

  12. Syd- Yes. That.

    Denise- Oh honey. I needed one for the skinny guitar player. I know.

  13. I have always wanted an old house with a widow's walk.

  14. Ms. Bastard-Beloved- When we build our house in Apalachicola, perhaps we shall put on a Widow's Walk and when you visit, you can sit up there and enjoy the vista. I'll be right by your side. Mr. Moon will bring us drinks.


Tell me, sweeties. Tell me what you think.