Sunday, December 09, 2007

Wish I Had a River...Kinda

It's been a whirlwind weekend. My sister came to town to visit and to celebrate our friend Shannon's First 39th Birthday Party. We also spent time with our friend L who is still in the process of finalizing her move to another city. So much coming and going, and this week, I have to pay a visit to the red part of my state for work. Ick.

Yesterday was so lovely. My sister and I had a busy morning with my kids and then enjoyed lunch out, a nap, dinner with another friend in the process of transitioning his life, and then a party with a huge array of people. We all laughed as Shannon would introduce each new guest to "L, J, her friend D, her son G, G's dad, G's Fiance, J's sister..." I am so glad I got to see some of my friends and especially my sister. I introduced a new friend to some of the folks in my life and we all had a pretty good time.

It was quite a couple of days. Today I am processing some of the subtler moments that have left me a little unsettled. It could be the exhaustion I'm feeling, or the fact that in stark contrast to yesterday's beautiful warm sun, today brings what most of us in NE Ohio are used to for December -- a cold rain, turning colder. After mating what seemed like 300 pairs of socks, I poured a hot bath and let the phone ring as I tried soaking away the confusion and a few negative impressions. In a personal care coup de grace, I made myself a delicious peanut butter and honey sandwich on beautiful flaxseed bread, and enjoyed it with a plain glass of milk. Simplicity and perfect comfort on a plate. I may have to top that with a nap.

Earlier this week for some reason I returned to one of my favorite non bluegrass artists for a day or so, Joni Mitchell. There are some good overwintering songs. River, a favorite of someone I used to work for who was a pretty good musician in his own right, is one of those for sure. It's really beautiful, so pensive and full of restlessness and sadness. The holidays are not the greatest time for everyone, and can be very difficult especially if you don't have little children to fuss over (I wasn't initially planning to even have a tree this year but now I cannot wait to bring home our plantable tree next weekend and finally put the final festive touches on our home.) I often wonder how Mitchell came up with this song, how it came to her. There is a long play version and I have to say I'm not sure whether that's this one or another one.

As I drove away from my friend L's house this morning after stopping to spend a few extra minutes with her and pay tribute to her home where we all shared so many moments, I realized, she and a couple of my other friends are fortunate in that they are about to skate away into new territory. It's scary and unsettling to them for sure, but to have the freedom and be able to make the choice to do that with so little impact on others is in some ways a blessing. There have been many moments where I felt maybe the best thing I could do was skate away along the river alone to some new place where I could simply put all my best effort to bear on the good things I believe in. But I'm not really sure how I would feel once I got there. Until that thing that brings a feeling of absolute rightness comes along, whether it is an opportunity, or a person, or a situation, I will sit on the bank of the frozen river, continue working and growing and doing my best, hoping and waiting for the thaw.


It's coming on Christmas
They're cutting down trees
They're putting up reindeer
And singing songs of joy and peace
Oh I wish I had a river
I could skate away on
But it don't snow here
It stays pretty green
I'm going to make a lot of money
Then I'm going to quit this crazy scene
I wish I had a river
I could skate away on

I wish I had a river so long
I would teach my feet to fly
Oh I wish I had a river
I could skate away on
I made my baby cry

He tried hard to help me
You know, he put me at ease
And he loved me so naughty
Made me weak in the knees
Oh I wish I had a river
I could skate away on
I'm so hard to handle
I'm selfish and I'm sad
Now I've gone and lost the best baby
That I ever had
Oh I wish I had a river
I could skate away on
I wish I had a river so long
I would teach my feet to fly
Oh I wish I had a river
I could skate away on
I made my baby say goodbye

It's coming on Christmas
They're cutting down trees
They're putting up reindeer
And singing songs of joy and peace
I wish I had a river
I could skate away on


At December 09, 2007 3:54 PM, Blogger Shameless Agitator said...

Watching and waiting seems to be our theme, doesn't it MM?

Time for me to listen to Pema Chodron again and work on that happiness training.


At December 09, 2007 5:25 PM, Blogger Mando Mama said...

Me too! I owe you many thanks for that.

I really had a rough morning but I reminded myself that feeling off and disoriented is part of the process for everyone. Every person is unique and every person must feel his or her way through a situation as only they can manage it. Sometimes this causes cracks in the ice, little dangerous spots where people who are muddling through things unintentionally cause some harm and possibly hurt. So I try to assume it is not intentional. To assume or decide what a relationship should be because of a set of conditions that previously existed is the root of intolerance. I do not want to breed that.

My favorite writing of Thich Nhat Ahn is the one about how if we love our enemies, we begin to understand them, and then they are no longer our enemies.

This is a good practice. When I feel misunderstood as I have, I ask whether I have given someone a chance to understand. I can't control whether they have the initiative to try to understand, but I can be present if they do.

At December 10, 2007 12:23 AM, Anonymous FearlessHeart said...

"Blue" is one of the greatest albums ever made and "River" is one of the best ballads ever written in the English language, right up there with 52VBL ("1952 Vincent Black Lightning" for the uninitiated..)

BTW, I HOPE that you plan to see "Three Girls and their Buddy" when they play Cleveland in January, right? I expect that tickets will go fast... No one who follows American roots music (in any form) should miss this show.

(Shawn Colvin, Patti Griffin and Emmylou Harris with Buddy Miller)

At December 10, 2007 6:58 AM, Blogger Mando Mama said...

Hi Fearless!
Hey,I didn't know about that show (been kind of under a rock lately). When and where is it? Wow, Emmylou and friends is cool, but Buddy Miller?!

Driving home from errands last night and feeling kind of crummy I needed a tune, and would you believe, I picked 52VBL. I bet someone's tried to put that on vanity plates more than once. Then again people can't even figure out ALL4PKN.

Hope you and your crew are doing well.


At December 10, 2007 9:57 AM, Blogger Blueberry said...

River: such a good song about Christmas, especially for those of us who struggle with the holiday. Here's wishing you more of those "hot bath and awesome sandwich" moments during the next few weeks. I know I am grinding my gears trying to change them, and not just for the holiday, for the future.

At December 10, 2007 10:15 PM, Blogger Mando Mama said...

O! that you might give yourself a break. Stepping outside the situation and looking in and saying, "Why is that person killing herself over this?" can be pretty helpful. Just wanting to do it and giving yourself the permission to do it will make a difference. What a good present to yourself.

I did indeed have another one of those moments today, minus the hot bath but substitute a beautiful bowl of Japanese noodle soup and good company. Everyone needs simple pleasures like that.


At December 12, 2007 4:17 AM, Anonymous Fearless heart said...

Three Girls And Their Buddy Tour
(Featuring Emmylou Harris, Patty Griffin, Shawn Colvin and Buddy Miller)

January 11, 2008 - Chattanooga, TN (Tivoli Theater)
January 12, 2008 - Knoxville, TN (Tennessee Theater) tickets on sale 12/7/07 10am
January 14, 2008 - Chapel Hill, NC (Memorial Hall)
January 15, 2008 - Asheville, NC (Thomas Wolfe Auditorium) tickets on sale 11/30/07 at 10am
January 17, 2008 - Roanoke, VA (Roanoke PAC) tickets on sale 12/01/07 at noon
January 18, 2008 - Indianapolis, IN (Clowes Hall) tickets on sale 12/07/07 at 10am
January 19, 2008 - Milwaukee, WI (Pabst Theater) tickets on sale 11/30/07 at noon
January 20, 2008 - Lexington, KY (Singletary Theater)
January 22, 2008 - Athens, OH (Ohio U Templeton-Blackburn)tickets on sale 12/08/07 at 10am
January 24, 2008 - Cleveland, OH (Allen Theater)
January 25, 2008 - Pittsburgh, PA (Carnegie Music Hall) ticlets on sale 12/07/07 at noon
January 26. 2008 - Ann Arbor,MI (Folk Fest) tickets on sale 12/03/07 10am Ticketmaster, 9am MI Union Ticket Office 734-763-TKTS

At December 12, 2007 6:01 PM, Blogger Janice said...

You picked an amazing song--one of my five-star favorites that brings tears to my eyes every time. I'm sorry that you're feeling kind of disoriented and hope that passes ... or at least that you can stay peaceful with it. Hugs to you.

At December 12, 2007 11:44 PM, Blogger Mando Mama said...

Hi Janice,
Thanks. It's been a busy and rough few weeks, but not altogether awful. And the parts that were awful were not necessarily anything I can control. I do seem to be having a little trouble with respect to my status as Biological Mother. There are a million websites and resources dedicated to the Blending Family, but none for Innocent Bystanding Biological Mothers With Legitimate Concerns. Thinking about what I might have to pay my lawyer is kind of a Bah Humbug notion, but taking from others the fun in treating me like crap would make for A Wonderful Life.

Ho ho ho!


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