Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Table Rock and Miss M

November 1 and a feel of shorter days makes us push to squeeze in any bit of activity before the winter darkness descends to stay. Due to the wildly strange summer weather, there was next to no fishing and the bass boat never left the yard this year. With rain in the forecast for tomorrow and a sunny 72 on tap for today, we went to Table Rock Lake. Late fall makes for good times because the lake is nearly deserted and the quiet is heavenly. Today the gusting breeze was a factor but we tolerated it, watching the leaves sail down and hit the brilliance of wind-blown water. The trees were hues of sienna, tobacco, and ochre with occasional dashes of tangerine. Shortened sun rays were warm but not piercing. I felt like a bear at a honey tree stoking up for hibernation, only my substance was sun and fresh air.

It was a perfect day to start re-reading Two-Part Intervention (by Madeleine L'Engle) while DH caught and released. It had been years since I had been between the book’s covers, and the story read like it was next to new. The parts I knew were like meeting an old friend for conversation and a picnic lunch at the lake. I saw I had underlined passages, and I found they were ones I would want to mark again. The years might put a different touch on them for me in some cases though.

The first favorite lines were describing reading in her childhood. “…that interior dream world has stood me in good stead many times when the outer world has seemed to be collapsing around me.” Miss M captured my own feeling to a T! I grew up in a village-sized town where sports was the end all, but I had Sydenham’s Chorea as a child and was not allowed to run, jump, and cavort. My recesses were spent with a thermometer in my mouth followed by sitting for a rousing game of jacks. Once I could run…well, I was NO runner. I found a world in books where I could do and be all I wanted.

Childhood followed by adolescence…Miss M’s take: “…no adolescence is lived through without pain.” Again true words. I was thinking about such things this weekend because I was digging deep into the past while cleaning trunks and closets. I have been thinking about such work here, but earlier in the week as we began the horrendous job of tearing down of the in-laws family farm, I knew I had to do this at home for my own children’s sake. One thing that got tossed was school letters; no one wanted them. Yet, years ago for all of us, those letters and the gold bars on them meant achievement, success, recognition. Wow, they were so important then, and sometimes there were both physical and emotional pain in getting or not getting those gold bars. Now they were tossed away, meaningless.

Miss M felt one important thing she learned was “…the artist is not separate from the work and therefore cannot judge it.” This resonated more with me now as I have been writing and publishing more. I see it in the critiquing groups at guild meetings too. All of us, write what we think it good, is working, is our best. We cannot separate ourselves from the work and see it objectively.

I can see that without the wind in my face and sun reflecting off the water, this book will read fast. I got through more than three chapters which included a lot of thinking. Like Miss M, I too was very naïve as a young girl…ah, make that most of my entire life. I, too, put myself in some risky situations out of ignorance. I guess there really must be some Guardian Angels for people like Miss M and me. I think I can hear mine groan!

One new phrase I underlined today was “part of my deepening” when Miss M referred to her piano and visits to a favorite church just to sit as a young woman. I like this phrase and will think about it for a few days. I hate losing the naïve person I was because she was sweet and good after all. I don’t want to let cynical thoughts and actions take over…to be a cranky old lady…in fact, I think I want not to age but to “deepen” in my life!

What about you?


Susan said...

Oh Claudia, that lakes is so beautiful. Glad you got to sit and relax.

As for your question, I want to remain in the moment, try to let go of worry (and let God), and be peaceful. Life is too short to be filled with resentments and misery. There are so many fabulous parts of life. Those are the ones I want to concentrate on. Susan

Linda O'Connell said...

As I age, I want less drama, and more peace and calm. Walking around a lake or being near any body of water does it for me. I know how precious your day was.