Monday, January 03, 2005

This may be the very first time in my personal history that New Year's Eve lived up to its promise.

I can't remember a time when I felt so warm and cherished and sheltered ... and even now ... I'm not sure why that is... .

Drove home through a rainstorm on Sunday morning. It was like a curtain descending on an implausible vignette written by some unknown romantic and acted out by two unlikely character actors. Strange.

There was no preamble; a sketchy introduction; and, so many obstacles to overcome that upon arriving home yesterday I found myself unable to escape the feeling that -- at least for a few months -- my life will be lived in disconnected fragments with little continuity or reason. There will be isolated events with neither of us wanting to think of tomorrow or the day after. It comes with living in these years -- this bonus period when leftover life has to be ad libbed. It will be a period of now.

Almost no sleep last night. Lots of wide awake wonderings as if the forefront of my thoughts had been concealing those things that were giving energy to this friendship and that -- once quiet -- the new reality revealed itself from somewhere just beneath conscious level -- where the emotions reside waiting to be evoked by events.

There were suddenly tears. Climbed out of bed and turned the light on. Insight. I'd begun to feel the world drop away on the drive north -- somewhere in the passage through the redwood forest -- I was listening to a Sarah Vaughn Brazilian song from a CD I'd thought to bring along. I didn't know then just what I was driving toward. But something was in a state of change. I had no idea what that might be.

And, I didn't know that I'd lost it until it was being restored ... .

It has been many years since I've felt safe; totally, unconditionally, safe.

I'd lost any sense of just how frightened I've been over a very long time; many years. As I reached the place where Highway 128 morphs into Highway 1 and the ocean comes into view on that narrow stretch high atop cliffs that hang over the ocean, I could feel myself (paradoxically) driving into a "safe" place. Five miles further, when I turned into the private road leading to my destination, I could literally feel my jaws relax, the tautness in the muscles of my thighs give way to an easiness as I drove over the last speed bumps and my leg lifted lightly moving from gas to brake. I again felt the lightness as I turned into the driveway -- and then remembered that I'd left the overnight bag I'd packed for the weekend sitting on the bedroom floor back in Richmond! I would spend the weekend -- not in the lovely Indian dress I'd planned for the occasion, but in borrowed pajamas. The "best laid plans" are sometimes best laid aside. Maybe the need to improvise helped to break up predictability and freed inhibitions... .

Over many years, I've very clearly desensitized myself to the very real physical dangers I've had to confront daily in order to "do the work." And there's been a cost, I suppose, one that I've been paying without fully understanding it. I'm not aure that I do even now.

It's only in the absence of that fear that I'm learning that it was there all the time. Maybe I've been living my life much as those frogs who -- when placed in cool water and allowed to heat beyond endurance lack the will to hop out of the pot. Maybe it's like that.

But after returning home, last night as I re-played the weekend, the absence of the fear left a disturbing vacuum, a vulnerability which brought tears of relief. But now that I know that I'm afraid, what will happen to me? Will I be defenseless and live in quiet panic? Can I still "do the work"?

And what is there about this man -- who suffers such profound frailties of his own, yet radiates at least the illusion of protection and support? The years have been so much kinder to me, yet it is his kindness and warmth that seems to form a shield -- that and the endless expanse of the sea and sky from his window wall -- that minimized all that lies before it.

They say that the earth's rotation has been changed by the earthquake and tsunami in the south seas... .

Could be... .

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