I was stuck on an interminable Amtrak ride yesterday, surrounded by fussy kids. In those situations as in so many others, children are basically tiny drunks. I love my god daughters and respect others’ choice to, uh, perpetuate their lines but lordylordylordy: I had that feeling. The “Hear my spinster cry of freedom!” feeling. I tried not to roar, amused myself instead by dropping fat winks without smiling at the screaming children. Most of them got so freaked that they stopped their tomfoolery at least temporarily. (It takes a special sort of person to recognize the secret communion offered by a wink between generations.)
The universe being the gorgeous creature that it is, the flip side of that anti-child sentiment came flying toward me today as I was walking down Massachusett’s Minuteman lane. Streaming braids, ladybug helmet, bright yellow bicycle, scabby knees, the works. I gave this ladychild a huge smile on account of how much I loved her and she rewarded me with a bashful, gap-toothed smile of her own. Just then Joni’s “I met a friend of spirit” lyric popped on myPod shuffle.
It all reminded me of two stanzas from a Robert Haas poem that a good beau had sent me a few years ago:
The woman I love is greedy, but she refuses greed. She walks so straightly. When I ask her what she wants, she says, “A yellow bicycle.” * Sun, sunflower, coltsfoot on the roadside, a goldfinch, the sign that says Yield, her hair, cat’s eyes, his hunger and a yellow bicycle.
This in turn reminded me of a beau I’d loved more than I’ve loved anybody, one who gave me a beautiful yellow bike but broke my heart maybe on purpose. I beamed him love–equally beautiful, equally yellow–because for once I felt big enough to do so, and the words I’d been holding back from my book started pouring out. I hastened back to my godfamily’s home and opened my laptop in their backyard with many green breezes.
Nothing’s better than stepping back into the flow of life. Just nothing.
People say they’re going “off the grid” all the time and I just roll my eyes. Usually it means they won’t be posting on social media and checking their phones quite as obsessively. Occasionally it means they’re going camping or to the sea—what in the olden days we called “going on vacation.” But when I do Ruby Intuition readings, I go off the grid whether I like it or not. Real Carrie shite is the norm–lightbulbs pop, technology fritzes, brand-new batteries die, possessions mysteriously disappear. Sometimes I can’t remember close friends’ names. Sometimes I can’t remember my own name. I don’t even try to make plans on those days anymore, because I am never equipped to keep them.
I get it, I really do. I can’t have my cake and eat it too. Which is to say: I can’t blithely tap into the biggest energy source of them all and simultaneously rely on its pale substitutes. Usually by the time I finish readings, I barely remember I have a body, let alone that I live on planet Earth. I have been returned from somewhere I can’t quite explain, somewhere that glows with an entirely different quality of light, and I need sleep and food and drink and physical contact (preferably sex) to re-enter the allegedly real world of Ben Affleck gossip and political polarities and why-haven’t-you-already-responded-to-the-email-I-sent-three-minutes-ago? Electricity and grids are extremely relative.