With my Sunday supper bubbling in the oven, I guess it’s time to call it: I crashed into walls the entire weekend. Yesterday I wrote and read and forgot everything I remembered. On the way to dinner, I ran into two different friends and couldn’t recall their names or even how I knew them. Today I went to Meg to fetch a pair of pants I’d specially ordered and realized they simply weren’t for me. I ran for the ferry only to arrive as it was pulling away from the dock. I left my bag at the 1st Avenue L stop, and dashed back from Brooklyn just in time to catch two guys rifling through it across the platform. “Gentlemen!” I called across the divide. “Do you mind watching my bag until I can get back to your side?” They pointedly looked away when I arrived in front of them, red-faced and panting with my hand outstretched, but handed it over.
It didn’t matter, any of it. I got home in time to make the lasagna I’d planned. I eventually remembered who my friends were. And my bag still contained the purple scarf I made the winter I couldn’t stop knitting, the long fingerless gloves that make me feel like Jo March, the notes from today’s session with brilliant astrologer and general wise lady Virginia Bell.
I see her every twelve months, and learn so much more about astrology than I ever knew I did not know. She told me I could expect a cloudiness this year–that Saturn was conjuncting Venus in my 12th house, which is the house of the unconscious and is ruled by Neptune, that planet of inspiration, intuition, and, yes, confusion. I love Saturn–it’s all about toil and lessons, and it rules my sun sign of obsessively hard-working Capricorn. But when Saturn bumps against Neptune (and they’re squaring each other in everyone’s charts right now), it’s an oddbot, uncomfortable intersection. On one hand, it leads us to callings rather than mere J-O-Bs because Saturn is driven to realize Neptune’s visions. On the other hand, it’s hard to keep noses to the grindstone when heads are bobbing in the clouds.
Case in point: When I couldn’t sleep last night, I found myself making a music mix entitled “Hard Times & Other Double Entendre” as if I were taking dictation. Among the selections: Nina Simone’s “New World Coming,” Aretha Franklin’s “Prove It,” Beyoncé, Wyclef Jean and Rah Digga’s “Cards Never Lie,” Mary J Blige’s “Hard Times Come Again No More,” De La Soul’s “Who Do U Worship,” The Minutemen’s “Life Is the Theater of You,” Tessa Thompson’s “Shed You,” Erykah Badu’s “Phone Down,” and Van Morrison’s “Take Me Back,” which I have been obsessed with ever since Jennifer Jason Leigh butchered it in 1995’s ragged, terrifying, and brilliant “Georgia.”
When I missed the ferry today, I shook off my annoyance and turned on the mix as I walked downtown by the East River. I climbed under the railing and puttered at the small beach at 23rd street that’s probably been there longer than the city has. I eyed the rotting wood of the docks and wondered about the seamen of other centuries who worked there. Every era of New York seemed to coexist right then, as if I only had to turn a corner to find a horse and buggy, or a 2217 teenager teleporting in a device we can’t imagine yet. Big sky, big water, and big sun changed from steel to orange to violet to indigo as Van Morrison sang in my ear:
I’ve been walking down by the river/I’ve been feeling so sad and blue/
I’ve been thinking/I’ve been suffering/ And it’s too much confusion/Take me back to when the world made more sense
Forget chronos, baby. Right now life is running on kairos, which is also called soul time because it only progresses at the speed of our souls’ evolutions. Everything is happening at once, coincidences are not coincidences, hard work is hard dreaming, and I’m into it. To paraphrase Hawthorne when Fuller declared her acceptance of the universe: “I better be.”