Land-locked Mermaid

Yesterday could only be described as a bad day. Nothing terrible happened, but dread won the race–I couldn’t see the forest so couldn’t write the trees.

Writing a book is different from writing the short pieces that have been my professional mainstay. Every piece needs to fit into a bigger puzzle and some days I can’t tell if something is too jagged or too smooth to lock into anything else. Yesterday was like that, and also it was raining. At first the best I could do was eat a lot of buttered popcorn and watch old movies. This was not going to pay the bills but it did remind me how my last career happened. Eventually I went for a walk and started listening. I remembered it was Ella’s birthday, and swooned over her unwavering faith. I fetched my books on hold from the library, and fell into James Merrill’s literary ouija board with an old-money teacup (The Changing Light of Sandover). I sat with Grace, who did reiki while I read.

But I never really found my way.

Here’s to sunshine today–sunshine and faith. It is, after all, the season of Taurus, which is all about slow pleasures, deep roots, radical receptivity. It is the sign of Mother Mary, who reminded us to keep showing up wherever we are. It is the sign of Adrienne Rich, who told us

This is the place/And I am here, the mermaid whose dark hair/streams black…We are, I am, you are/by cowardice or courage/the ones who find our way/back to this scene/carrying a knife, a camera/a book of myths/in which/our names do not appear.

Taurus is not for finding the forest. It is for digging in the soil. Even the mermaids live on land this time of year.

Illustrations: Trina Schart Hyman.

"All, everything I understand, I understand only because I love."
― Leo Tolstoy