there is no way this might end up –
of rain and leaves
big old pile
of blackberry vines
with prayer flags and trellises
laced between them
scorched and fecund
the replacement blanket
the end of a book
spice whiskey sunset
going down past equinoctal
finally. the balance tipping
The Replacement Blanket
Last August, when the perseids were shooting firecrackers of light across the black bowl, I tucked some friends in at 3am, an act of love made with my favorite brown blanket. They were sleeping sitting up, leaning toward each other on the bench seat from the Yogoman Burning Band’s van, which we’d extricated and placed out on the grass by the merch tent. A Jamboree isn’t complete without an all-nighter, I was reconciled to watch them sleep while I watched the stars. I soon met a man under the meteors who sparked my heart back into life, and we dove into the universal questions. Old friends came by, fresh from the campfires, and we wandered off to greet the dawn – another Joyboree occurring, sharing a cobbled breakfast as the light faded into the forbidden kitchen.
It was glorious, and when I returned to the bench seat the friends were gone, the blanket too. I curled up for two sweet hours of sleep and stumbled into morning just barely. I mourned the loss of my blanket, not enough coffee to shake the shaken feeling. The disappeared friends felt terrible, one of them couldn’t remember in those wee hours, what had become of their shoes, let alone the blanket. The other stopped me, fairly far into the day, when the camps and cars had vanished from the field,
and the recycling bins stood at sentry one after another, full of the weekend’s celebration
and the bags of garbage and the steel poles of the tents dissembled in straight lines
and all of us sun weary and worked out, but still working,
to point out a heap of blanket in the field where the stage was coming down. He retrieved it for me: a handmade patchwork quilt, heavy and damp with the overnight dew. He said: “I thought of you. I prayed that we might find your blanket and I think this might be it.”
I brought it home, strung it out on the line to dry, stared at it as if coming to know a new friend. Trying to understand what I was seeing. All winter the replacement blanket wrapped my lap on the front porch in the rocking chair, we became intimate.
The man I never saw again, the friends I’ve hardly seen since. The blanket and I got cozy and it will stand in for the mysterious loss. The objects that go – stolen or wandered off on their own – they are like pets buried in the side yard of my heart, even when I can barely see them in my mind’s eye they are with me, in spirit.
The Other Shoes
So too it is with shoes, there is a closet in my mind, where my doc martens and Birkenstocks dwell, where the dagger pointed flats and the black converse high tops rest.
So when my trusty steeds, the $2.99 goodwill boots from a MV biker days sale 3 years ago, lost boot footing from heel on the morning of a public event, I mourned the life of them. Then I resolved myself, with that sinking feeling you get when you are called by something you wouldn’t otherwise choose, and I headed to the mall.
I needed to be there anyways, no excuse for cheap china shoes will do, but I did find myself with minutes to spare, and an unwieldy family ahead of me in line at my errand destination, and so the sears clearance spree ensued.
I found two pairs of spiked heel boots, on black one grey, and sized up my ankles in the little bench seat mirrors: definitely weird. All the other options were slipper like, not appropriate for the stool onstage during a panel conversation. I took a deep breath and brought them to the counter, flopping on my broken heel past the jewelry to the front.
I changed shoes during the transaction, oh if mr rogers could see me now, and set about mincing gingerly down the mall hallway in new heels to my original destination. the children’s museum, to retrieve my phone, lost in a bag of food packaging that I’d donated to their market display. oh the mysteries of objects, the way a loss promotes action. the old unsmart phone, untrackable. I’m in the interim now, on track to smart technology, and I still want the object returned – I need the resolution.
By the time the night arrives I am striding in the heels, centered and grounded through the heels, paying attention, getting to know, becoming friendly. A new shape emerges from the shifting – these other shoes call it forth. So life is a dance of loss and the shape the loss takes, and the fire of new burning through that space, emptied out and clear shining, like dawn fading into a room.