Sunday, April 19, 2020

Talking to Myself Eighteen

Sunrise at Jordan Lake earlier this month by Doc Ellen, DVM.

Talking to Myself Eighteen April 19, 2020

Is this my eternal life, wearing a boot
to protect fragile toe bones while they
heal? Sleeping with one foot under 
the covers and one on top? Using a
borrowed walker to move from the
couch to the kitchen and to my
computer and writing chair; staring 
at the trees outside, watching the 
chickens cultivate the backyard
and where our garden was? Only 
blackberry vines now. We had the
perennials: daffodils, violets, and
now the white iris. In front, forsythia
and hydrangea, daylily leaves, and
next door the remains of our champion
black oak, finally on the ground, 
tangled in chickweed. Tim brings
in eggs laid among the bicycles
under a tarp The wilderness has
jumped the fence, but the grape
vines again run over the top
of the chicken run. They run over
the fig trees, too. It doesn’t bode
well for tomatoes and zinnias.
Emails from friends: “How
are you?” “Still healthy, broke 
some toes, but they’re healing 
slowly.” I write about my life,
remember when I kept our
baby writers’ network afloat,
when I influenced the National
Endowment panel to keep the
required number of books 
published to two, instead of 
increasing it to ten. I told them: 
“We have no household budget.”
I lived then in subsidized housing,
got food stamps. Janet comes,
and we reminisce about our losses 
and hardships and our small, but 
persistent, victories. I didn’t get 
the grant I tried for, so I said
we’d have a conference for 
women’s stories. Six hundred
women came, and I told them
their writing was important. We
called it “Tell Me a Story That’s True.”
I still believe, with Muriel Ruykheiser,
“If one woman told the whole story
of her life, the world would split
open.”I’m still working on it.

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