I had a lover’s quarrel with the world.
“In retrospect, this seems to summarize all the insanity of that time. Guy is standing on top of a burning building. Helicopter arrives, hovers, drops a rope ladder. Climb up! the man leaning out of the helicopter’s door shouts. Guy on top of burning building responds, Give me two weeks to think about it.”
Stephen King, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft
Leave it to me to get exactly what I asked for . . . and then be confounded by the answer. How long had I whined: I don’t want to teach anymore . . . I want to stay home and grow things and write things and cook things. Long enough that the echo of it is still haunting me. And: I cast for it. Stood right there in my corn field and threw my hands into the night sky and did what any real witch would do. I simply said: GO. Not: go, but only if it’s a Tuesday and I am wearing polka dots. Not: go, but around this corner, then stop here. No, no, no. I know better than that. Energy truly understands only one command and everything else clusterf***s the system. And so, I knew that real magic meant real risk.
Does this mean I didn’t sit my ass down and think first? No . . . I’ve learned (especially in the last two years) to think very long and hard about these things. To not be so damned impulsive, so ludicrously careless. As an Aries, it’s no wonder I was almost fifty when these lessons finally sunk in to my bones. It was wondrous for me to find that the thinking part was a magical process, in and of itself! If it was worth doing, it could wait until the time was right . . . reminds me of waiting for a good wine to “peak,” a process that can and does often take decades. My favorite moment from Sideways (a movie I both detest and adore, strangely) is thus:
How it’s a living thing. I like to think about what was going on the year the grapes were growing; how the sun was shining; if it rained. I like to think about all the people who tended and picked the grapes. And if it’s an old wine, how many of them must be dead by now. I like how wine continues to evolve, like if I opened a bottle of wine today it would taste different than if I’d opened it on any other day, because a bottle of wine is actually alive. And it’s constantly evolving and gaining complexity. That is, until it peaks, like your ’61. And then it begins its steady, inevitable decline. Sideways 2004
And this is all true. Except . . . if it’s taken in, all that sunshine and love and work, right into the blood stream of just the right human on just the right day, where it continues to breathe. Demise, halted. Life, continued. This was where I was, that fall eve. Uncorking a wine that I had crafted . . . and I drank the whole blessed thing in bare feet under the stars.
But, as we do, I then went about the earthly business of washing dishes, crafting stews, mending ends and (depending upon the day) fighting with/having sex with my husband. Like you do. Time marched on. One day, I won an award where I worked–an event that my numerous students celebrated–the next day? I was done. (As a Southerner, I know the rules about discussing the ins and outs of this on social media. Let’s say that it was inevitable, considering the evolution of our department, and that I had a little *push.* Can’t thank that moment, enough.) Was it fair/ethical/legal? Nope, nope, nope. But laws, was it ever fortuitous. And the wine was alive in my blood.
Now, I’m not saying that I haven’t ached over this loss/gain. Some days, I wake up and sob, blame others, rail and rant like a chicken without a head. But, others? I remember that this is the risk I took that day in the corn. The muggle in me wants justice. The witch in me is dancing nekkid in victory.
Let’s hope the latter whoops the former’s ungrateful ass.
Because this is what I asked for, and ultimate justice is a life lived well. Bogging my old heart down in revenge and gnashing at the result only resonates as a lack of gratitude to my Big Momma, Mother Goddess and constant teacher. Because in the end?
I reconnected with old friends, rejuvenated my passion for my husband, found out what I was made of and grew a backbone. My Tribe became stronger, my time became more meaningful and . . . I started reading again. (A big deal. I gave it up after my doctorate.) As a bonus, I am now reconnecting with the Pagan community after a long hiatus of discord and fracture–a necessary step that I had resisted for way too long–in hopes of leaving a healthy legacy for my son and Tribe. And, finally after dreaming for five years, I have started a business that feeds my soul and my table.
But more than anything: I am becoming again. Nothing major or earth-shattering, just this slow, purposeful awakening into the baby Crone I have always seen just around the corner. I finally know where my lines in the sand lie–but more importantly–how to clearly mark them out for others before it’s too late.
In the end? I found myself. The road led all around the world and landed right smack back at my own front door. And I am so glad to be home.
I guess many of us think of magic as if we were watching a cinematic, special-effects topography of our lives. Nothing could be further from the truth, really. It’s more about what we are willing to lose, how serious we are about the gain and how present we are willing to be when we get what we asked for–or at least, that’s what I have reckoned. Because this is the exact and direct result of my cast, I know better than to blame Karma or Fate. Those two have already had their way with me, and we’ve recently had a cup of coffee and reviewed one or two things. Funny, isn’t it? How some folks refuse to own their own “magical children” when they arrive, all bruised and battered at the front door. I used to be one of those folks–but no more. I know all too well the consequences of refusing responsibility.
And, recently, I have finally learned the benefits of drinking my own wine. There are moments, notes of sun and pain, laughter and work, spice and fruit. It is magical, all on its own. So Mote It Be.
(Somehow, my Southern voice didn’t want to play today. Not sure what that’s about. But I’ve learned to listen to my gut.)