Back in SF now. Hanging around in Minneapolis was beginning to feel a little too morbid, i.e. writer-as-vulture, so after a three and a half hour delay at the Minneapolis airport I land in a drizzly, dark San Francisco, happy to be home.
The first thing Bearbait says as I hug him at the baggage claim is “I see you’ve been eating.”
Pause for gasp of betrayal. Bitch.
You try sitting around a house in ten degree weather while a never-ending procession of family, friends and neighbors drop off food rich in carbs and sugar, I want to say.
Instead I let it simmer on my backstove for awhile, and ask him to take me to The Ex’s, where Louie’s been staying. It’s good to see my dog again. Traversing the terrain I have lately, it’s been lonely without companionship.
Monday I go into work and pretend that I care for awhile, slowly digging through the pile that has accumulated on my desk. I’m getting wanderlust, and the trip to Mpls only made it worse. I daydream about packing up a car with Louie and driving through parts of America I’ve never seen, camping along the way. I never really picture anyone with me, simply because everyone I know has to work for a living. Including me. I burn a bit, wishing America would carve a little place for grieving out of its shape. America, Open for Business. Indeed.
Last night the Tattooed Monk, some friends and I go out to Green Gulch Farm, a Zen Center off of Highway 1 on the way to Stinson Beach. It was a beautiful place, tucked down amid the trees near the ocean. A couple hundred people gathered in the meditation hall for what I’ve never done; a four-hour sitting meditation before midnight. Luckily it was divided up by segments of 25 minutes, followed by small breaks. At ten we broke for a quick meal of noodles and miso soup, then took lotus candles (colored tissue folded around a floating candle), and set them adrift in the pond outside the meditation hall. Very California, I know, but it was kind of perfect for where my head was lingering.
After the final hours of meditation, we gather around a bonfire outside, and people throw scraps of paper into the flames, upon which are written dreams or fears. I scribble something about my mom’s suffering, and about wanting clarity for my direction in life, and it burns quickly with the others.
Before I left Minneapolis, I sat with Mom alone for a bit. I told her that I was glad she was doing better, that she’d see the New Year and a bit more of life. “But I know it must be frustrating being trapped in this body, and if you want to go, I want you to know that it’s okay, you can go if I’m not here, and I’ll be okay,” which may or may not have been very convincing, as I cried throughout. She reached out her weak, stickly arms and I pulled them around me for a bit.