Happy eight (8!) month birthday to my little birdie, Wren Sabina! Every time Wren gets a month older, I think, “Woah! How time flies!” I know, I know. Everyone says that, but the thing is… it really is true. Time is picking up speed. While some days–and especially, nights–feel like they take forever, my weeks have been zooming by. So today in yoga, my teacher reminded us to “be where you are” in our yoga practice and this really hit home on so many levels.
Today it’s 40, drizzling and just plain yucky. It’s been like this off and on for about a week. I would really rather not be here when it’s like this. Costa Rica? Let me think about it for a minute… OK! Alas, I am here. At least physically I’m here. But I’m trying to be more present in other ways too. Spending all your time with a baby helps because babies are so damn zen without even trying. They don’t seem to be bothered by the dreariness or general malaise of winter life near the 45th parallel. In fact, when there was sun to be had this week, Wren kept trying to avoid it. Too bright! Babies don’t worry about what happened or didn’t happen yesterday or what might happen tomorrow. Babies are present in the present. (Dogs are like this too – I think that’s why I like them so much.) For a 17-lb person, Wren sure has a strong life force. And you ought to hear her crunch oyster crackers without any teeth! Amazing! But I digress. See what I mean about staying in the present? Oof.
Someone once told me that part of being in the present IS planning for the future. Now this I can swallow. Cadbury Eggs, sprinklers and flip-flops in the stores already? Not so much.
While I wrestle (are you ready to rumble?!) with this idea of planning for the future and being mindful of where I am, I find myself thumbing through seed catalogs… I’m planning on creating two raised bed vegetable gardens this spring in a super sunny patch on the southern edge of the catalpa tree shadow. There’s a really cool tool on Gardener’s Supply, which allows you to play around with different kitchen garden layouts. If you’re not going to Costa Rica either, this might give you a much-needed escape. I also recommend some Malibu rum and orange juice.
And for all of us who have a tendency to live in the past from time to time, here’s my favorite Billy Collins poem. Because poetry, like yoga and babies, help to keep us mindful of the here and now…
Remember the 1340’s? We were doing a dance called the Catapult.
You always wore brown, the color craze of the decade,
and I was draped in one of those capes that were popular,
the ones with unicorns and pomegranates in needlework.
Everyone would pause for beer and onions in the afternoon,
and at night we would play a game called “Find the Cow.”
Everything was hand-lettered then, not like today.
Where has the summer of 1572 gone? Brocade and sonnet
marathons were the rage. We used to dress up in the flags
of rival baronies and conquer one another in cold rooms of stone.
Out on the dance floor we were all doing the Struggle
while your sister practiced the Daphne all alone in her room.
We borrowed the jargon of farriers for our slang.
These days language seems transparent a badly broken code.
The 1790’s will never come again. Childhood was big.
People would take walks to the very tops of hills
and write down what they saw in their journals without speaking.
Our collars were high and our hats were extremely soft.
We would surprise each other with alphabets made of twigs.
It was a wonderful time to be alive, or even dead.
I am very fond of the period between 1815 and 1821.
Europe trembled while we sat still for our portraits.
And I would love to return to 1901 if only for a moment,
time enough to wind up a music box and do a few dance steps,
or shoot me back to 1922 or 1941, or at least let me
recapture the serenity of last month when we picked
berries and glided through afternoons in a canoe.
Even this morning would be an improvement over the present.
I was in the garden then, surrounded by the hum of bees
and the Latin names of flowers, watching the early light
flash off the slanted windows of the greenhouse
and silver the limbs on the rows of dark hemlocks.
As usual, I was thinking about the moments of the past,
letting my memory rush over them like water
rushing over the stones on the bottom of a stream.
I was even thinking a little about the future, that place
where people are doing a dance we cannot imagine,
a dance whose name we can only guess.
- I’ve been a bit out of sorts lately because Wren seems to think that sleep, both day and night, is pretty overrated. After a bit of Internet research, I’ve learned that this can be an indication that one’s child is “gifted.” Gifted in what, I wondered? Gifted in being awake all the time? Great.
- Orange is my favorite color today.
- I’m a bit worried that Wren might not know her real name because I call her by so many nicknames. Most of the time, I refer to her as “Doodles.” This comes from her other nickname “Wrenski Doodleski,” which I have since shortened to simply, “Doodles.” For the record, I do know it’s supposed to be “Wrenska,” but it doesn’t have the same ring to it.