The World says we are done until we start over.
Well at this point the sumac looks dead but sources say that’s just fine the first year. Next fall, the red should show up, the roots should take hold. I am good with the wait. I’m excited to see it and possibly have something to say to it by then. You are welcome to come look. You are welcome to come bury parts of yourself in the same ravine. You are welcome to come take cuttings of the vines which are now wrapping themselves in and out of the fence, or twirl around in colors you’ve never worn before. You are welcome to bleed lines off the page for 100 days straight. Maybe someone will see them and make something new out of them. Maybe you will shed something, lose some things, take a new job, dye your garments crimson, fill up a space. I am telling you right now that we just keep going.
The World says it always starts over but this time you know more, each time you know more.
By Peggy Draheim. I don’t know what she titled it but I’m calling it “How Right Now Feels.” Comes see it as part of “Art Works Over Five Decades: A Retrospective by Peggy Draheim,” through August 24 at the Arts Center of Saint Peter.
The Judgment card says it’s best to know what you’re doing but even if you don’t there is such thing as midcourse correction.
By now I’m on my third round of cutting vines from around the yard, putting them in water to root, then planting them around the fence. (Planting was another thing I did in the wake of the most ekphrastic hysterectomy in human history.) Third round because the first two were failures. I had planned to wing it without reading up in advance, for fun, but that didn’t work and left me with a large fence full of dead sticks and wilted leaves. Turns out you need to cut the bottoms with a sharp blade, wound the buds, give them time and water to recover from shock, then plant. But you can still space things out based only on where you think the vines will look good, where they seem to want to be, where you think South is.
The Judgment card says gather data but then actually truly trust your intuition and your sense of style as valid decision-making tools, and go ahead and stick stuff in the ground.
The Sun says drop everything and find your thing, especially on days you’re technically scheduled to do otherwise.
I don’t know if you’ve ever killed time decorating a chain-link fence with strips of fabric, preferably whole bolts of it on clearance, but I recommend it. Not just because the results are visually glorious and serve as some kind of daily weather indicator — sun-fading, precipitation, obviously wind — but also because the act of tearing of fabric is some intense pleasure. I will go so far as to call it joy. The physical act of it will leave you sore in the shoulders and chest which I mean you can’t help but feel your literal heart widen after an afternoon of that. The noise of the tearing is equal parts violent and soothing. I recommend satiny fabric, for maximum satisfaction. Also I ultimately feel like this is a service to birds, as in, next spring there will be plenty of shiny fibers for them to harvest for nest material.
The Sun says spend time in joy, senseless joy, whatever it is you have access to right now that gives you the same feeling as when you were a kid and absolutely did not want to come inside at the risk of peeing your pants out there digging in the dirt or whatever. Find your right-now equivalent and spend time in that zone. It is not senseless. It keeps bothersome parts of you quiet, and good parts of you will wake up because of it. Find your thing and hide if you have to but definitely do that thing.
The Moon says, oooooh. Hello and welcome.
Back to the burial. As soon as I opened the tub and stuck my hand inside, the rest of the world roared and promptly disappeared. It was all blurry except for what I pulled out piece by piece and laid out on the leaves Scott had made up as a mat. The Histology people had told me it wouldn’t be in one single piece and they were really very right. There were maybe nine pieces, or so. The colors were amazing. The colors were the main way we figured out how to put it back together.
At the bottom, guessing this was the cervix, was a disc or cup of really lovely ivory, like a mussel or a large soft tooth. It practically glowed. The uterus was surprisingly pale, muscular, tiny. The whole assemblage was maybe half the size of my fist. The tubes were delicate and coiled and ridged on the ends, like things about to unfurl. The connector piece between what we figured was the cervix and the rest of it, that was the killer. Honestly I don’t know what it was, maybe there’s not a name for it, like it’s just gradations of color. I don’t care, I’m not looking it up. It was gorgeous. It was pinkish and streaked with the finest lines of red. They might have been actual ridges, not just lines, but honestly everything was so small and also somewhat slippery due to the 50% alcohol, it was hard to get a sense of texture.
When we were done, when there were no pieces left in the tub, I took a good long look. Seriously it was so goddamn small. Scott was like, you want to say anything? I had zero complete thoughts at the moment, absolutely nothing, so I just said, no. Scott turned to it and said, well, I’m grateful. That was when we wrapped it in the leaf and handed it over to Jake, and the two of them went down the ravine and started digging, and you know the rest.
When you pull The Moon it means the mystery probably can’t be solved but it also can’t be avoided. I am going to say, just fall into it.
The Star is what you’ve been waiting for. Maybe you had no idea but this is you, it’s yours, this is what’s ahead. Shhhh.
Well thanks to this whole ordeal now I know where South is. It is directly behind my house. South is down the ravine, slightly to the left. I moved all my plants accordingly, spider babies which were well on their way to dying. Turns out one window is not as good as any other window, for plants. Turns out plants desire southern exposure.
I think, I am hoping, that it’s possible for me to gain or grow a sense of direction now that I don’t have so much noise inside. Minus those tides or whatever. How are you supposed to find your car in a parking lot when you have a thing wailing so goddamn loud from the inside? But now that’s done. The uterus is in the ground and my plants are upstairs where there’s good light. I am excited about the possibility that I might now be able to hold onto a sense of where South is.
The Star is what comes next. Fragile baby dreams you can’t tell anybody about, right now, you just have to incubate them and hold them close till they take root. You don’t have to be glad for whatever disaster preceded it but you do have to say something like, yeah, I guess I never would have pulled out an actual compass, otherwise.
The Tower says heyyeah guess you didn’t see this coming.
NO oh no you do not want this card. I am sorry it came up but here it is. The Tower is the card of unforeseen disaster, the rug and the wind sucked out from under you and inside you. I am telling you, right now, contact me when it hits. We will map out your wardrobe, your muse, all of it. Really do this. I am ready even if you’re not, and you’re not.
The Tower is your shit going down in a way you did not expect. It’s abrupt. But trust me that you needed it and trust me that you will like what comes next.
The Devil card says, you better thank me for my service, if you expect the ability to move on.
As noted, Abby let me read all the writings that went with her drawings, which amounted to a one-hundred-day journal. The notes weren’t wordy but she was thorough. Sometimes it was like “made a sandwich.” Sometimes it was “how do you feel love, how do you know you’re loved.” Or “can feeling love coexist with feeling less-than-wanted, or is wanting in itself a problem.” It was glorious to read all this because while I have no Abby-specific data to back this up, at this point I know two things: 1) What’s troubling is probably always going to be what’s troubling, and while that can come across as discouraging, another way to see it is: hey, younger-than-me person, at this point you really have a finite set of things that trouble you and it’s probably not going to expand and will probably even shrink, so take heart that you are a known quantity. Take heart that what you know now is all the knowing you need. You are only going to get better at managing the fear when fear shows up, because it’s the same variety every time, and guess what eventually it won’t even show up. And 2) I am not kidding you, eventually it won’t even show up. This is why journals are great. You can look back at what you wrote when you were eight or eighteen or newly thirty, and realize, oh my god, I was worried about the same stuff back then as I am worried about right now. Except now it’s just stuff that happens and it doesn’t come with worry. How about that. And next thing you know a figure like this one, the drawing above, stops looking like a menace with chains, and instead it looks like a dance just getting started.
Abby, outside Satori Violet where she teaches and dances and oh oh does she teach and dance.
Abby, Kato Ballroom.
Abby, street, sky.
When The Devil card shows up, it’s like, ok so you have habits. Maybe addictions. They in themselves are not patently simply bad. Be nice to them, thank them for their service, keep your eyes and ears open so you notice when the service stops and instead parts of you are getting eaten away. When that happens or ideally just before, start the dance.