Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Normally I'm overflowing with words. I talk a lot. I write a lot. I remember the lyrics of practically every song I've ever heard and I remember the exact wording of everything you ever said so don't argue with me. (Yes, it is annoying. Even to me.) So I guess it's not entirely surprising that the two times my husband- the rock of my life, the pillar that holds up my sky - has gone under the knife, my post operative stress reaction has been to go flat, lose my stuffing, lose my words. Since his surgery, I haven't been able to work on my writing projects, have had a hard time coming up with things to blog about, and don't have much energy to gab on the phone with people.
Instead, I've been aching for a vacation. A long quiet vacation in a warm place where I don't have to talk much because I don't know the language. Or at the ocean, because the ocean roars over, washes away, speech. But the husband is still weak and hunched and he tires easily. So here we stay. Which, really, in the scheme of what could have been, is fine. But still....
So today, in a thrift shop, I pulled a slim volume of poetry out from its hiding place between a door-stopper Grisham thriller and a self-help tome. it was "The Art of Drowning" by Billy Collins. I opened it. It was signed, "Cheers, Billy Collins." Then I opened to a random poem. It was one called "Consolation." It's a wonderful poem, and I recommend you read the whole thing. But here I'll only quote the first strophe:
How agreeable it is not to be touring Italy this summer,
wandering her cities and ascending her torrid hill towns.
How much better to cruise these local, familiar streets,
fully grasping the meaning of every roadsign and billboard
and all the sudden hand gestures of my compatriots.
It was like getting a message in a bottle, through an ocean of detritus and words, from Billy just to me. "Cheers," he tells me. And here, dear. Here is consolation. It was perfect.
Here's a link to the whole poem, if you'd like to read it.