Well, I (daughter #2) am back in College Park after a week and a half at home. While it certainly never escaped me that the DP’s recovery was serious business, I have to admit that it also felt like a lovely midwestern escape, providing more sustained quality time with my dear mother than I’ve had in a long time. That meant something to me! Needless to say, leaving was quite difficult. I’ve been on the verge of tears ever since!
On my flight home, I coped with a complimentary mimosa and more Mitford. This passage spoke to my angst about returning to work on Monday:
How could he have considered taking Monday off? Monday was the diving board poised over the rest of the week. One walked out on the board, reviewed the situation, planned one’s strategy, bounced a few times to get the feel of things, and then made a clean dive. Without Monday, one simply bombed into the water, belly first, and hoped for the best.
– From At Home in Mitford
So this week, I will try to make a clean dive, rather than a belly flop.
In the meantime, here are a couple more sources of inspiration to get us the through the week:
You might have missed Bob Dylan’s birthday on May 24. We celebrated at home with a music session and a cathartic singalong. DN and I are also making our way through the No Direction Home documentary, which is a balm for my soul. The other night, we saw the scene in which Bob Dylan tries to explain that “A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall” is not just about nuclear fallout, despite the interviewer’s insistence that it must be. Allen Ginsburg then opines that Bob Dylan just wrote the truth — and that was it. I’ve never liked Allen Ginsburg more.
Finally, a word from another birthday boy, Walt Whitman (May 31). I have always felt that Whitman is basically a motivational speaker, so perhaps these lines will inspire you, too:
I exist as I am, that is enough,
If no other in the world be aware I sit content,
And if each and all be aware I sit content.
One world is aware and by far the largest to me, and that is myself,
And whether I come to my own to-day or in ten thousand or ten million years,
I can cheerfully take it now, or with equal cheerfulness I can wait.
My foothold is tenon’d and mortis’d in granite,
I laugh at what you call dissolution,
And I know the amplitude of time.
– From “Song of Myself”
Whitman was just always feeling himself, as they say. He was way ahead of his time when it came to self-love, body positivity, self care, etc. Talk about confidence! But also, he loved everyone else, too. And that part of him always makes me feel good.
What is it then between us?
What is the count of the scores or hundreds of years between us?
Whatever it is, it avails not—distance avails not, and place avails not,
I too lived, Brooklyn of ample hills was mine,
I too walk’d the streets of Manhattan island, and bathed in the waters around it,
I too felt the curious abrupt questionings stir within me,
In the day among crowds of people sometimes they came upon me,
In my walks home late at night or as I lay in my bed they came upon me,
I too had been struck from the float forever held in solution,
I too had receiv’d identity by my body,
That I was I knew was of my body, and what I should be I knew I should be of my body.
It is not upon you alone the dark patches fall,
The dark threw its patches down upon me also,
The best I had done seem’d to me blank and suspicious,
My great thoughts as I supposed them, were they not in reality meagre?
Nor is it you alone who know what it is to be evil,
I am he who knew what it was to be evil,
I too knitted the old knot of contrariety,
Blabb’d, blush’d, resented, lied, stole, grudg’d,
Had guile, anger, lust, hot wishes I dared not speak,
Was wayward, vain, greedy, shallow, sly, cowardly, malignant,
The wolf, the snake, the hog, not wanting in me,
The cheating look, the frivolous word, the adulterous wish, not wanting,
Refusals, hates, postponements, meanness, laziness, none of these wanting,
Was one with the rest, the days and haps of the rest,
Was call’d by my nighest name by clear loud voices of young men as they saw me approaching or passing,
Felt their arms on my neck as I stood, or the negligent leaning of their flesh against me as I sat,
Saw many I loved in the street or ferry-boat or public assembly, yet never told them a word,
Lived the same life with the rest, the same old laughing, gnawing, sleeping,
Play’d the part that still looks back on the actor or actress,
The same old role, the role that is what we make it, as great as we like,
Or as small as we like, or both great and small.
Closer yet I approach you,
What thought you have of me now, I had as much of you—I laid in my stores in advance,
I consider’d long and seriously of you before you were born.
– From “Crossing Brooklyn Ferry”
There you have it. A bit belated, but tonight we will raise a glass for the birthdays of two wonderful sources of inspiration for hard times (or just Monday).