My moonlit drive began before the sun retreated, with windows down, lake reflections calling me away from a quiet house, a day of recuperation. I felt cooped. Climbing Jockey’s Ridge and Cape Hatteras Lighthouse with my son and his class, going to a play, a festival, then to another lighthouse and finding seashells on the beach, all in the span of 36 hours, it turned today’s silence into a deafening crush, a shocked hush. One extreme, then the other spit me out somewhere in-between, weaving strands of rest and restlessness, shock and relief. And it all simply highlighted the fact that my life is changing. I’m supposed to be the master of my fate and I was raised on songs with lines like “I would rather be a doorkeeper in your courts than to take my fate upon myself…you are my sun and my shield…and the highway to your city runs through my heart.” It was like being asked to chop off my hands, hands that like to make, to mend. It was like being given the key to a riddle impossible. What hands turn the magic in the lock on the door to the days that are always best lived now? It was the ultimate contradiction to be raised in a world requiring a sacrifice of my raw power in order to find what is both sun and shield. My hands still weep. But I can write. And I can drive. And dig in the dirt. And. And.
And I drove my car on curving roads past fields green darkening in dusk, drove down the middle line, double then dashed then over on my side. There was no risk, no cars near, no reason to restrict the flow of speed into a careful cubicle side of the road. And I wondered of the highway, of what city runs through my heart, through the hearts in homes glowing yellow from glass pouring out the shine to falling night. I passed the Amish family’s farm quiet, resting and wondered what the long skirts were doing for those girls, for their sense of personal power. Would they ever know?
Lightning bugs were everywhere yellow oblivious of cars or time. And the lines slicing up the road into order and safety. I thought of yellow dresses, yellow light, yellow boats, yellow flight and the sun in the sky now asleep to my night. I thought of yellow’s myriad meanings, of love unrequited and restless, writhing, of love healing and of love confusing. Appropriate for the moment, the song that decided to grace my ears when I went for the music on the radio – Bittersweet Symphony. I turned it up loud, loud, the wind was amazing and it felt wonderful. All of it bitter and sweet.
Lightning bugs, fireflies – whatever your preferred tag – they floated all around, reminding me of big sisters and youngest sons capturing glowing yellow “faeries” in a jar and the mesmerizing work of life’s tides flowing in and out, across the mind, the heart, coloring a life in bright meaning, dark hues, songs to remember, to weave a thread of hope into the new melody blasting a path slowly beyond the past.
Somewhere between the two songs is the truth.
Somewhere between the extremes is eternal now and up the middle is the path, is the part of a person that never changes because she never gave away the best of herself; she never let the worst deceptions win her heart, her mind or her hands best ministrations.