Friday, May 20, 2011

Revising the Survey Map of Grief


You are looking at a picture of an asset: a shorewell. This one is located on my property on Barracks Lane in Cape Vincent, the place we used to call Rainbow's End that, as of today, is up for sale, flaws and all. Some items will be repaired, some we'll leave for the next owners, but, by all means, the worst will be cleaned up well before it changes hands..

So, at this juncture in my life, what I find I'm doing is preparing to part with a huge chunk of my life, one that dates back to 1981, when my brother and I bought the parcel together. Egad, thirty years of history there between my brother and me! I say farewell to this stretch along Lake Ontario just as I’m saying goodbye to Jimmy: sadly.

You can gather from the photograph that it's a rocky landscape. Literally, figuratively. My brother's death in March still leaves me, heading into late May, with more clean-up work -- a considerable amount.

That's why I need a break. My beloved husband Roger (whose born a great burden too) and I are skipping town, leaving the country for seven days, six nights. On Sunday morning after seven weeks of what feels like constant "estate caca," we're going camping in Ontario, along the northern, provincial Lake Erie shoreline.

Beach walks, woodsy hikes, a lighthouse or two, campsite chats and "library hour," poems—and sleep. No computer. No Internet. No cell phone. I'm aiming to be blissfully disconnected from that sorrowful world we've been contending with.

This morning before I got going on the details of carpenters and carpeters, I fingered through old files in search of an old poem, one that's never been keyboarded into my laptop. I found it.

It concerns the erstwhile Rainbow’s End. It's from a happier time at the waterfront land my brother and I once owned together. It’s proof: Once there was magic there.


Rainbow’s End

Come to this land for moonrising
Come when leaves in their first week of life
and birds on their first day of flight
listen to dusk then last light of day
Behold! Witches’ hair floats in the misty cove
Herb-Roberts and silverweed grow at shoreline
They shall be as omens
portending unto Ontario this hour
You will heal me, Sisater Water
You will hear me, Mother Earth
and I too will listen to darkness
Now I speak night hawk
I speak snowy owl.
I am the voice wavelapping
for now is the time for answering
now when thoughts follow the Milky Way
and ideas with the Northern Lights glimmer
our tellings in the stars

Out there is the Universe where I am here


Let there be some joy this rainy spring.