To begin a blog is to make a real commitment to one’s own reflection – shared as well as to those who may show up to discover that reflection. As a minister, a mother, a stepmother, spouse, a person who identifies as female, among other key identifiers, I have a certain perspective – but it, like me, changes over time. One of my sacred scriptures is the book of poetry by Adrienne Rich, The Dream of a Common Language. In the closing poem, Transcendental Etude, the poet wrote:
“putting the tenets of a life together
with no mere will to mastery,
only care for the many-lived, unending
forms in which she finds herself”
So my writing here will reflect those many lives and my own unending forms. Some of my lives are truly lived at the address of my name. Often, my life feels/is so intertwined with the lives of others that – though I can never truly “walk in the shoes” (so to speak) of another – I feel a connection, joys, fears, hopes, anguish that makes me identify with or even slip in empathy into some perhaps vague, perhaps quite close form that has an internal semblance to them. My unending forms are not my own alone.
Perhaps I am vulnerable to this sense of connection and identification with others because of a decision I made when I was around 6 or 7.
At around that age I remember walking along the sidewalk on my street in Rochester, New York. I was walking very slowly and looking down attentively – for some reason – at the sidewalk. I noticed a crack out of which a small dandelion was growing. I stopped to appreciate it. Of course, in retrospect, I’d have to be pretty young to appreciate the lowly dandelion. Nonetheless, I stopped and bent over it and studied it with rapt attention. Was it an opportunist that had found a crack and grown there? Was is a supremely powerful plant that grew up through the sidewalk and cracked it with dandelion strength? I wasn’t sure – but I knew that noticing it had changed me in some way. And in that moment I also knew that everything that I noticed and would notice, would change me. And I promised to pay attention to the small as well as the large things so that I could change and learn all my life.
And so it begins.