Wednesday, July 06, 2005

A Green Olive Tree in the House of God

Hope may have been lost, but at least the car engine kept running....
and run it did, taking me away from the seashore down country roads, that run, ultimately, to a big city: in the late spring rain, I followed a lumbering Coachman along a two-lane road while thinking there is a _____ job in South Dakota, near the Corn Palace. I was following the Coachman on a road that has often led me out and away on my way back from here to the midwest, so it was easy to maintain a kind of dual consciousness where I knew I was off to an interview for a better lateral option, all the while feeling that a life near the Corn Palace was at stake. The interview for the option du jour went well, and I was offered a contract on the spot. This took care of some mounting worries, and I hope my one known reader, the beautifully articulate Willoboe, did not despair of ever knowing if my request for prayers and/or kind thoughts had brought about any results. Indeed it did: it was actually fairly amazing that the week and the interview went that well, and I was determined to keep the momentum going. I downloaded the SD job description, and then it all hit the fan: illness, overworked, over-scheduled, couldn't stay awake long enough to make the deadline, couldn't blow anything off because I had to catch up on all the previously blown-off matters that I had sidelined to make room for these more urgent lateralities (hmmm.... there's a word that may have uses in this blog) and the secret afternoon trips I had to take to follow up on them. And maybe the last straw was the Omigod of one of my favorite new acquaintances, followed by the question, which is really an assertion, have you ever been to South Dakota ?, which barely required its rhetorical counterpart, you don't want to go there. If you are not from the east, but have spent time in the east, as a recovering easterner, I can tell you that this set of utterances will get you through any number of cocktail parties and backyard barbeques where the grill costs more than your car. It works like this: Person A: We were glad we held onto our Martha Stewart stock. Person B: Martha Stewart ? Have you ever really looked at Omnimedia ? You don't want to be there. You dismiss any follow up questions with a few clichés: "there is July, then winter"/"it's not real growth". For the record, I do not hate the east; I am just anthropologically minded. Back to there, it wasn't my friend's disparaging remark that did it, but it rattled around in my mind as I found myself falling asleep at my computer and wondering if a late in the season stab at regaining my former life was really all that well thought-out.

I needn't have wondered. I person I know who is in the same field and who has been enduring her own exile of sorts phoned to tell me that she was on the verge of a one year contract with a very small, uh, firm, which would mean moving all of her possessions across country with no allowance to do it, taking a pay cut and almost immediately beginning a search for something more permanent. Of course she is going to take it. I would take it at this point. I think of that bulky Coachman camper meandering on a route that has been my entry and departure to and from this part of the world for so long. I would at about this time in an ordinary world be preparing for my jaunt to here, cats riding along, presents from "the middle" tucked into the trunk. I miss those long drives: the Pennsylvania mountains, the stop at Midway for Starbucks...

Yes, I would have taken it, too. It is so hard when I am so weary to contemplate yet another "temporary" life of the kind I thought I had left behind when I found myself last in the midwest. All today, a phrase from a psalm kept making its way into my head: "a green olive tree in the house of God." The poet Louise Glück once wrote in The Wild Iris, "how lush the world is/how full of things that don't belong to me:" ah, the house of God. And we are green, aren't we ? So green: we never know what's coming, we don't expect it, them, what happened. The change, the loss. Saplings, all, so best to hold onto that image of flexibility, trees dancing in the wind, the verdancy that we carry, that is possible for us. A point of rest in this unwieldy post, in the unravelling of my exhaustion during, finally, a time to write, think, and renew.

No comments: