A year ago tonight I went into labor with my youngest and final child, Mr. Fred Rowley.
If you follow this blog, you'll, uh, notice that my posting frequency has plummeted during this last year. Call me a conspiracy theorist but I think there's a correlation between the two.
No, YOU'RE crazy.
This post wants to go in more than one direction and I'm going to let it.
First, I have this guilt that I haven't been out here chronicling the beauty of my children in the way I did after Finn was born. So, I'm going to paint some pictures for you. I'm going to let you see them a little.
Second, this past year has been the most difficult of my life. I took a Persephone-like trip to the underworld and I'm only just climbing out into open air again. I don't fully understand what happened. I know this: I turned 40 last July. I'd been looking forward to this all my life. 40 always had this corona of light around it, a gravity and thrill to it. I felt in my bones that I was going to come into my own in some critical way. Like I would be born this year, somehow.
Maybe I was in the birth canal.
Wait, I think that's right.
Oh, argh. This is two posts and I'm trying to squash them together. Well, screw it. The birth analogy for this post is a Siamese twin. A Siamese triplet. I'm one of them, and Finn and Fred are the other two. We're definitely fused together. If I birth this post at ALL it'll be a miracle, so I'm not going to require that the process be pretty.
1. Fred! Let's begin with Fred. He's the little trumpet call, the sunrise, here. Fred had a hell of a time getting here. His ride through my body into the world was fraught. So many times we thought we were going to lose him. The problem was never with Fred. Fred is the farthest thing from frail. Fred arrived in style, all in one piece, better than solid.
How do I describe Fred to you?
This is why I don't post! I'm humbled by my subjects. I'm just going to dumbly hand you images and try to begin to describe Fred that way.
* deep in the earth-->ready to be excavated --> but not excavated yet --> still all Nature, all potential --> a massive cache of ore --> gold, what else? How does it glow without being up in the sunlight yet? Trust me, it just does --> the future of this gold can only be something large and magical. A grail, a sword. Something bright and noble.
*Daffodils (yellow) (gold again) -->simultaneous flower and trumpet
*Golden retriever (right) --> your best friend, so lucky and happy and good
That's the light of Fred, the glow of him. We know he's on the side of good. We know he's on the side of joy. We know he's tough, and we know he's not mean. He's all benevolence, but don't bother fucking with him. He'll barrel right past you.
It's the summer solstice. In Finland, the midsummer holiday is called Juhannus. I was there once for Juhannus, with my mom. We went to a cabin on a lake with some cousins, ate cold cucumber soup, watched the sunlight streaming through the birch forest. The sun went down for five minutes around 3 in the morning and then popped right back up.
Fred timed his entrance here just right. Here, everyone. My signature. Sunlight.
I'm not going to try and describe the day-to-day of Fred to you. He'll just sound, you know, like a baby. I'm no fool. I'm not going to try and get across the light in his eyes. Maybe you'll get to see it for yourself someday.
If I'm daunted talking about Fred, I'm doubly daunted talking about Finn. My complicated moonbeam. That metaphor isn't just me trying to be neat and easy, cheap and symmetrical. I may have made him, but I didn't MAKE him. I'm just reporting, and that bit of reportage is accurate. I'm going to let myself be primitive, again, and just hand you what I can hand you about him.
*Long, pale, willowy. Wild, sensitive. Where Fred is of the earth and sun, Finn is netherworld, elf (not quite right, elf, but it gets there), moon. He's a creature. There's danger to him. He's carrying something wild, and he doesn't know how to work with it, yet. There's a split. On the one hand, this intelligence and refinement. His vocabulary boggles. He doesn't want the music too loud. The sheets are too scratchy. And then these bursts of energy come through him, and he hides his face. Can't use words. Neighs like a horse. Plunges toward you. Plunges away from you. Careens. There's no such thing as a wild thoroughbred, is there? There is now.
He's wild as Pan, soft and bruisable as the bluest blueblood.
We watch Blue Planet together. Orcas converge on a mother and baby gray whale, separate them, take the calf down, kill it. He likes this part, defiantly. It matches something in him. He mimes shooting a thousand arrows at the Orcas. He's with them and against them, both.
Why would I be able to describe this?
Look, I said it wouldn't be pretty. I said it would be a miracle for me to get anything out at all. I can't describe my children. It's useless.
And now I'm too spent to try and talk about myself, and that's really all the metaphor you need for me for now. I'm spent. Forty, you took it another direction. Nice work. You mixed it up. You zagged where I thought you would zig. I don't think 41 is going to be a piece of cake, necessarily, but at least I think it's going to take place above ground.
I'll come back to me later. And the Pink House, don't worry. I'll come back to that, too.