Discover more from Freer Form by Shira Erlichman
Is the heart the largest number?
Dispatch #14: Keep your eye out for peekings
There is, amongst the common difficulty of being human, the sweet parting of overhead branches to reveal a distant sun. There is, too, the peach rose breaking through the fence to lean & lean in. There is its sibling peach rose, tangled in the fence wire, alive in the kink of entrapment.
I’m not going to spell out the various moodinesses I’ve experienced in the last few weeks, but there have been tough mornings. There remain tangled fences I haven’t managed my way fully through. There is something affirming in the “peekings” though: the outside world leaning toward me & reminding me that I am a part of something large. Something green & peach & sun.
As I find my footing in my days, in this often-hectic body-mind I’ve inherited & am responsible for, these “peekings” do a different work than intellectual grappling, than problem-solving. In fact, I’d say staying awake to these peekings, the world & its colors & immediateness, is a way to invite “ten toes on the ground” (as my partner calls it). By attuning or opening myself to the mystery disguising itself as ordinariness, I am more able to plant my feet on the ground & move forward with clarity.
These peekings found me & continue to find me. I am a detective for them. I know they will sustain & propel me. I have been disorganized & over-scheduled for months & not sure where to begin. I HAVE TO CHANGE MY WHOLE LIFE, came my brain’s most unhelpful messaging. Start by cleaning off your desk, I countered. It took days. DAYS. It’s still not clean. Start again. Re-order that favorite planner from years ago. One midnight, that’s just what I did - the Passion Planner in “birds bees yellow.” It’s okay to begin again. & Again. YOU HAVE TO GET IT ALL RIGHT. No. No, I don’t, wonderful-terrible brain. It’s okay to begin again. & Again.
My anxiety has been cresting. I have sometimes felt ashamed of how powerful it’s been. In a low moment of self-flagellation, sweet Angel said to me, “You feel the world intensely. Imagine if it just passed you by? You’re not someone the world passes by.”
Words too can be a peeking, a leaning in. Her words pressed their way through the fog in my mind & allowed some light. Their orange-pink petals remain a whirl of kindness, centeredness, & love.
My physical therapist sent me these charts. They are applicable to so much beyond my strained quad. They are applicable to writing a novel. To becoming a better communicator with my loved ones (that includes myself!). To being better hydrated. To exercising. To trying to get to sleep earlier. To keeping an eye out for peekings.
We need all the tools we can get, don’t we? The ethereal & the intellectual. The peachy & the planners.
• While visiting Michigan for Angel’s sister’s wedding, I dropped by beloved used bookstore Dawn Treader & picked up Blue Monday by Calvin Forbes, which I believe may be out of print. I was struck by the leaping magic of his guts & mind. “I grow in your hands. / Everything changes except the shape / You give me.”
• The August session of In Surreal Life is open for registration! The incredible Edgar Kunz, Chen Chen, & Camonghne Felix will be our Visiting Artists (triple gasp). Join us this summer in what ISL Alum Laurel Shimasaki called “the warmest and most encouraging workshop experience I have had.” Sign up today!
• I absolutely devoured When We Were Sisters by Fatimah Asghar. I don’t know that I’ve encountered such an intimate first person voice, let alone a child’s, in a novel. I was absolutely thrilled to hear that Asghar won the inaugural Carol Shields Prize for Fiction!
• “Did it scare you, or did it hurt you?” Beautiful parenting video (with some skateboarding in there too) - what could be sweeter? How might we reparent ourselves in this patient, present & joyful way?
• Succession has come to a close & I’m in awe. I feel so lucky to have been alive to see this show unfold in real-time & in a community of stans, LOL. Major spoilers in the video I’m linking here, so if you haven’t watched the full season, be warned. Watching little behind-the-scenes vids like this is helping me cope that we’ve come to the end of this miracle of art & television.
• The May? Questions Challenge is coming to a close (though, please, continue your inquisitiveness!). Here are some questions that sprouted in my journal since our last dispatch:
What opens up my perceptions to time’s non-existence?
Is clarity a wheel?
Is the heart the largest number?
Why does scarcity have such power & why is abundance so easily unseen?
What did the pearl forget to tell the sea?
With ample maple syrup,