Wednesday, April 22, 2009
So I realize I am a little burned out.
I don't want to do anything. I don't want to teach. I only want to garden, and walk in the woods, and sleep, and cook and bake and play with my cat. I want to read and make things and hang out with Meredith. So in this moment of disillusionment and discouragement. I am sitting in a parking lot drinking a big fat coke and thinking in my car, under the shade of a greening pear tree. Traffic's whizzing by... a car pulls into the space beside me. I realize it's a cop. I glance over and for the first time in my life I notice the City of Wilmington's official seal on the cop car door. Why is this extraordinary?
Let me explain, we moved here in 1975. I was just starting 6th grade and I thought I'd been dropped in some sort of dusty, steamy hell. In a way I found it darkly romantic, in a kind of gothic way that only a teenager can, searing heat, 100% humidity, spanish moss dripping over the streets from the huge dark limbs of sprawling ancient oaks.... Sleepy southern town. I'd lived in slightly more progressive places, so I thought being in an un-airconditioned brick 1910 building all day, who's outside paths were made of loose cinders (I actually took a chuck home to mom and dad to ask them what it was!), was like being in a time machine. It found it kind of like an adventure. That is until winter when Ivan, the kid who was probably 16 in the 6th grade, started heating up pennies on the radiators (which I had also never seen) and dropping them down my shirt. So since then I have felt horribly trapped here. So much so in fact, that I have had numerous full blown conversations with like minded people, many of who even have theories as to how Wilmington may very well be cursed! Here I'd like to point out that only in New Hanover county do Venus Fly trap plants grow. Yes, the only place in the world! And it's no accident. Wilmington seems rather pretty, perched on a bluff overlooking a nice river, picturesque old buildings and such, then just to the east the twinkling Atlantic ocean. Nice all in all. But for some reason it's a trick. You come here and then things mysteriously begin to fall apart. And you somehow become imprisoned in its sticky sweet, spiney jaws and are slowly digested without even realizing it. I once new a woman who'd come here and gone through her own sort of hell, emotionally and then physically, only to recover and decide to get the heck out of dodge! She was said to exclaim over her shoulder as she exited the county,"Wilmington is where strong women come to burn off what they don't need". I think she may have meant it's where women who don't know their own strength are sent by the Fates. Then they are burned in a refining fire and spit out hopefully stronger, forged into something new. Wilmington is not an easy town. Difficult to explain to those who come here with full pockets. In the late 70's no major highways came here from anywhere important. The port had been eclipsed many years ago by others along the east coast, the Railroad had closed shop and left town, the downtown had dried up and was full of topless bars and bums. Back then it was a destination for no one. Most people were headed out of town. Things are WAY better now of course! Its almost a different town. With the building of major highways, and other cultural developments in the last 30 years, we have a lot to be proud of in this town. Still, I feel confined. Hometowns can be that way. I have slowly, tried to see my confinement in a much more spiritual, maybe even Buddhist light. I chose it... and it will be my making. It is my path to be here... now. I made a baby here and will stay here 'til she is ready to fly the nest. So what is left to do but... persevere? Try to make it work here. Scratch a living, out of the dusty, sandy dirt here....
Thus as I sit in my car, gazing at the white car door beside me, I am amazed to see the City of Wilmington's seal staring me in the face. And on it is a bee skep, one of my favorite images, as I love bees and my name means "honeybee". And above the skep is the word "Persevere". I had to read it twice I was so astounded.
So I will strive to be like my namesake, and be industrious making nectar from yellow pollen, persevering all the while.