I leave tomorrow for California. The van is packed and waiting, fully loaded down with work for an early morning exit from New Orleans. I wish I could say I'm looking forward to this journey, but the truth is I'm afraid. I know it will be good for me to get away, to experience some fresh air, but the anticipation of spending three days in a car with just me for entertainment is a daunting and frightful thing. I'll be gone for twelve days. Twelve days away from everything I've come to know as safe and routine. My cave where the cat and I hide to heal our wounds, my studio where I'm always happy to be. All my safe little crutches removed. The only connection to sanity will be a cellphone with tenuous coverage for 1,950 of the 2,260 miles I'm traveling.
How can I have come this far, spent so much of the past 8 months alone, and feel so undone about being in a car for six days? I see myself as stronger now and yet, as our dear friend Donna reminded me this morning, I'm also so fragile. I keep pushing forward as though I'm in a race to prove myself, but the truth is I have faultlines along my edges. I'm like the porcelain boat I pulled from the kiln three weeks ago which had split wide open to reveal the flaws hidden in the first firing. No longer perfect, I broke the piece apart and mosaiced it together again. An attempt to make it whole, knowing full well where the faultline still left scars. I can't hide my scars, but they are making me stronger. And maybe I'm learning that being split wide open is a good thing. To be vulnerable, to be afraid, just makes me most human.
It reminds me of a May Sarton poem I read a long time ago called "Somersault", the passage I remember, "Is it a question of discipline or grace? The steel trap of the will or some slight shift within an opened consciousness? The tightrope walker juggles weights, to lift himself up on the stress,and airy master of his own loss, he springs from heaviness. But we, stumbling our way, how learn such poise,the perfect balance of all griefs and joys? Burdened by love, how learn the light release that, out of stress, can somersault to peace?"
I will be allright.