Disappearing act

Posted on 29 August 2004

I disappeared for a few days and now am having difficult alighting. Yesterday I went with Bett to gather lavender that she’ll plant in her garden in Canada. Later she, Marlene, and I went for a drive in the country to Bruniquel, another bastide town with a grand chateau and lovely gardens, and then on to LeClerc for a last grocery shop before Bett and Marlene leave on Tuesday. We have all, I think, retreated into ourselves a little.

I keep thinking of Gill.

On Thursday afternoon, I took Shirin and her to Toulouse by train. They left me to shop at their skinny-girl stores and I wandered and met them for dinner. We stayed in an old hotel across the street from the train station. Friday morning early, Shirin left for Barcelona and Gill and I spent the day together, walking, shopping, and talking. It was lovely and poignant. Where did this young woman come from? She said that she’s been waiting since she was twelve to start her own life and she is ready, excited, and I feel like I’m the mother left although I know the time is right.

As Gill’s life changes, so does mine. I know – is it age or experience that tells me? – that now my work as caretaker (giver?) is done, and I sort out how I want to live the rest of my life, that hard times are ahead and even though there will be exhiliarating moments, they won’t be easy. Mary Oliver’s great question comes to mind: now what are you going to do with your one wild and precious life? How long do I have?

I’m up and down these days. I want to feel excited about my life. And I am thrilled about being given a space in the Marion Woodman workshop in England but am also apprehensive. After studying Woodman’s texts so long with Marlene, I wonder what it will be like being in the presence of one of my heros – a national treasure, icon, woman, crone, writer, and a person who I am in awe of? I don’t know.

This psyche/amour business is scary. Where will I take myself that week in England? I have no idea but, as Brendan told me when he was leaving to live a year in England “I am more scared not to go, than to go.”

Tonight, Rob, Marlene, Bett, Susan, David, Bedding, and little old me are going to a concert (classical music not country) in a “cobweb” barn on a meandering road, deep in wine country and thus close to my heart.

Tomorrow, I will be the mother once again and take Marlene and Bett to Toulouse for an afternoon of shopping, a dinner out, an evening in the same hotel that I stayed with my other girls – most likely in the same triple room – and then help them onto a airporter in the morning. I will not say goodbye.

They’ll fly into the heavens as I return to Castelnau and Rob. Who knows what will happen?


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