This one has a soundtrack: Click on no. 23 in my “The Dream” player in the right sidebar — Robert Schumann’s, “Fantasy, Op. 17, in C”.
Wednesday, December 5, 2012 — From time to time we may feel the need to take stock of ourselves. At this hour of my life I find that the best of times and the worst of times often concur. I liken this phenomenon to the moment in Jerome, Arizona, thirty years ago when I saw the marble angel its sculptor walked me up the long, steep ochre dirt path to show me. There the flat, white angel lay in a wooden box of straw, a foot square and six inches high, on a table in the back of his studio on the edge of a cliff. Through the window behind the table on which the angel lay we looked down deep into a pit, the copper mine. Symbolically I had come face to face with the marble angel of Thomas Wolfe’s novel, Look Homeward, Angel: “… Remembering speechlessly we seek the great forgotten language, the lost lane-end into heaven, a stone, a leaf, an unfound door. Where? When? O lost, and by the wind grieved, ghost, come back again.”
I had just read the novel. I wanted to write like Thomas Wolfe, with that lyricism derived from the classics. I wanted to write. My peak experience, the synchronicity of that moment confronting the marble angel on that Jerome mountaintop awakened me, shaping the amorphous stone of my writing dreams, acutely summoning me to set words to page. As Thomas Wolfe descended his Asheville mountain to attend Harvard and then to become a writer, I descended the Jerome mountain to return home to the City of Angels where I became a writer.
Two nights ago I finished reading The Turquoise, a novel by Anya Seton. Based on fact, the story follows the 19th century life of a Scots-Mexican woman, a psychic visionary, born in Santa Fe, New Mexico, given in early adulthood a turquoise stone by a Native American medicine man who cautions her to stay to her true path. She strays, and I, frustrated, kept wishing she’d get on with the real meaning of her life, my reaction caused perhaps by her story being too close to home.
The turquoise is said to possess mystical powers: The turquoise is a vibrant stone. It is known as the sky stone or stone of heaven. Its mystical powers strengthen the psychic powers of the wearer. The turquoise provides protection and brings healing, harmony and serenity. The turquoise is the Goddess Tara in her green aspect. The turquoise illumines one’s true path.
The turquoise ring I wear was given me by my spiritual friend who guided me through my uncle’s untimely death from colon cancer. My friend gave me the ring long ago, forty years ago, so long ago it seems like yesterday. It is a Navajo ring, come from Arizona. “The turquoise means friendship,” my friend told me then. And although I have neither seen nor been in touch with my friend in nearly forty years, the ring has never left my finger. It won’t come off. The turquoise has served me well.
I try to serve it well, by staying on my spiritual path, and unwittingly, it seems, I am led. Soon after seeing the marble angel, I saw myself, in vision, as a sage woman wearing turquoise and silver jewelry and a white dress. I became Turquoise. So when my Linkedin caregiver writer friends adopted kangaroos and we began calling ourselves the Roos, we each chose a color. I am Turquoise. Other friends are Purple Roo, Teal Roo, Coral Roo, Little Blue Roo, Yellow Roo, Pale Olive Green Roo or Pogroo, Tartan Roo and so on.
I am also Human. So, my Turquoise presence holds to a point. For example, the other day when my WiFi modem lost its setting, I called our cable service provider to reset it. When I got the guy who sounded exactly like Elmer Fudd with an Indian accent, all thoughts of Turquoise flew from my mind to roughly the same area Amelia Earhart’s airplane went down. I get tested, often unsuccessfully, and it often takes me a while plus a grousing phone call to my friend R to reset my bearings.
Caregivers complain a lot and then feel guilty. This past Monday I gave a presentation of my book, Begins the Night Music to our Modern Maturity Center here in Dover, Delaware. I was delighted by a fine reception of twenty interested caregivers and several graduating nurses. All listened intently to my talk and then asked questions and shared experiences. The experience I hear most often is that of the guilt-ridden caregiver: “Did I do enough? Did I do the right thing? I wish I didn’t get so angry.” Caregivers are human; caregivers must remember that they are people, too, and give themselves a moment to take stock of themselves. Caregivers, you must forgive yourselves, then you will not get so angry:
It can be the best of times and the worst of times—the best of times because you still have your loved one with you to tell you stories of their lives and of whom you can ask questions; the worst of times because they are sick. The times are poignant.
Caregiving by its very nature is a spiritual path, for it is caring that gets you onto the path. It is love that gets you in.
A note: One year ago today the compassionate young woman vet came to our home and put Emma’s beloved teacup poodle Jetta to sleep. Jetta, maybe you’ve come into a new lifetime as a Human. You were sensible enough. I wish you the serenity of the turquoise.
A powerful post — you do a wonderful job of using Seton’s novel as a jumping-off point . You remind us that while the quest is never as straightforward as we’d like it to be, we do eventtually get to where we’re supposed to be. And when you think about it, that’s the pattern in most fairy tales: the hero/heroine always gets sidetracked but eventually makes good.
And while we’re at it, sometimes a good metaphor/symbol/ritual helps — gives us a positive way to channel our spiritual/creative energy.
You’re so right about the metaphor and the positive channel, T.J. And, you know, I have always loved fairy tales. Thank you for your kind comment/compliment, and noting points I made that I hadn’t considered. Excellent. This means a lot to me.
Citrine. Changes color with energy surrounding it. I learned this from a gift of a customer. Gloria Canada. I would be Citrine-Roo. I love your connection to a stone from the earth. “The turquoise ring I wear was given me by my spiritual friend”.
Interesting, Jackie. I love it when people/friends can add to the little I know. Well, please, join our group of extraordinary women like you — you can be the 13th Roo, Citrine Roo. We are the most supportive, unconditionally loving women in the world. You belong in our group. Let me know, and I will send you the link to our group. I am trying to get K in but she is having trouble logging in. It does blow me away, that turquoise/friend connection.
that was so lovely Samantha thank you. The spiritual path is demanding in its way, yet it is worth the effort to bring our own integrity into the world if we believe in the inter-connectivity of it all. All of life deepens us, the good and the not so good, the easier and the difficult times. Your post brings this home very vividly to me, thank you.
Susan, thank you. Your kind comment/compliment neatly ties together the idea of this blog post with T.J.’s Sketch People post abut her dad and that connectivity between ourselves and those we love, of finding each other no matter where each of us is. Indeed, each of those spiritual demands along the way deepens us. Had that not worked for me, I would not now be having this conversation with you.
Beautifully written. Try letting go of your attachment to Turquoise., although just a metaphor, it to is impermanent and empty.
Glenn — You read my post and commented. Thank you, and thank you for your kind compliment. I don’t know how attached I am to Turquoise. I seem to have grown beyond it in some sense, or many. Nevertheless, it is always there — the ring on my finger, a reminder. I am where I am now, which is in a different place from where I was 30 or 40 years ago, plus I am way older chronologically. You are right, of course; I will let go of the attachment to Turquoise. I think I am about there. I believe my writing this piece was a means of letting go. But the ring won’t come off my finger; it won’t fit over my knuckle.
You have made beautiful art this day.
:-)) And your comment makes me very happy, R. Thank you.
You write a poignant message. I pray that your turquoise protects you. Thank you for your caring.
It is a poignant life and a poignant time, Gwynn, as you well have experienced. Thank you. And thank you for being my caring friend, always here to lend an ear — yes, an ear, two very good ears.