Violets, Time, and Motherhood
By Aaron Belz
One night I lay musing, among violets.
Suddenly it struck me that I was asleep.
In this sleep I saw a number of shapes.
The first of these was a woman weeping.
It might have been a woman sleeping,
or maybe it was a mother praying.
Suddenly it struck me that I was awake,
and I was standing in a room full of doors,
and they were the doors of perception,
and they were not only closed but locked.
I, wakefully, tried to twist each knob.
It struck me that the violets had been
a dream, and that I was probably dead.
So I sat in a chair and hung my head,
not for sorrow, or slumber, but to pray.
And I noticed my children gathered there,
my fruit, my issue, standing together,
and the doors swung open one by one.
One night I lay awake in a music of voices.
It all came to me suddenly, and so I ran
far from the madness, and into a field.
Thorns tore my legs, I panted for air.
I slumped in exhaustion, fell asleep there.
And in my sleeping, began to dream,
and all around me were those violets.
Wednesday was Paul's birthday, but he had a phone conference scheduled straight through lunchtime, so we agreed we'd do with his birthday lunch over spring break what we did with mine over winter break and take the kids with us out for Indian buffet, which they love. I had plans to get things done outside the house, but I spent the entire morning fighting with Google Docs, which has decided that I am not allowed to upload any more documents even though I don't have anywhere near 5000 in the account. Then I went to sort the clothes I had put away at the back of younger son's closet -- I thought there were just a few pairs of jeans that haven't fit me in a few years -- and I discovered that I still had maternity clothes which I thought I'd given away years ago, the dresses I wore to my sister's rehearsal dinner and cousin's wedding, High Holy Days services before I had children, and lots of jackets from the '80s -- I could tell at once from the size of the shoulder pads.
Sorting the clothes themselves would not have been a problem, but I didn't realize that they were all that was holding up my husband's massive comic book collection and keeping it from avalanching all over the closet. So guess what happened when I tugged out the hideous poofy size six skirt that fortunately will never again fit me in this lifetime? After several hours of stuffing clothing into bags for VVA and restacking comics, magazines, graphic novels, and the occasional Doctor Who magazine from the '80s -- assisted by Paul when he got home -- the closet is much more organized and I have large bags of clothing covering every size I have worn since I was 18. (If anyone is looking for anything I might have, let me know, it's all in good shape and some of the dressier things have only been worn once or twice!)
Wheaton Regional Park's labyrinth.
While I walked the labyrinth, Adam sat among the cypress knobs.
The gardens are already colorful, though spring has been slow arriving.
There are spring peepers in the ponds...
...and resident ducks as well as Canada geese...
...and, as I may have mentioned, lots and lots of turtles.
I am so happy that spring is finally here!
We had pizza for dinner (Paul's choice) and watched the Ian McKellen-Judi Dench Macbeth on ancient videotape -- it was filmed in the late 1970s -- and it was terrific, a very spare production with minimal costuming, almost no props and no sets at all to speak of. McKellen is terrific; Dench is very good but I wish the production made Lady Macbeth's motivations a bit more clear (I've seen versions where she's purely, nastily ambitious, which makes her later breakdown a bit odd unless it's triggered by her fears about her husband instead of her morals; I've seen versions where the throne is a substitute for the babies she had who didn't live; I've seen productions where she thinks her husband wants to be king and is just trying to do what she thinks he needs from her; I'm not entirely clear what's going on in this Lady Macbeth's head). Still, the witches are very strong and I loved seeing young Roger Rees as Malcolm.