Fin in a Waste of Waters

"These moments of escape are not to be despised. They come too seldom....Leaning over this parapet I see far out a waste of water. A fin turns....I note under 'F.,' therefore, 'Fin in a waste of waters.' I, who am perpetually making notes in the margin of my mind for some final statement, make this mark, waiting for some winter's evening." (from Woolf's THE WAVES)

26 May 2007

This magic...

Just a little bit of writing to loosen the screws tightened by other work:

Last week exactly was the 3-year anniversary of my surgery. I debated whether or not to mark this day, the words of Ryan (whom I always thought of as "John") reverberating eternally in my memory, words spoken two years ago, only one summer after the surgery: "Wasn't this a year ago? Shouldn't you be over this by now?" I don't know if this is something I will ever "be over," or if it something I "should" be over. At this point in time, "this" itself still differs daily, demanding constant adaptation, let alone "getting over." Perhaps with more time will come equilibrium. Perhaps - I think so.

But, though not for the reason above, I decided not to "mark" this day. I told/reminded no one here, not until after the fact. I reminded Rasheed on the phone that day. After all, what will the surgery have accomplished if I insisted on marking this day? I underwent the surgery so that I could have a (mostly) "normal" life again after. So this is what I decided to celebrate that day: the ordinariness of my life. I did exactly what I would do any other day, reading for my dissertation, writing, going to work that night (catering a Lion's Club banquet at the Holiday Inn where innumerable old men sang the opening lines of "Chicago" to me after learning where I come from), and, after, sharing a bottle of wine with some friends down on the beach.

But ways I did celebrate the day: I did all with a heightened sense of pleasure in each moment, entirely content in the quiet, squirreling away each moment for some winter, remembering how easily any of us may have not been afforded these moments. Also, I filled my last book on that eve, remembering what I wrote exactly three years ago, the eve of the surgery, writing only from obligation, feeling that what was supposedly such a momentous event in my life deserved a written record. I began a fresh book & moved my list of 100 Life Goals to it a few days after this anniversary.

Also did I involve those around me in these "celebrations" - that night on the beach, before we could even open the wine, I had a seizure. During it, I was told after, did I ask: "What sense does life have without this magic?" And it is; magic, that is. Standing at the edge of the sea, standing, I felt, in more than a physical sense, on the periphery of water, rocks, and stars, and then dropping to my knees there under the weight of the seizure - on this Day - coming out of the confusion of my mind with this moment of clarity: what sense would life have without this magic? Without the seizures? They are, sometimes I feel & have felt even before I knew that they were indeed seizures, my moments when I see through life, when I stand outside of it, and see it whole. For so long, I was afraid that I had wavered too long on the borders of "real" life, that I would never slip back inside of it. But outside is its own "real" -

And isn't this what I go riding after, too, in dance, so desperately, deliberately, in the first year, and now, with ease, with peace? That moment when I am released, when I feel that physical lift when I am set free of my body & life; when I am only spirit? The very next evening: one of those perfect evenings of dance - so completely "on"; connected with everyone I came into contact with. And, though she couldn't possibly have known it, Kirsty gave me a way to mark this anniversary. At the end of the night, when the lights have come back on in the restaurant & the staff clears away the remains of dinners & drinks, when we all change back into our street shoes, and put on coats & jumpers, looking like strangers in the strange light...I had one shoe on, one off already when I hear the beginning of a song I'd sent K. weeks ago. Then, her voice: "This one's for you, Tessa!" Without even thinking, I immediately shouted: "Let me get my other shoe back on!" Then I stood, and there she was, a rose-gold light gleaming it seemed in her eyes and cheeks and hair, and we had one last dance, just the two of us, together, in the middle of the floor, under the lights, laughing all through it, and I feeling as if something in me would fly away. ...She is one of those rare dancing souls whom I have written about here, and in my journals, and whom I have sought out in every city I've danced in. She is the only one I've found here for sure (I thought maybe Murat...but we'll see if he stays "quit"; a dancer who quits is no d.s. - but I bet he won't be able to stay away). She & I have always sparked in a good way on the floor, but never yet like that night - and after, I felt so completely understood, as if for the 3-minute space of this song, I had found peace with this person. Magic.

And finally, now, it continues (and so it will still, I think...). Now, writing this after Chinese left-overs from last night, green tea, and a fortune cookie. My fortune, so appropriately timed as I reflect on this Day? Good health will be yours for a long time. Magic. What sense would this life have without it?


At 9:09 PM, Blogger cheryl said...

hello dear. beautiful post. i am always pulling for you over here on this side of the atlantic. you live life so beautifully.

love, cher

At 2:39 PM, Anonymous Holly said...

Lovely, magical, life absorbing Tessa. One comment on "getting over it". Major events in our lives, good or bad, are not intended to be gotten "over". They are guiding lights, trail markers, intentional direction pointers. They are meant to be remembered in the way you same way you remember to breathe. They change you, enlighten, enhance and give you a chance to see life from a renewed perspective. You are doing just that. I know of no one else that lives life with the sort of beautiful purpose that you do. You are an inspiration and an amazement. Another year, another day, another minute, another choice. All equally important.

I am so blessed by your light.


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