Friday, October 4, 2013

same river twice

Hard day, good day, hard day... brain weaving a pattern from the din of information.

So unbelievably tired at the end of the day; snapping at the kids, feeling guilty, always trailing behind, instead of marching, decisively, ahead.

More than once already I have wanted to bail on this adventure. It's getting easier bit by bit -- we have water pressure now! and a table! -- but it's still hard for me to imagine the coming winter and the rest of our year here. It's simultaneously a big deal and not at all... we're just going about our lives and our work, with the usual frustrations and successes. And yet, I'm indulging in self-pity, needing some recognition for the work I'm doing, because it feels like a magic trick every time I coax dinner out of the meager provisions in our fridge. I am flummoxed by the grocery store, vexed by uncooperative children who expect toys and treats just for breathing Japanese air.

I have been retracing old steps, stitching this city together from a dream. I am looking for the street that connects to the alley that leads to the cafe next to the charming gift shop... was that it? Do I also expect to find the person I was then?

I used to love rummaging around at used bookstores, searching for collage material. Yesterday I went to one in our neighborhood and browsed briefly through the offerings out front, a haphazard stack of mildewed books and periodicals. It didn't enchant me with possibility like it did before, it just looked like the remnants of someone's hoarding, coating my hands with filmy dust.

So, I had to get that out of the way, I suppose. Now I can allow this experience to unfold in real time, unbounded by my expectations. The kids and I ride our bike all over town, observing, piecing things together in a new way: here's the giant tanuki, there's the mossy little waterfall, here is our fox shrine. "We're meambling," Auden says as we coast slowly, letting the narrow streets lead us this way and that.

I want to force things to come together, to make sense, to be easy. I takes all kinds of reminders to slow down and see what's right there: delicate things, easily overlooked, like tiny maple leaves in a layered canopy, filtering sunlight.

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1 comment:

Jenni Birchwood said...

This was enchanting to read. Having spent some time in Japan many years ago, I could feel that sense of capturing past motions, feelings and sensations through your words. I hope something wonderful and reassuring happens for you soon, just around the next corner.