Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Breathe. Lift Your Hearts.

My mom and I in 1968 or thereabouts--which means that she was in her mid-40s in this photo--almost two decades younger than I am right now. 

Breeeeeeathe. Lift your heart. This is what the yoga teacher said.

Breathing. Hearts lifted. Then backs arching for the dive back into the water. This is what the dolphins did as I walked on the beach after yoga.

There were dozens of dolphins in clusters of five or six or seven cavorting more recklessly than I've seen before unless I've been out on a boat. Completely out of the water, splashing, and diving, their dorsal fins appearing and disappearing as if an immense paddle wheel was out there in the blue-green deep.

October here in Margaritaville is more summer than summer. June gloom--which can stretch on and on--has been blown away by the dry winds, and we are left with an infinity of blue.

My mother is thrilled when it's warm and sunny. She likes to sit in the sun in her tank top. When it's gloomy and damp, she wears long underwear under her pants and a t-shirt and a sweater over the tank. "Sunny California!" she scoffs then. "Ha! Where's the sun?" The temperatures listed in the L.A. Times give her false hope. It's always a good ten degrees hotter there.

This afternoon she chatted with her sister on the phone as I sat upstairs in my room reading. I was engrossed in "The Feast of Love" by Charles Baxter. Transported by the novel's big proclamations about love, transported my my mother's voice--louder and stronger than I've heard it in years--I found that I was picturing her in our house in Iowa, stretching the long curling cord on the wall phone in our kitchen as she reached for her coffee cup or her pack of cigarettes. I was in my girlhood room lying across the old four-poster bed, reading--but also thinking I should be listening. This loud voice, this enthusiasm--what was she talking about? Wasn't there something I should be learning from these grown-up women? But I was reading.

There's something in the air here. We are breathing, opening our hearts to our past and future selves, diving in and out of the present.


Ms. Moon said...

Denise- this was transporting in every way.

Elizabeth said...

This is gorgeous. And you, you, you. That photo of you is YOU. I see the you that I know. Truly.