"Oh, If only our parents were born at the same moment we were, how much conflict and bitterness we would be spared. But parents and children can only go after each other-not with each other. And so, an abyss lies between us, which, now and then, nothing but a little love can span." ______Rainier Maria Rilke*
What Mr. Rilke suggests, at first blush, poetically speaking, is an intriguing idea, though physically and biologically impossible.
Would you want parents born of the same age as ye?
Without the thorns, the torrent of tears, the maddeningly infuriating bit of sand in my soft oyster, would I create a pearl? Become a pearl?
I am a pearl of great treasure.
And so are we all, most days.
We who have survived, what we must survive, what we must haul out into the long light of the day and make whole. What thickets and booby traps lie ahead that much yoga, meditations and fresh juices, may ease, as our human corruptible selves arrive, often, tossing a wrench into the works, jamming the gears, halting the process.
No, I do not wish a set of peers for parents. To know the same things, to experience reality simultaneously, to have no space between living and understanding. Though they are, can be, have been, mysterious, aloof, tyrannical, silly and possibly even rejecting, I do not wish now nor ever this aberration. I'll stick with my flawed, un"woke", limited edition guides to this solid ground I too traverse dumbly.
Who would teach me of post-war Velveeta and Betty Crocker cookbooks. You would teach me to fear black people and leave me to undo the tangled mess alone? How would I have learned to lie to cover my real self only to be forced by constant grinding into rebirth? Where would I learn phrases like, my bedroom " looks like the wreck of the Hesparis", or, "you'll be crying before the night is over"? Or to eat parmesan popcorn by the bowlful? Or the first few lines of wartime songs that still cling to my newer repertoire? Or that while cleanliness is not next to godliness, organisation is damn close.
They are dead and gone. I can count the days of misery if I wish, or when feeling strong can revel in their unique and strange ways. Peg and Joe. They are what got me here. They deserve the glory for having shown up, alive and broken, from family trees twisted and fully human.
So it goes.
and so it goes.
A Year with Rilke, Daily readings from the Best of Rainier Maria Rilke,
Joanna Macy, Anita Barrrows.