Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Ice-cream castles in the air




I was typing at my computer last night and heard deep breathing, in and out, somewhat muffled, labored. I thought it was The Husband, snoring, in the living room and kept typing until a few minutes passed, when I got up from my desk in irritation and stood in the hallway to listen. The sound was coming from Sophie's room so I walked the three steps down the hall, opened her door and saw her lying face-down on her bed, the now-guttural sounds a frightening intake and out. When I flipped her over, her face was red, but she remained asleep, her eyes closed and her breathing quickly returned to normal. Was it a seizure? Had she had a silent seizure that left her face down, and when she began breathing normally again it was with a pillow in her face? Who the hell knows? Who the hell knows?

A very dear friend of mine has a beautiful sister, barely sixty years old, who is in hospice this week. Her family surrounds her with more love than one can imagine, but their mother has already buried two of her four children and my friend will have lost all of her siblings and who the hell knows?


The storm on the east coast whipped several cities and has already caused ten deaths. Living under brilliant blue skies and blinding sun here in Los Angeles feels like living on another planet. People in our country still argue incessantly about climate change and whether it's contributing to the increasing volatility of weather patterns. I'm on the side of trusting the majority of scientists and this who the hell knows would be directed at those who debunk the science. Who the hell knows?

Last night, I sat up in bed, sweating, still stuck in the throes of a nightmare where my wallet was stolen. That was all -- my wallet was stolen -- yet, I was bathed in sweat and terror. Who the hell knows?



I've looked at clouds from both sides now
From up and down, and still somehow
It's clouds' illusions I recall.
I really don't know clouds at all.


As I dressed Sophie for school today, the lyrics to Joni Mitchell's song played over and over in my head. Are they the most perfect ones of nearly any song I can think of with a melody that tears one's heart to pieces? Who the hell knows?

30 comments:

  1. yes, to the questions about joni mitchell, lyrics, and clouds...

    and...who the hell knows: i never thought i would see my beautiful, courageous new york city--where the me who is me was born--devastated AGAIN. it's like seeing a parent weep, to see this great city pummeled to its knees. breaks my heart.

    and, then there's dear sophie...take care, elizabeth.

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  2. I've gone all my life never listening to that song and then, for some reason, I must have listened to it almost ten times over the past few days. My mother-in-law's new husband & the love of her life has cancer in his colon, liver, and spine, and her youngest daughter is in the hospital being treated for Lupus. Enough is never enough. I agree. Who the hell knows.

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  3. No one knows. That's the deal. Not for sure.
    But Joni- she sure knew how to sing about that. She was stardust. She was golden.

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    1. And that pink dress she's wearing -- awesome, no?

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  4. So much more to think about here, but was your nightmare possibly a delayed response to Sophie's incident? Please take good care of yourself and be kind to yourself. Sounds like stress wreaking havoc, to me.

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    1. I like Denise's interpretation, below.

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  5. Yes, things don't make sense. I don't understand half of what I'm looking at, ever.

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    1. Your post today on your blog today made so much sense -- I mean, really, it was EMINENTLY sensible!

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  6. Haunting and Beautiful. Elizabeth, I wish I could take some of it away. I wish it would just slow down long enough for us to catch a breath of fresh air. But who the hell knows.

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  7. Wow. You made such an intangible experience so visceral. The older I get, the more I think I don't know anything. And how terrifying not to know what's going on with your kid.

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  8. And would it make a difference if someone did know? I've decided that my job is merely to ask the questions, smooth the wrinkles that I can, and go on finding music and art and writing that speaks to me. Yours does. Thank you for the song.

    Love.

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  9. I am astounded by the parallel of our lives, and wonder if perhaps we were sisters in another life? Thinking of you xo

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    1. Yes, maybe. Your comments to me are generally so mind-blowing in their perceptions that I can certainly imagine we must be related in some way. If not twins, then perhaps you're my wise, older sister from another life (and I know that you must be younger than me in this one!).

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    2. I am 52 (which I still have trouble believing) So in this life, I am still older..but definitely not wiser..just wackier, I think.

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  10. What's in our wallets? Our i.d/driver's license, money, insurance cards, credit cards, maybe photos or a keepsake or two. The things we must hold onto. Our illusions of control.

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    1. Thank you for this interpretation. I think that must be it!

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  11. Bill Moyer's has a video up on his website in his Faith and Reason series. He's talking with Buddhist Nun Pema Chodron. She talks a lot about not knowing, that feeling of groundlessness, and how one can find peace with the not-knowing. I found it a fascinating conversation.

    How frightening to find Sophie like that. My heart goes out to you.

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    1. Yes. Living with the questions is tiresome, every now and then.

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  12. Don't you find the older you get the less you know? Every time I listen to that song now I will think of you.

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  13. Yes, that was a scary moment with Sophie. So glad you followed your intuition and went in to check.

    The more we know, the more we know we don't know. It's life's illusions we recall. Sending love. N2

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  14. Shnozberries, i have lots of free time now. This song isn't in my Joni Mitchell repertoire yet, but if i were closer, i'd get it dialed so i could include it on my resume to you along with landscaping, surf lessons, and helping with Sophie (including seizure alert dog detail), and let's not forget fixing cocktails. I have references.

    And sheesh, regarding your friend, foof. Too many, too young, it's all too much. My friend's daughter just lost her husband in a freak accident. He was my age and they'd just been married in August. I curse and lament in different languages when 'what the fuck?!' gets old (jk it doesn't really, i just like to shake it up a bit)- 'con una chungada' when bewilderment is loaded with anger, and 'auwe' when it's just too sad to bear.

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  15. This I know: there is strange dark beauty in the unknowing.

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  16. I sure as hell don't know either.

    I do know that I love your writing.

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  17. How I love Joni Mitchell, Judy Collins, Carole King, James Taylor, Jackson Browne, Carly Simon...those poets of a certain era who also write their own music. What a generation of talent! And so many of them knew each other, worked together, slept together...the energy and creativity is mind-boggling. Thank you for reminding me of that glorious song, even in the midst of your difficulty. You amaze me with your generosity, Elizabeth. No matter what is going on at your house, you are SUCH a generous friend. I'm sending love to you and your family.

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    1. Oh, me, too, Karen! Me, too -- on all those artists. They are so amazing and poignant and innocent and knowing all at once -- truly inspired.

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  18. One of my favorite songs by my absolute favorite artist. Have you heard the version she recorded live in 2000? Contrast it with the '60s version -- one fresh and young, and one haunted and carrying the true weight of the years.

    Thank goodness you followed your instincts and cleared Sophie's breathing. As for your nightmare -- who knows? Financial worries? Lack of control? Anything might have prompted it, I suppose.

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  19. I really know almost nothing and what I do seem to know is pocked with colliding truths. Everything, lives, ours and all the others, are dependent on our best guesses. Somehow, I think we are intended to love the mystery. And that, too, is a guess. xo

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