to Carrie and Wil
There are no accidents.
Yesterday was a difficult one, and I spent much of the afternoon in tears. By dinner-time, my responsibilities as a mother seemed as burdensome as a factory job, and while cutting a lemon for dinner, the lemon not dinner, I knicked the nail on my middle finger of my left hand. It was the first time I'd used the knife, a new one from Japan, it said. Exceedingly sharp. Precise. A bead of blood rose instantly to the surface and then a line that ran down the crease and into the cuticle. It hurt. A heart throbbing in a nail bed. Oliver was circling around having picked all the Meyers from the little tree in our garden bed. A bounty of lemons hanging heavy and ripe, limoni, a Montale poem. Please don't pick all of them, I had told him. They'll keep on the vine but not if you harvest them. He didn't listen to me as his wont, and because he's fourteen and his wont also includes over-reaction, because he is newly part of a broken family, I held my tongue at least to something duller. I set my mouth hard when I saw the giant bowl of lemons on the counter. Why did you pick them all? I said as I chopped, while I chopped before I cut. He wiped each one clean at the sink as I held my finger under water, pushing the blood out. We were both silent. I'm not sure when the tension eased, but at some point he showed me one particular lemon with a tiny "4" etched into the skin. Look! Mom! he said. Isn't this weird? It was weird, and it was cool. I agreed, my mouth softened. You have to eat this one whole, he said when I told him that 4 has always been my lucky number (since the 4th grade, when I had Mrs. Delp, my favorite teacher, four letters, the number itself, four letters, room 4 in school), Oliver put it beside my bed.
This morning I woke up, heavy in my bed. My finger throbbed. A heart in a finger. The bed of a finger. Some months ago, my friend Carrie wrote about Alana Fairchild's Mother Mary's Oracle cards and guidebook. I'm a sucker for oracles -- whether it's bibliomancy, the I Ching, a book of poetry, Mary the Mother of God. I bought a set. This morning, I shuffled the deck, cut it and turned over the top card.
#4. Our Lady of Ripening on the Vine
I ask you to surrender your future-thinking to me. Although your future contains the promise of great blessings, do not let this distract you from the blessing I bestow upon you in this moment. I ask you to open your arms to my blessings in the here and now. You are the sweet fruit, heavy on the vine. The time for harvest has come. This is your time.
...This oracle comes to you as a confirmation -- there is something within you, something of you, that is ready. Even if the immediate reality doesn't match a fantasy that you have once held about how life would be when you would finally share more of yourself with the world, you are still ready and this is your time to shine.
...This oracle brings you a particular message that you are more ready than you think you are -- for whatever adventure most concerns your heart, or is already right at your feet. Do not shy away. It is your time for harvest. Open your arms and gather abundance to you. Trust that your abundance will benefit others too, because the more you have, the more you can choose to share and give. Do not be afraid to receive blessings and to have what your heart desires. The manifesting desires of your heart are the heavenly fruit becoming heavy on the vine and ripening, ready to be enjoyed. Fruit that is not gathered and eaten will rot, feeding the earth to be born again. So nothing is wasted. Yet that fruit could be sweetly savoured by those capable of receiving. There is so much waiting for you in this moment. Gather your harvest, accept the goodness and let gratitude fill your heart.
Damn if I'm not eating that lemon whole today, letting the sour and the sweet run down my face, clean my wounds. We've got bags of lemons to share as well.