Turkey-Free and Thee

It is an unexpectedly quiet time this year. I am usually quite busy with the cookery, the planning, the worry about what might go wrong with the pie crust or the streusel topping of the sweet potato souffle. But this year…well, it will be a far more sedate affair.

Affair…I hadn’t intended that. Funny how there are – oh, I dread putting it this way, forgive me – there are triggers that swing my psyche around and I get a mental whiplash. He will be sitting down somewhere to a meal with some other people and I can harbor a wee hope of familial upset. But not for long. It is surprising how that wave can wash over and then leave me on the shore, a bit damp around the edges but otherwise unharmed. I thought it’d be – well, like it was before. I compare it to the Grand Loss that We do not speak of and this is a trifling to that. Of course, remind me of this if I cannot find work of decent pay in a few weeks.

I am an excellent cook. I loved this holiday – I would write out the plan for the day – every prep timed, every hour noted…I could make an entire Thanksgiving feast show up on the table on time and everything hot. Sure, there might be a slightly browned croissant here and there but it was a classic issue in the family. We always, after mom died, burned one in her honor. So doing none of that…making (as is my plan) the Soup Nazi’s Mexican Chicken Soup instead as it will be useful for some time after. A few days eating, some frozen for later…it’s not a bad solution. But I think I will make a pumpkin pie. With real whipped cream because why the hell not..

But it is a strange change of pace…this sleepwalking through life. Most things are packed. The rest is in that stage of need/don’t need where I know the moment it is taped up I will need it again. There is a lot to be moved but I am reticent to do it myself – falling down a flight of stairs with heavy boxes is not a good way to start a new life. Well, it might be a great way to end an old one. At least he would be able to give the Rangers a real alibi.

I’ve taken the dogs out at least eight times today…they’re happy with the cold, damp weather – and here is my owl, hooting behind me just now. The cat better be careful. He’s a rather large specimen. The walks are good for all of us, I suppose, but it is hard to see all that I will leave behind. I watch as cars slow at the realtor sign, creep along the road and look at the place. I am torn between flagging them down and telling them all the good things I know here and standing outside with a rifle to send them on their way.

All things in their time…I try to keep this in mind – it was mine for as long as it could be and now someone else needs it as I did. There will be other vistas. One can actually – yes, TRAVEL and see other sights. I could return to Dream Lake, visit my burying ground – well, I know you cannot bury me there but surely one could pitch a paper bag into the arcing winds…I could nestle up against the snow, along the steep pitches and watch as other foolish girls wend their way up and up, not knowing that their heart that feels like bursting actually will break time and again.

I was thinking I need to start a list of things I would like to do. Impossible dreams and slightly less so. Learn to fly, learn to track and hunt, see the aurora borealis, learn to shoot a bow, learn to ride a horse, see the autumn leaves in a small Vermont town, take a nighttime sleigh ride to a place where the stars are clear and drink hot chocolate, snuggled deep in down coats and blankets, learn enough geology so I can identify the interesting rocks I find…nothing ridiculous, you see. Nothing overly ambitious. Just all the things I thought, as a child, that I would have done by now. Of course, I want to take all the courses offered at Thunder Ranch, too, but that does start to hit the ambitious and expensive level of dreams.

But these days the desires are more modest. A job that pays enough to live away from people so that I can live with my books and old movies in peace. And a reliable car. I really am easy to please. I am even amenable to manual labor if it pays. I’d actually not mind apprenticing to someone to learn a trade.

And all these thoughts because I am not distracted by a corn pudding or fitting a Honey Baked Ham in the fridge. It is a good thing, perhaps, to not be so distracted at this time. I ought to be focusing on me and what I want. Someone noted on Twitter, “So far you survived 100% of your worst days. This too shall pass.” – I really ought to put that somewhere prominent. Because I have. And it was one hell of a lot worse in many ways before. I suppose I am just so disappointed in myself this time for utterly missing the clues for so long. I must have been lying to myself…which is a terrible thing for someone who loves logic as I do.

But I had a plan, I thought, by which I could have all that I’d ever wanted. Sure, it was a barbed wire fence and not white pickets but…

“The plan which I had formed in the beginning, to give in in all minor matters, so as to keep what was of vital importance to me, had turned out to be a failure. I had consented to give away my possessions one by one, as a kind of ransom for my own life, but by the time that I had nothing left, I myself was the lightest thing of all, for fate to get rid of.”

I have surrendered so much – is it any wonder I cling to those things I have left? And what else might I have to cast from the deck to keep the ship righted? This thought carried in the darting glances from box to box, room to room. What have I not already given up or given away that I might have to live without? It makes my mouth twist in an ugly fashion to consider that I might have to lose yet more, and again.

There is a line in a book (Peter Straub’s Shadowland) that I return to again and again – “Wings or song?” You cannot have both. And sometimes in the darkest of faery tales you can keep neither. I hope to fool the Trickster and keep both.

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