Silverbelle C. Jane Taylor sends a Love Letter to admirers every Sunday. Here’s a sample:
“Dewey loves the rain. Or maybe I am just projecting. After he comes in, I enthusiastically dry him off with a fluffy blue towel. He bounces into my waiting arms, and we roughhouse. “Oh, what a good boy,” I sing his praises rubbing him vigorously. He wags, leaps, and pushes his back into the towel. Then he vamps around the living room like Muhammad Ali after rope-a-doping George Foreman. The towel over his back and head, he can barely see me as he prances. After I give him a final rub and take the towel off, he looks at me with those deep brown eyes asking to go out again into the cold April rain.
To T.S. Eliot, of course, April is the cruelest month. It’s the month during which we in the Northeast dare to hope. And you know where that leads. Lilacs breed out of the dead, rocky land; memory and desire mix up a muddy rut of disappointment. Or maybe he was just projecting? I mean, he did name his most famous poem The Waste Land after all.
I admit that I have not read the whole thing. Sorry, T.S., I don’t even know what T.S. stands for anymore. Maybe I did in college when I dressed all in black–except for that one turquoise dress—and focused on dark subject matter like Buxtehude’s Toccata in D Minor—organ music that sounds like Count Dracula’s thoughts—the real one, not the one from the children’s chocolate cereal. I’d listen on headphones in the college library in the dark scaring myself as I watched rivulets of April rain run down the length of the listening room window.
I double dare to hope. I hope for a Dewey-style rope-a-dope. No Waste Land here. Perhaps only a waist band stretched in the overworn yoga pants of winter, but nothing cruel, for sure. How can I give up hope when there are asparagus on sale at the co-op, the little skinny ones that are tender and turn tomorrow’s pee to odiferous waterfalls of surprise? And the spotted salamanders and wood frogs are making their way across rainy dirt roads to vernal pools to breed. The goldfinches are regaining their color, the peepers are back. It’s like a miracle. Now I’m projecting.
My husband tells me I do this often and give examples: “Isn’t this asparagus delicious?” and “Look at how beautiful the sunset is through those bare trees!” and “Don’t you just love the sound of the red-winged blackbirds?” and “The earth smells so beautiful in the rain.”
He is a yoga teacher. I am a yoga teacher in hiatus. Yoga teachers are not supposed to project their own emotions or experiences onto the emotions and experiences of their students. Like Siddhartha and Lord Shiva (who finds union in balance), they are supposed to take the Middle Way and steer clear of extremes. I do not. John doesn’t exactly take the middle road either. For him, yoga is a celebration he projects every morning on Zoom.
Maybe the Middle Way would have been good for ole T.S. who, fraught with unrealized possibilities, felt hurt by April’s mocking joke that hope only leads to disappointment. The Middle Way seems like a fine way to face April’s supposed cruelness, but it reminds me of that song from the 70s:
Clowns to the left of me!
Jokers to the right!
Here I am stuck in the middle with you.
Rope-a-doped by wet dogs* and muddy salamanders, I don’t stay stuck for long. I’ll not wait to find tranquility at the very end next to the yew tree. Instead, I’ll find the wonderfulness of puddles. I’m not a Pollyanna, this shit takes real work. “
And then, the Book Tour!
Here are some public highlights for May:
RSVP for any of these free events on my website, or you can just show up.
May 7, 11 am-1 pm – Cyclewise, New Haven VT – International Female Ride Day
May 8, 3 pm – GreenTARA Gallery, North Hero, VT – Mother’s Day
May 9, 7 pm – Pierson Library, Shelburne, VT – We’ll be nextdoor at the Town Hall
May 17, 11 am – 1 pm – Wagner Motorsports, Worcester, MA
May 20-22 – DownEast Rally, Phippsburg, Maine