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a seed, a song, a cat, a move.

August 11, 2008

Because of the muddled nature of my pools of inspiration right now, the post may make little or no sense at all. You’ve been forewarned. I’ve nearly finished a really great book by Sherwin Nuland (whom I’ve blogged about before), entitled The Mysteries Within. The book is structured by organs of the body, about which Nuland shares his own surgical vignettes, and then delves into the convoluted history of Western mythological and scientific attempts to understand these body parts and their functions. Anyone familiar with the Medieval and Renaissance idea of the four humors has a leg up on the book. But, it’s fascinating none the less, and the last bit in particular. The last organ he describes is the Uterus, followed by a kind of epilogue about reproduction, as it has been reinterpreted, more generally. The most fascinating question on which all of philosophy, science, and religion seem hung up on is, in essence, who supplies the “soul” and who supplies the “body.” Theories (of course, pejorative towards women, on the whole) seem to fall into the camps of: women provide soul & men bodies (in the form of actual spermatozoan shaped like babies or horses or whatever), or conversely women provide bodies (in the form of uteran lining) and men provide “soul/essence”, or lastly– men provide everything, and women are just fertile soil, that can (according to one ‘doctor’) be replaced by warm horse dung, if necessary.

I’m not entirely sure why this has stuck with me so much, except that I have been thinking a lot about the elements of equality and respect that seem to the childlike mind so inherent and apparent, and yet are so absent in reality, in general. People seem to twist themselves up into balls of unhappiness just by thinking about what they don’t have, or what they are afraid they’re missing, or what else there life could be like if only they were ___________ (taller, richer, whatever: fill in the blank.) And as we came home tonight from a really ressonant concert in D.C., there was the perfect metaphor for what I’d been noticing in human behavior (including my own) all around me. Aiden, our regal orange tabby tomcat, has spent the last 48 hours sitting by the crack in the door to our apartment. He wants OUT. And we can’t figure out why. It’s quite out of character, since, generally, we can leave the door wide open and he won’t cross the threshold into the hallway at all (unlike our baby-cat, Zoe, who gets overwhelmed with excitement every time we come home and is likely to sprint right past us in her over zealousness). So finally, tonight, I opened the door and watched him slip around the hall, sniffing at every corner. When I would get close to him, he would begin to speak and cower a little, knowing I wanted him inside. I eventually corralled him, but since then he has been scratching at the door, meow-pleading, then running around the apartment sharpening his claws, grunting, sighing, and knocking things off of tables (his usual passive-aggressive, you’re-not-giving-me-what-I-want move).

So, like any good cat person (and if you’re a self-proclaimed dog person, this may bore you or freak you out.) I sat on the floor beside him so we could talk about it. I patiently explained, through his meows, that he had everything he needs inside this apartment, and why would he want to go out? Even in a cat, the disturbance to his happiness was palpable by the smallest exposure to ‘that which he does not have.’ The difference being, of course, that in human beings we either keep ourselves stuck and unhappy, we make peace with our lives and stop desiring things, or we let ourselves outside , get our asses kicked by a dog or a car or another cat, and retreat to choice a) or b).

Which, brings me back to the show Mark and I went to tonight. It was Jay Nash, Meiko, and Joe Purdy at Jammin’ Javas in Vienna, VA. Meiko’s spunky personality, wit, and the obvious adorableness coming from every pore won the crowd over in a second. Mark and I had months ago decided that one of her songs is our unofficial anthem for the time being. It goes like this:

There is something simply endearing about her persona, and her pop-y folk tunes, but her lyrics aren’t genius, and her songwriting and range are simple. Yet, hearing her play this song tonight brought me to tears. It, for me, is the simplest statement of the place where I am in my life, with Mark, especially. We are young, naive, gullible, smart, dreamy, fierce, determined, poor, scared, and happy. On Tuesday, we’ll be sitting down to sign the lease to a new apartment in Richmond, VA. We’ve been planning this day for over six months. It will triple the size of our current apartment, and provide us each with ample studio space, space to entertain, to garden, in short, to cultivate every latent hobby and curiosity and passion within us. And we’re scared, no doubt about it. And deliriously excited to have found a place, finally. Checkmate. But it’s the tiniest things that make us happy, not more room, or more stuff, or more choices, or more bills (duh), just the things that make us, us. We’re joking about games of Marco Polo and Hide-and-Seek in our new apartment. On the inside, I think we’re both hoping this test, this increase in ‘stuff’ doesn’t lead us astray from the kind of simple, bare-bones, sleeves-rolled-up love that we have. The real kind. The kind that comes easily, and yet works hard. May it bless this home.

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