The Buick’s windshield covered with heavy dew obscures our road in blurry wet shapes. Up ahead–just to the left!–oh look, it’s a coyote. No, it’s a fox. Darn it, it’s a blurry wet windshield reflection moving into tall waving grasses.
Deep longing to know. To bond with tan-red wild creature skulking into the sunrise. To know its name. To feel its feral wildness, its unknowableness.
I will never know.
And maybe that’s OK.
Longing–a constant companion since childhood. Always something in me longs. It longs to write, to express itself, to sculpt into words all feelings rising unbidden in the heart, a new feeling every five minutes appearing to contradict the last quivering feeling.
You can try to live a dignified life doing all the right things, can’t you? Until Lady Passion arises with her desires, her demands, her insistence. She rues the respectable, the acceptable, the appropriate. She wants her cup of coffee when she wants it–no matter if the body whimpers.
She wants to check her email when she wants–no matter if she checked it five minutes ago.
She wants to blog when she wants–no matter what the more measured observer thinks.
Lady Passion, Lady Longing, barefoot, long skirt, fishing for creativity beside the stream of your heart, daring to whistle, daring to call attention to herself, her desire ripe as fresh figs.
She’s a curse and a blessing, isn’t she? She’s a siren and your savior. She leadeth you beside churning waters and she sprints with the coyote/fox before the sun rises singing, “We shall not be tamed! We shall not be tamed!”
Part of me wants to be tamed. To be measured. To live as a Business Manager ought. To live by schedules and deeper knowings.
Not to be tossed & turned & cavorted by Our-Lady-Wh0-Wakes-You-In-The-Middle-of-the-Night to tease with regrets and possibilities, to urge us toward the Huron Mountains when our feet instead pace the path most taken, the black-topped road of civilization.
I’ve fought Lady Longing most of my life, that crazy woman who guided me into Native American sweat lodges, who dreamed me out west into Montana with Brooke Medicine Eagle, who often lullabies these blog posts. She throws me over the edge, she does, when I want to hang fingertips to the known, clinging to what delighted me yesterday.
I’ve adored Lady Longing most of my life, that angel-savior who gives life meaning, who insists never-ever, never-ever become complacent, predictable, comfortable in the dust of routines.
Some day, maybe today, she and I will sign a truce. We’ll ink it in turquoise blood. We’ll place hand-over-heart, hand-over-heart, and pledge evermore to accept what arises. Perhaps Lady Longing will marry Lord Knowing and they’ll live happily ever after not caring if their children are fox or coyote, or even if you can see out of the blurry windshield of your life.
How has Lady Longing shaped your one wild & precious life? Do you lock her into the closet of your confusion and throw the key far, far away? Do you run with the wolves, sleep with the mice, and quest beneath thick red roots of cedar attempting to discover her secrets?
I “quest beneath thick red roots!”
I do and sometimes just sometimes
I find another who is moving within
All the wonderful entanglements of LIFE and we wordlessly honor each other
And each other’s presence!
Just sometimes we find that other and it makes it all worthwhile. Beautiful, Fountainpen.
Years ago I taught high school for a time in Baraga. Your blog reminds me so much of those days and the very private, yet somehow communal, way of life there. I’m looking forward to your winter posts. BTW..one of my favorite books in all the world is “The Diary of an Isle Royale Schoolteacher”. Are you familiar with it?
Karen, how nice that you stopped by my blog. You would have enjoyed my outdoor blog (which I posted in 2008-2009) which actually talked a lot about life here in Baraga County with lots of pictures. I have heard of that book but have not read it yet. It’s on my to-read list now!
I am very glad that you put this up, just now. I also hate it. The target for the squished down longing turned to grief from being ignored or excused away, vanished. How creative do I need to get before I am seen? When I am seen and then you crush(not you, a random you) that from me, shoving me into your own dead, boring, passionless life that you also cannot stand, why do you spew forth hatred and restlessness at me. I was never tame. I chose to sit still. I chose at great cost.
I just want to die Kathy. and then I blink cause I can’t see…and I’m distraught and I’m really angry as hell at being the squished, at having to know that you are under NO obligation to allow me to have any worth at all (remember not you personally), but it SUCKS!! Maybe I think that I have it wrong. I want to LIVE AND LAUGH AND PLAY AND CREATE AND EXPERIENCE, because there have been long long times where, things were out of my control and I’ve had to stay sane and loving, and creative. I can’t live without it. I don’t want to be a shell.
I’m a witness to as a never known you to be tame one, Elisa. Regards.
Elisa, I read, then re-read your comment, not wanting to accept it, not wanting to believe it applies to me. But it does. It really, really does. I am the squished. I’ve known it for a while, you just put it all into words.
Oh Elisa… How creative do we need to get before we’re seen? How can we live in that alive, passionate life without turning to stone, without growing such a thick shell? I don’t know the answers. There are so many parts of us and perhaps the longing is only one part that’s valuable. I do know that when I get close to the moment watching the sunrise and just being here–not in the mind’s tumultuous storms–that it’s possible to move beyond the anger and frustration and feel the joy of being arise. In that moment it’s all allowed. Just sitting here feeling right now. Thank you for not letting yourself be totally squashed…
oh my god — are you me?
LouAnn, they say we are all “One”… It’s good that we’re not alone.
yet there are so many I am seemingly not “one” with — maybe I will just have to look a little harder
LouAnn, I am not sure Oneness can really be understood with the mind. Our minds as humans are too convoluted, too up and down and all around. I think it can only be understood beneath thoughts, in a sense of knowing. Of course I don’t *get this* all the time–only in glimpses. That feels like true “intuition” to me, the knowing that lies beneath and over and around thoughts and emotions. So hard to put into words.
I’ve never thought of it the way that you have, but longing has always shaped my life.
I thinking longing is a gift and a curse. I think it’s part of being human. It’s kind of like the genie in the box. Dare we let it out?
Wonderful post, Kathy. I love the line about Lady Passion being both a siren and savior. What a beautiful image–not just the language but the truth of it, as well. Have you read the memoir called “Wild” by Cheryl–last name begins with a “G”–can’t think of it. It’s brilliant. Can’t recommend it highly enough! Have a great day, my friend!
Hugs from Ecuador,
Hi Kathy, I think you have followed Longing around this spinning globe, haven’t you? And YES to your question. I have read “Wild”–our whole book club read it–and I loved it very much. It spoke to longing and pain and redemption. It was wonderful. You have a great day as well!
I would like very much if Lady Longing and Lord Knowing married. What a perfect union. I try to balance knowing with it’s-okay-not-to-know, with varying degrees of success. I think longing is about to win one today. I’ve watched a blogger-jeweler prepare a book on resin-making, and though I have NO experience with it, I long to learn.
Oh Heather I SO want them to marry. I have been such a matchmaker for SO long! *grin* Have thought that it’s not a perfect science, this inner balance. It’s more like we tilt one way and then come back and tilt the other. There’s a magic balance in the way the scales tilt back and forth–if we let it be OK. Will you blog about resin-making?
You are so right about the inner tilt!
And probably about the resin. I bought the book, and gave Tony the heads-up about my next project 😉
Truly a shimmering, brilliant post, Kathy. I want to howl and then run and hide (in case “someone” hears me). You, as always, express “it” so well. Thank you!
Susan Dee, I swear you need to live in the woods so you can howl. However, if you howl out here in our woods the guinea pigs will start yowling and ohmygoodness someone will be longing for peace! Thank you so much for appreciating this.
Dear dear Kathy, All I can say to this is WOW! Your words strike straight through to the marrow. Beautiful!
Susan, I am so glad this spoke to you. I was feeling such longing this morning and knew–just knew–that some of you would recognize our old friend.
Oh all those other lives we would like to live, yet we choose the safe and “normal,” and I wonder how much of the exciting do we miss. Perhaps in the “next” life it will be different.
Lucinda, that is indeed an interesting thought–who knows what the next life will bring? One of my life long goals has been to see the exciting in “normal”. Like to see the canned salsa as wa-la-la! To see the sunrise as Venus Rising from the Mist. To not miss the exciting in the ordinary, to please God not miss the gifts hidden in our ordinary lives.
Such a wonderful thought. I may have to borrow that one. Thanks!
Longing isn’t reasonable. She contradicts. Longing both for the free underbrush and the stable, comfortable routine I am torn by desire. It stills me. I am unable to move, unable to choose. I want it ALL.
Lisa, you make such a good point–wanting it ALL. Yes, I think that’s where Longing often points. She doesn’t want to be confined in singular separate experience. She wants it ALL! Yes, thank you for sharing that insight.
For now, for awhile, Lady Longing must be a quiet figure in the background. She must be patient.
I hug your Lady Longing this morning, Carol, and see the light shining in her eyes. She knows her time will come again.
We hang out together, she and I. I’m well past the need to be too respectable. Each day I look out and hope for miracles – sometimes, I find them. I’m reading your poem-words on a sunny morning here in CO, but rain fell hard just before dawn and the clouds over the mountains tell me I shouldn’t venture too far from home. I had the best cuppa first thing – a chocolate chai latte. Doesn’t that sound sinful? It was so smooth and delicious. If the day turns rainy, I think I’ll have another – just because. I’m reading a good book, Kathy – The Gravity of Birds by Tracy Guzeman. A compelling story that I don’t want to end.
Chocolate chai latte sounds sinful and delicious, Barb. It sounds like Lady Longing brewed that cuppa and swirled it with dreams of Bird Gravity and I shall look up the book and decide what to drink immediately after responding to your comment! Happy Miracle Hunting. I, too, shall look around for a handful. OK, maybe one. 🙂
“…who insists never-ever, never-ever become complacent, predictable, comfortable in the dust of routines.”
Kathy – I love the way you penned this post — addressing both sides of the bleeding edge blade.
As anal as I am about a place for everything and everything in its place, and dotting my I’s and crossing my T’s, if it’s one thing I’m not, it’s predictable. “Routine” is a siren’s song for me. It calls to me, beckoning… but once she gets her hands on me she wants to hold my head under water ’til the bubbles stop…
Oh yes, Laurie, I too am familiar with the part of self that likes those I’s dotted and T’s crossed. Hoping that we neither drown from the siren of Routine or Longing. Keep those bubbles coming~~tee hee~~that may have been the wrong thing to type! Happy Thursday!
Kathy – I’m a day late, but not a dollar short. Happy Friday, right back atcha:)
I shall not be tamed. You shall not be tamed. We shall not be tamed. Shall never be tame, in the midst of passions that yearn for expression. You write so beautifully, when your feral wild side comes to the surface. Fondly.
Deb, thank you for stopping by with your untamed words. Don’t you lov eit when our feral side comes forth and you can see those sharp teeth hungry to hunt for our Longing’s sweet desire? Fondly back at you…
You are so welcome, John. I thought many of us might be familiar with Longing’s call. Yours called you north to us…
Ok, wow! I am finally breathing again after reading your post. How is it that you, so far away, can put into carefully crafted word, the thoughts that I have,and can’t express. Lady Longing…I know her well…..
Did you really quit breathing, Bonnie, lol? So glad that this resonated with you. So very glad!
And here I was thinking I was unique in my longings for a different life. Somehow it is comforting to know there are so many feeling frustrated as well. It IS hard to do what we’re ‘supposed’ to do when all we want is to run free, explore, write, create music, paint, dream. Sigh. Some people call that retirement but it’s so darn hard to wait.
Retirement, Dawn? Hmmm, wonder what that might be. lol. One of the “perks” of living up here in the woods is that we don’t really have *much* of a retirement. It is comforting to know that there are so many of us who have to carve a space for Lady Longing in our lives. To learn to live with her as well as Sir Responsibility, too. Sigh…
Lady Longing is so exhausting! Sometimes I want to lock her away, but she won’t have it. *sigh*
I swear, Stacy, we could put her under lock & key down in the dungeon of our soul and she’d still find a way to swim upwards through the lakes and veins into our heart. I think some are more successful than others in learning how to co-exist with her.
Very beautifully written, Kathy.
If the button said “love” instead of “like” I’d push it. I love this post because it is exactly how I feel. I have had this longing forever. I feel it every day and feel it when I see my most favorite wildlife – the fox – and when I’m on the road at night and pass by homes warmly lit inside. Sometimes I’m successful in melding my “supposed to” life and my wildlife life and sometimes I’m not. I have learned some of Lady Longing’s secrets–just enough to both relish them and keep them at bay. Thank you for this beautiful post, Kathy.
Hi, Patty! Don’t you wish there was a *love* button that we could push for our favorite posts? Glad to know that so many of us have experienced this and have learned to live *sometimes* with our Lady of the Longing. I love the bushy tail of the fox, don’t you?
You really hit a chord, Kathy!
My Lady-longing is not spontaneous at all (like yours). Sometimes I wish she would be, but she is definitely there … longing. Today she is longing for rest after a whirlwind two-and-a-half-week trip away from home, and for a computer that doesn’t keep giving her trouble. Lovely blog post, Kathy.
Hi, Lori, sometimes my Lady of Longing is very spontaneous and sometimes I refuse to be spontaneous at all. Hope you had a wonderful trip! We are going hiking this afternoon at a local waterfall but am planning to go read blogs tomorrow. So maybe I’ll find out how your whirlwind trip was. And hopefully your computer is behaving!
Computer is better, but still with some bugs that just won’t go away. I may need to tell Sony to send me a new one. This one is under warranty. My trip blog will be posted on Monday. Hope you had a glorious time hiking by the waterfall. It’s nice to take pictures with your mind, but hopefully we’ll get to see some, if trusty camera went along.
The camera went along but it was not an idea picture-taking day. Dark and gloomy. But we shall see what turns up! One never knows… Will look forward to reading your post on Monday.
I believe we humans are cursed with knowing our ultimate fate and that knowledge is what initiates longings. If we could only live in the now the longings would surely disappear. This is such a profound post and so beautifully written Kathy. Kudos!
Hi, Dor! You know, they say that when/if we succeed in living in the Now our longings WILL disappear. I wonder if that’s true–or if we can simply feel our raw longings more fully and then allow Life to decide whether they shall be fulfilled or not. Do not know… Thank you for your kind words about the post. So much!
Why is it that you can always touch my heart where it needs it most, and make the tears flow? I yearn to dance freely with lady longing and not let my fears keep her chained.
Lisa, I love when that happens as we read our blogging friends. Certain posts just resonate so deeply with us. Darn our fears and their chains. May we keep staying present with what arises and let that genie out of her vessel when the right moment arises. Thank you so much!
You’ve been on a wonderful blogging roll lately, Kathy. So enjoyable.
Kat, I can’t believe these words and paragraphs and blogs tumbling out, one after another, non-stoppable almost. I promise not to write today! (And shall try to keep that promise, as we’re going hiking at a local waterfall soon.) Thank you for your kind words–and that you are enjoying these stories.
Welcome or not, longing is a worthy friend who will guide us unerringly if we are willing to listen. I love the image of longing that comes through with your words, it cries out for an illustration:)
Colleen, it’s so funny. I saw that you commented on this post and had no memory at all of writing it. Couldn’t even imagine what it might have said! Bless you for listening to our worthy friend, for feeling her.