Three Greatest Gifts of Moving On: Everyday Magic, Day 481

“The three greatest gifts of moving on are forgiveness, hope and the great beyond,” Mary Chapin Carpenter sang today in “Leaving Song,” serendipitously playing on itunes shuffle at this moment. That line halted me just as I was opening this site to write a blog on my dream last night that Ken wanted Constant Comment, and we had to find a store right now that sold it.

I looked outside for a while, watching the heavy winter sky bank the horizon of trees, the branch shake up and down, and the squirrel speed across the deck railing to the intense interest of the cat inside. What am I moving on from or toward? I’m not sure, particularly at this moment when I’m mostly staying put, happy in my family, work, friendships, community, writing and art-making. Yet aren’t most moments in life, when looked at clearly, another way of moving on?

I’ve always been struck by the analogy in childbirth that each contraction is one step closer to the baby (and not having to have that contraction again) as well as the reality that each breath is one breath closer to death. The chickadees bounce on the bouncing branches outside, the thin powdering of snow blows, the moment stands up and shows its hand before turning into something else, predicable and not so predictable at once.

Meanwhile, for most of us, there’s always someone or something to forgive. I had lunch with a 65-year-old friend yesterday, who told me how she works with words such as “abuse” and “trauma” from her past, trying to understand how to live in relation to them beyond using them as shorthand for old interpretations. As I ready cialis online thailand myself to release The Divorce Girl into the world, I understand precisely what she means about not only how the past wounds are still, in some moments, fresh, but how forgiveness is an ongoing conversation.

As for hope, while I’m not sure it’s “the things with feathers” (obviously, it was, at least once, for Emily Dickinson), it’s surely something that travels with many of us. What I hope for, over decades, has changes from “I hope someone will fall in love with me” or “I hope for a great job” to mostly hope for health and clear-seeing. Hope itself moves on for most of us from what we believe we need so that we’re finally good enough to what we need to engaged with whatever life brings.

While “the great beyond” certainly refers to what’s beyond life, I see it also as the necessary and constant mystery of what composes life. It’s greater than us, or however we add or multiply our thoughts and thinking, and it’s beyond our control. Moving on could be moving on to stand, sit, walk, act, dream and think in good relation to that great and constant beyond. I often play a game with myself: I take the exact moment I’m living and wonder how it will seem when I’m at the end of my life. What will shine or endure? What won’t matter? While this game doesn’t stop my mind from spinning in its neurotic skids and ruts, it does allow me a glimpse of what I cannot name.

So here’s to moving in without going anywhere, and to the wisdom and music of Mary Chapin Carpenter.

Wedding Rings: Everyday Magic, Day 367

When he first put it on my finger, it felt strange, an alien being marking me for the mothership. How would I wear this for years? At the dinner and dance we held in a falling-apart barn after the wedding, I brought this dilemma to Ken’s aunts, three of us gathered tight in a corner to eat wedding cake.

“Oh, all of us felt that way,” Wilma said. “You’ll get used to it,” Eleanor added. They took off their rings, showing me how their fingers grew around their rings, leaving an inverse shadow. I did get used to it, and every so often over the years, I would pull off my ring and look at the white ring-shaped indentation left behind. When my fingers swelled during pregnancy, I even kept that ring off for weeks at a time, wearing it on a necklace instead, particularly during late pregnancy when I was warned it might have to be cut off if too much fluid expanded out my fingers.

Still, that ring was sized for me a long time and many less pounds ago, and so in the middle of our continuous excessive-heat-warning days this summer, I started to realize that the ring was too tight, too hard to get off. When I woke yesterday morning without it on my finger, I panicked and leapt out of bed hours earlier than usual to pull off all the blankets, looking for it. “There it is,” Ken said, all dressed and ready for his day, as he pointed to the middle of the bed. I must have taken the ring off in my sleep, a clear sign it was time to remedy what felt shrinking ring.

Last night, walking by the local jewelry store downtown, I saw the open sign was on, so I went right in. The woman at the counter, surrounded by shelves of crystal and silver, held the ring up as she filled out the order to enlarge it. “How

I'm ring-finger naked

much is this worth?” she asked. We paid Ken’s uncle Clyde, long gone although his good work travels on our fingers, $60 for both rings together after Ken drew out what we wanted on a napkin: a slim diagonal design composed of two interlocking leaves with the smallest of diamonds between them. You can barely make out the leaves anymore.

I had no idea on a monetary value so just nodded when she suggested what seemed like an outrageous amount for my white gold ring, poured and pounded in Clyde’s Oklahoma City garage over 25 years ago. A ring, a circle unbroken, or at least in my case, temporarily cut open and expanded and then sealed back together, kind of like how marriage is. Whatever we thought when we put those rings on each other’s fingers and said, “I take your hand,” was cast in a narrower circle, long before we were broken open by children, work, loss and arrival of friends and family, shifts to community and land. Years from now, when I take off this ring enlarged, it will be almost impossible to even tell where precisely it was cut and added to, all of life surging over time to seal itself into the promise of each moment.