Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Object Love

I was trying to write about something; I wanted to have interesting thoughts, but I had none. So I wrote to my friend Trish on gchat. She asked me if I had seen the show Girls, and I hadn't. Then we were silent for awhile and I said, "Okay, I have to go now and do Pilates." To which she replied, "Love." And I don't know if that was the subject she was suggesting or just her sweet way of signing off. But I took it anyway as Valentine's Day is tomorrow (which is my mother's birthday), and all the world's advertising is telling us how important love is. I agree. It is the most important thing. 

Photo Credit: Linda Todd-Limón
So many different forms of love. This week my heart has been stinging because my dad sold his house in the Northwest. A house I had seen built when I was 15; it was the house my little brother was raised in; it was the house my stepmom passed away in. It's hard to see such a beloved place no longer belong in the family. I wasn't raised there, but it felt very much like my family home; I'm going to miss it, and the land surrounding it, immensely. 

I was thinking of those women; the women who marry buildings and structures. The San Francisco woman, Erika Eiffel who married (can you guess?) the Eiffel tower. The Swedish woman Eija-Riitta Berliner-Mauer who married (can you guess?) the Berlin Wall. And how--to a much lesser degree--we can all love objects. What we pour into an object or a place, can be as powerful and as "real" as what we pour into a person. I feel that way about the house. We called it the Lodge when Cynthia, my stepmom, was alive. Afterwards, when Dad was getting back on his feet and learning to live alone and finally looking for love again, we called it Second Wind. And the name Second Wind proved a good luck charm in ways. It blew him right into the arms of a woman who couldn't be more perfect for him. It blew him straight to love-town, and with the new marriage, and a new life, retirement and all the kids out on their own, they're looking for a new home together. It's ideal really, the kind of good thing you would fall down and ask the universe for, your father's true happiness.
Photo Credit: Linda Todd-Limón

Except, what do you do with the love of an object, a place, a home? Where do you put it? This morning, I was thinking you may have to grieve it as you would a real relationship. You might have to think about it and cry and finally get to that place where you can hope it has a good life without you. You may have to write stories for it and poems and honor it. Of course then, it made me think of the poem One Art by Elizabeth Bishop (which is my favorite poem), the lines: 

I lost my mother's watch. And look! my last, or
next-to-last, of three loved houses went.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.

Then, I thought of Yeats's The Lake Isle of Innisfree and the lines:

I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,
I hear it in the deep heart's core.

And so many more. Love poems to places, to objects, to memories. Then, I thought that's why poets don't need to get married to buildings. We write poems to them instead. That's how we honor. So I have no need to be Ada Limón-Second Wind. I could just be me and let the "art of losing" lead me to a poem. That's how we love. 

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