Wa? Wa is a Japanese term the meaning of which is morphing here lately, but originally it meant harmony or peaceful unity. It applies to personal relationships, living environments, and even corporate boardrooms. It also meant peaceful community over individuality. It’s a strange concept for westerners to grasp especially those of us in the cult of individuality.
Which I am.
I am all about the individual.
But I am also all about harmony between individuals.
I made the mistake of turning on the news last Friday evening. Memphis Police released the Tyree Nichols video. I only caught the tail end of it, but it was enough to bring tears.
I am in a foul mood.
The world, this country, seems to get uglier and uglier. I posted on Facebook a meme I made. A few people liked it. One person commented. Nobody shared it.
I am so tired of hearing:
“I don’t understand why he didn’t just… I don’t understand why she was wearing… I don’t understand why they won’t just fix their own country…”
I have written before about my dislike of vacuuming. It’s not just dislike, it’s a visceral hatred that suffuses all of me and makes my hair stand on end. Inevitably, the machine will clog, the belt will break, and I will end up cursing. Every time. Every single time. For now, and always and forever. This is true. I no longer fight it. I try to roll with the flow.
I am also not fond of putting laundry away. I don’t mind doing laundry so much, but right outside my laundry room door is an 11-foot old oak church pew. Fresh from the dryer clothes seem to end up there. And even if I do fold them, they tend to stay there. I often dress from the church pew in the hallway that is right in front of my windowed kitchen door. This is flirting with disaster. I am someday going to flash somebody.
Dusting also annoys me. I live on a dirt road. I have 3 dogs. I have laundry sitting on the church pew. I have dust. And it accumulates at warp speed. I often say I’m running a retirement for dust. Just as soon as I carry some of it out to the bin, a new crop arrives to take its place. It’s maddening. I can wield a can of Pledge for hours and admire my sparkling furniture and shelves, but by the next morning, it looks as if weeks have passed since anything has seen a dust rag.
Suffice it to say there is not much I like in the vein of housecleaning aside from making up a bed with clean linen sheets and a freshly aired duvet.
Appalachia was in the greening. That time in early spring when the green leaves on the trees were so slight, so new, so small, that they were more of a green haze than a green bower.
The greening on this April day was superb. The sky was the blue of a robin’s eggs with air so clear and so clean it was like Thanksgiving crystal before the feast.
With the revival of the garden, the greening, came the realization that winter was over. Happiness flooded Charlotte’s heart. On her knees, she pulled weeds from around the irises, making room for the hollyhocks to begin their biannual ascent. “I am blissful,“ she said aloud. She grinned though there was no one in the garden to see her or hear her.
Grief lives in my lungs. My lungs temper my grief – keep me upright, keep me alive, keep breathing…putting one foot in front of the other. Grief lives in my lungs.
I had quit smoking in the months before my dad died. I had tried so many times to quit smoking and this time seemed to be working. Oh sure, I had cravings, but I was managing them.
My mother called, “Come quick. It’s an emergency.” Part of me knew. I stopped breathing.
And then, I went tearing down the hill after putting shoes on. Normally I would have gone barefoot. I don’t know why the shoes. In case we had to go to the hospital? Part of me knew.
I was breathing hard by the time I got to the house. Shallow, unsatisfying breaths. My father dead on the floor. I quickly knelt and started chest compressions, went to blow air in his mouth. Cold. He was cold.