Empty Cereal Box

Views From Inside an Adoptee

May 08, 2006

State of Grace

Another Moleskine moment.

This entire past week has offered me an orgy of gifts. Not the kind with wrapping paper, but gifts to the heart and soul. Human to human. The awakening of our interconnectedness unfolding before my eyes. It must be that it takes a terrifying threat, a push to the brink of extinction to shake us into awareness. To finally open our eyes to what indigenous people have known forever. Everything feels so upside down and twisted, yet somehow new seeds are getting planted anyway. Not seeds you can see, but energy seeds that nourish each other when in proximity, people getting together and without speaking a word knowing, understanding how fucked everything is and how vulnerable we all really are. I save most of this kind of paranoia to vent in my other blog.

In addition to the world situation, anyone who's been reading my blog knows I've been dwelling on my own pain from being an adoptee, thinking that I needed to shake something up, to make people listen to me and hope something would happen, at the same time knowing that unless those people were adopted, it would be like trying to explain the color red to people born blind at birth.

But for some reason this past week, things have been flowing. I seem to find the right book, run into the right person, find the right website, happen to be at the right spot at a certain time and everything falls effortlessly into place. Don't you just love when that happens? I'm going all spiritual on myself these days. But maybe that's what's finally going to melt this granite shell around me, the one that began to grow and harden three days after my birth, the day of my relinquishment.

I'm learning so much on a subtle level from those who visit Empty Cereal Box and leave comments; also I learn from reading their blogs. I must be an artist, I just don't have the confidence to pick up a visual medium and begin to work with it. Maybe my pallet is my heart and the Earth and other human beings are my canvas. I don't know. I feel like I just started kindergarten. I'm coloring now, but most of the color ends up outside the lines. That's okay. I'm not being too coherent here, but my heart feels fuller than it has in, oh, for as far back as I can remember. I've been reading Anne Lamott and listening to Eckhart Tolle's Power of Now, and something is breaking through. Not sure what.

I'm breaking through I'm bending spoons
I'm keeping flowers in full bloom
I'm looking for answers from the great beyond...
Yesterday I met a holy man. He's stick-thin and toothless. His pants, split over his cracked workboots and scrape on the ground in tattered flags. His matted hair and beard probably haven't been washed in six months. He rolls his own cigarettes, carries a six-pack of Miller around on the rack of his bicycle, breathes asthmatically, and punctuates his sentences with phlegmy coughs. Sometimes he visits our nextdoor neighbors, who I never speak to because here in the barrio, being a white woman doesn't give me many points and I get snubbed a lot by Mexicas. They don't understand how much I admire them and their culture, despite the fact that I give them plants to set into their yards when they move in. That's okay too.

R was standing at the curb scratching his head, looking down into the sand-filled hole in the sidewalk he had just cut with a concrete cutter. We'd bought bags of concrete and Quickrete to rebuild the concrete slab of sidewalk to meet the standards of Mr. Fancy Pants Important Inspector from Land Development. See, you're supposed to hire professionals, but we never do that. We always fumble around with projects ourselves, figuring them out as we go, making tons of mistakes and a big mess. When people see the end results, they usually howl with laughter. Like the time we tried to lay our own brick down in the back patio. "You did that? Har har hardy har har! You didn't know what you were doing there did you? You were supposed to do this and this. It would have been so much easier and looked so much better. Dude. This'll never pass inspection. Bla bla bla..."

Quite so. Anyway, R was trying to figure out how to get things up and started with the concrete. Where to put the concrete to mix it, how much water, how fast does it dry, how do you smooth it out, etc. etc. At that moment, the holy man, let's call him Mr. Tom Buddha, stumbled out from the driveway next door pushing his gnarled and oily bicycle ready to weave up the street after several cans of beer and who knows what else had put a toothless grin on his face. Tom Buddha saw R scratching his head, put down his bicycle, got down on his knees and began mixing the concrete, pouring it, directing how to smooth it, how much water, basically taking over the job like a trapeze artist juggling psychotrophic torches and rainbows. R and I watched him move, our mouths agape. He moved with graceful, dance-like motions, with calm certainty and ease. It took both of them about three hours to lay the slab. Then they stood around and talked, swapping tales, making friends, watching concrete dry as Tom Buddha sucked from the Corona R had given him.

Tom Buddha's mind is clear and sharp. His soul is larger than the sky over the city. He knows every homeless person on the avenue by name. He has more stories and jokes to tell than he has beers to open. He lives in a fourteen-foot trailer behind a sagging house two blocks up and near the hillside. I asked him if he was a vet. He said, No because he couldn't get into veterinarian school. He hangs out like a tattered guardian angel. Was here this morning at six o'clock to watch over the concrete slab to make sure it wasn't a graffiti magnet. He asks for little and gives all he has, which doesn't have much to do with material possessions.

The upshot is that Mr. Fancy Pants Inspector swung by around eight this morning, and hopped out of his big white truck ready to throw the book at R for doing a crappy job on the sidewalk. But when he saw the slab his jaw dropped. He shook his head with utter astonishment. The job had passed his white-ass scrutiny. He would sign the encroachment permit. He tore off the pink slip that was as good as his signature, got back in his truck, still in disbelief, and drove off. We had trumped his bureaucracy. Or rather ol' Tom Buddha had thrown a bucket of grace over our all our heads and laughed his toothless grin.

6 Comments:

Blogger Rhonda said...

What a lovely story. It made me want to run into Tom myself.

I must be an artist, I just don't have the confidence to pick up a visual medium and begin to work with it.

Your art is your pen on paper - and this essay is a perfect example of why it qualifies as art. It was simply beautiful.

8.5.06  
Blogger kim.kim said...

Echoing Rhonda. You are an artist. You are one fantastic writer. You truly make magic with words.
I am so happy the Universe is working with you too.

9.5.06  
Blogger Kippa Herring said...

You are an artist.
That's why I come here.

9.5.06  
Blogger Marie Jarrell said...

And so are all of you. Hey, it takes one to know one, right? Anyway, I can't tell you all how much I appreciate that you take time out of your day to stop in and comment here. I still wish you had a blog so I could visit you, Kippa. You seem like such a sweet lady.

9.5.06  
Blogger Mia said...

It seems I just commented on someone's blog about that song by Arrested Development called Mr. Wendal but I find myself thinking of it again here.

Yea, I say it a lot, repeat myself but I think it worth repeating~

Every single person on the planet has something they can teach us.

Loved it!

9.5.06  
Anonymous michele said...

I loved this post. Just love it. Thank you for sharing this from your life.

10.5.06  

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