I consider myself fairly simple in my wants. Unlike one sister who grew up riding horses and taking care of all the attending accoutrements, or the other sister who is an oil painter and so has paints and palette and brushes and easel, my favorite hobby consists of a pen and a note pad with which to write. I’ve written on planes and trains, hotels and hospitals, desktops and recliner chairs and standing in line, and so long as I had ink – preferably black though sometimes blue – and paper, my habit could be satiated.
Pen and paper and a cup of hot tea for morning journaling, a glass of cold water at night – and snacks. Fruit – fresh, dried, cut off the pit or chewed off the core. I’m orally fixated, so really – any fruit and most snacks will do: pretzels, raisins, hazelnuts. In summer a Popsicle. In winter a cup of homemade apple sauce warmed up. Anything to chew. Gum. Gum by the packet, two or three a day.
So. Writing and chewing.
And when my hand is tired and my brain empty, I turn to the TV to take in Blue Bloods, Black-ish, Say Yes to the Dress.
My habits are simple – but I sure have a lot of them.
A village woman stood at the periphery,
a jug of water balanced on one hip.
She held her daughter’s hand
until the young girl, bored watching
the scene in front of her,
pulled free to chase a lamb.
The woman waited for her moment
to slip between the important men
uttering prayers, slid an earthen
cup from a fold in her skirts
and filled it with cool water.
The new mother, mouth dry from
laboring in the dusty stable,
welcomed the woman’s gift
with outstretched hands.
She pushed aside the pouch
of gold, a vial of myrrh,
the pungent frankincense, and
patted the empty space beside her.
My new expletive is Mary Mother of God. I’m not Catholic or Jewish. When someone asks Are you religious? I say I’m spiritual. That just means I’m conscientious and reliable. It means I don’t want people who do believe in God to think I’m evil or – worse – to witness me. God forbid.
I cannot imagine this being, this entity, this overseer could be both kind and giving AND watch from a place of omnipotent authority without sending another comet our way.
I read of religious zealots killing in the name of their deity, of using women and children as shields against drone strikes – drones manned by faceless soldiers thousands of miles away. I hear of illegal-status women and children detained – mother separated from son, shackled and cuffed – in squalid facilities like one located just outside Philadelphia.