The Hard Things

Last night I had an idea for a play. And I told myself it was fine – that I would remember in the morning. We all know how that goes. And now it is gone.

I’ve been listening to radio theater and it is interesting to notice the playwright’s creative daisy chain. I would like that now. A daisy chain.

Yesterday I caught myself eating dinner, listening to a podcast and surfing the net all at once. And I wonder why I am not able to focus after 9 am.

Late last night someone sent me a wonderful goat video. I wanted to read a poem about a goat, but the only one I could think of was “Song” by Brigit Pegeen Kelly, and I wasn’t in the mood for that.

I started thinking about the perennial conversation E. and I have about art. He doesn’t use the term with a capital A, ever. He sees art as a form of escapism, not as a portal to a shared experience about what it is to be human. He doesn’t want to spend his evenings looking at the hard things. He says he gets enough of hard things. And isn’t that true of all of us.

And I can respect that. Though I find it inexplicable why we would have such differing attitudes about beauty and awe. Such differing approaches to acknowledging what it is to be human.

But then, I have seen his whole body express awe while overlooking valleys from mountain tops. Maybe that is enough for him. Everything. You can die on the mountainside. At any point of the journey. He doesn’t put it into words, or squeeze it into symbols. He has this, and maybe it is enough?

I would talk to him about this. Ask him. But I don’t think he wants to think about it. It just is and doesn’t need to be teased apart and put together again. If I brought it up, I think he’d just suggest a hike.

I like watching goats. Their pronking moves me emotionally in ways that I can’t keep up with physically or even intellectually. I envy them their in-the-moment joy. At least that’s what it looks like. But I will admit that there is something about their eyes. The gut-hooked association to Christian symbolism that I carry with me from childhood. The dangerous wildness.

So for me, the pronking kids will always have the darkness of Kelly’s “Song”.

Because this all this is true. And I am still learning to hold the paradox lightly and enjoy the flow.

4 Replies to “The Hard Things”

  1. There is a tenderness here amidst the flexing of muscle. No, no explanation. I feel something about two poles (myself included), but what? Some folk are just driven to “look” I think. (not right/wrong, just another possibility) This much I do know – I don’t have all the conversations I would like to have. What does a tiger think? : )

  2. I wrote a goat poem that was published in something called “Rock Heals,” which no longer exists, so I guess it’s mine again.

    Goat Poem

    You could be a child’s first word,
    easy as dog, dada.
    Poor man’s lawn boy,
    frisky pet,
    reason to claim the buns
    we never eat.

    On the way home from lunch
    with daddy
    I pick you for your looks,
    black and white,
    feed you bread
    through the chicken wire,
    whisper secrets
    over steady hum of traffic:

    I can’t afford my shoes.
    Squishing my toes in the mud
    didn’t feel as good as it should have.
    Being filthy rich would be nice.
    I have lost my way.

    I once loved a goat like you.
    Took him home.
    Named him Goat.

  3. Also, my husband respects and likes art but finds making art to be a product of self-absorption. He does, however, spend quite a bit of time doom scrolling, reading and talking about the hard stuff. I, on the other hand, only want to watch streaming TV.


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