Saturday, August 9, 2008

tiny radio gifts

I'm accustomed to having a commute now, and little old Goldie is feeling like mine. She sports my organization's logo magnet and the fake ivy I impulsively pulled off Lala's studio wall for my wedding hair. I may shop for a daisy sticker today, and I'm still awaiting the Just A Couple of Days stickers.

Goldie's radio picks up three stations clearly: WVPN (Charleston's Public Broadcast Station), a top forties shit station, and 70's/80's hair rock; obviously this really means I have one choice. I rarely think to tune to WVPN when I have a working CD player, because I can't really groove on classical stuff, and they lean heavily toward the old masters. My commute's timed well though for the newscasts and human interest stories and I keep hearing these amazing little gems that totally perk me up.

Yesterday morning they ran an interview with Ammon Shea. He has a book out about his experience reading the entire Oxford English Dictionary. His description of the monastic, meditative action of worshipping language actually made me tear up. He spent a year reading eight hours a day in the basement of a New York library- (the New York Library? What's it called?) It felt like I was a devout Christian talking to a monk who had made a beautiful illumination of the Bible. I thought, OK, if I have holy texts they are probably the OED and a Women Artists encyclopedia. (Encyclopaedia, *wink*)

Then on the drive home there was a great review of Conor Oberst's eponymous new album (he's the singer from Bright Eyes, who are, apparently, wonderful) that- again- moved me to tears. This time it wasn't the amazing concept of the piece but a memory and a perception shift that got me. The broadcast highlights his song "I Don't Want to Die in the Hospital." It took me back to mom's illness, when all I wanted was to see her at home among our normal, comforting things, and my own wish to die in my own nest someday tinted everything. Then, it was so hard to see why she wanted to stay in the glaring, sterile hospital room. I understood her instructions, "I want to keep fighting," and it made me proud but I didn't feel the fierceness of that until my grief had settled down, solid and real, into my heart. The song was a moment of really beautiful reflection- I saw her fire and will, and I saw myself aged and curled into my beloved quilt restful and quieting in death. I thought about births at home too, and shed some more tears for a missed opportunity with my baby, and then sank into a comfortable surrender to the choices we make and those we can't make.

I'm thankful mom chose her death, and I'm grateful my chosen birth plan was lost in favor of safety and health. I'm filled with sweetness that there are folksingers to make new mothers cry in memory of our mothers and that there are thoughtful, critical media voices sharing large and tiny truths.

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