"And it's one more day up in the canyon
And it's one more night in Hollywood
It's been so long since I've seen the ocean...I guess I should"
-- Counting Crows, A Long (September) December
If you are a fan of Charlotte Bronte and Moulin Rouge (which isn't a musical, I am told) you will believe, as I have done for most of my adult life, that love will conquer all.
These last ten weeks should have been chronicled, mined for the golden material, the heartache and pain and longing, but on paper, it all seemed like good, old-fashioned melodrama. As much as this has been the place for everything, writing this part honestly and without the wrenching hand-wringing, head-banging, brow-beating, Sirkian histrionics has been next to impossible, so I have relied heavily on photographs and poetry. ("The problem with most of us is, there is isn't enough poetry in our lives" -- Ann Forestier-Walker). If I were up to the task I would have written a bit every day but there are mitigating factors, people to protect, madness to keep at bay.
The truth is, I have discovered that love might not conquer all, after all. I live in eternal optimism. I greet each day as if it is my first. I bathe in sunlight, stare at the glittering trees, listen to birdsong, hug my children, galumph with the dogs, make endless cups of tea in extra large China cups, make playlists of the most cheering music, speak to my mother, my sister, my girlfriends, crack jokes, embrace my innerrrr pirate, focus on work (always focus on work: "make work your favorite"), thank the universe for this beautiful place, eat sweet nectarines, think about Kate Winslet's inner beauty, watch documentaries on Inspiring Subjects, remember Thelwell and treating others as you wish to be treated, make an evil plan for bringing back the chickens, draw pictures of the vegetable garden I see in my head, spread out on the hillside, sleep when I can. But sleep is elusive. And the truth is not kind. Love, it appears, is only half the story and as fiercely as you love, there are things you can't control, like sleep and the capacity others have for love, and damage. Damage does not diminish easily. Damage is insidious. Damage creeps into everything, even the good parts and holds on tight, like a deer tick.
No, love does not conquer all, but it helps you exhaust every single way you can think of to make things better. Love gives you eternal tenacity. In the end, though, you have to give up. You have to admit that you are powerless, that there are bigger forces at work and even if the Grand Plan is not immediately apparent, you can be sure there is one, and you must have faith in it, because you have no other choices left to you.
And so at two in the morning, I say to you fellow romantics and fellow insomniacs, try some warm milk and honey, say your prayers, close your eyes, and know that tomorrow will be better. And if not at least it will be an adventure.
Sending love. (Here's to Paul & Linda).