Mud Pies and Bones: Writing and Art

from the Rocky Mountains

Lucy Simpson

Lucy Simpson
Monument, Colorado, United States
December 20
The Cleaner
I am a published poet and exhibited artist living in the shadow of the small, but lovely Mount Herman, a part of the majesty of the Rocky Mountains. I raise children, tend gardens, cook, write, clean, sculpt, read.....................................................................................


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MAY 18, 2010 12:43AM

When April Was Cruel and May Was Even Meaner

Rate: 16 Flag

Snap Dragon

flowers look wounded

Every year, spring felt like the greatest insult to me, as if the sun was shining too brightly on all my imperfections.  It was harder to hide in doors, harder to cover my body in bulky coats.  The very brightness of the flowers stabbed my eyes.  Pollen infiltrated my nose.  All nature was having a fucking orgy and I was allergic to it. Plus, I was depressed.  Being depressed in Spring is the worst.  It is when most people are happier.  

My parents died the Spring I was fifteen.  The greatest depression in my life began the April I was thirty.  Collette says that thirty is "the age of reckoning."  Jesus started preaching when he was thirty.  Realizing we have already lived or wasted half our life, we go through a second birth process.  For some people that starts earlier, for others, later.  We see our childhood, with the film removed from our eyes.  It is not a fairytale with mythic creatures, but very human.  Our parents, though different, are not unlike us, giving birth to themselves or slowly dying.

Mine were slowly dying.  My father was mentally ill, Catholic and unable to seek help.  My mother suffered severe anxiety, medicated with alcohol and was also very Catholic.  They did not cling to each other in this life, but fought with hatred bound, she accusing him of killing her and he accusing her of ruining him.  No renaissance could happen for my parents.  I see that now in the midst of my own re-birth and rediscovery.  

Strangest thing is: I can feel my bones as a teenager, sitting under the oak tree in November, barefoot, reading Shakespeare by a pale street lamp.  I was all about sensing - running through the Maryland woods barefoot, the briars scratching my legs.  Hugging the hirsute, warty old vine that gave me the worst poison ivy I've ever had.  This is returning to me.

I was in a cocoon that allowed motion.  I was child-like.  I remember being dismissed as stupid by "intellectuals" who didn't know what I was doing.  Having lost my childhood as a child, taking care of my mother during her drunken bouts and listening to my father's frightening tales of his own youth, I was trying to think and play like a child again in my sixteen-year-old body.  I steered clear of the letches for the most part, the older men, who saw a child-like woman, and wanted to possess her, to create their own lost childhoods perhaps.

I still feel an ache for my mother as all daughters do.  I see her wistful smile in my own and hear her stories falling from my mouth with my own embellishments.  If time travel was possible, would I go back and try to save her?  Would she let me into her house?  Would she slam the door?  I'd find a house on Lone Elm Lane with paper towels glued to the windows.  I'd find a woman at the door already in her cups before the sun's descent.  She would not meet my gaze.  Time travel is not possible.  Nor would it save her.  

I turn away from the past.  This Spring there is an ache of growing things, but there is a joy in the blooming thanks to allergy meds and a certain peace - a presence in the now.  My children help this.  They are advertisements for the joy of living in the now.  Later, we will walk and look at flowers and ants.  My son will carry is bloody sword, red paint on wood and my daughter will probably wear her purple fairy wings.

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this is beautifully written. I know a lot of people suffer depression in the spring. I know for whatever reason I often do. consonents and vowels here wrote a beautiful poem about being depressed at that time of year. not that it's necessarily any consolation.

but you write this in such a moving way. thank-you.
I think our bodies have that muscle/psyche memory for loss, and the time of the seasons naturally evokes it. Very strong writing, and knowledge that your children "are advertisements for the joy of living in the now" is one to believe in. (r)
Beautifully written, Lucy.
Lucy, this is a beautiful reflection. I am glad that your kids (and allergy meds :) ) are giving you some clarity, peace and focus in the present.
A stunning and beautiful post Lucy. "I still feel an ache for my mother as all daughters do." "My children help this." I wish you all sorts of happiness._r
Thanks for the kind comments everyone. Dirndl Skirt, you are right about body-memory. Sometimes it can sucker punch one.
"My son will carry is bloody sword, red paint on wood and my daughter will probably wear her purple fairy wings." Perfect ending to a well written essay!
Wonderful writing. Families are often so difficult.
"Our parents, though different, are not unlike us, giving birth to themselves or slowly dying." How true, how true. Stunning reflection and beautiful writing. R
Thanks for the kind comments.

this is sad and beautiful. You shine in this piece. I'm glad you are finding peace. Keep writing. Writing is fighting, as a famous author once said.