He taught a class at the college, which I took. It was interesting. There was never any energy between us. He didn't even seem to want to be my friend which was not something I experienced very often at that time. I wasn't exactly in love. I was ... I dunno. Compelled. I wanted to connect.
We walked out of a restaurant in SF and my friend pointed out that he was standing a few feet away. His hair was longer and white but otherwise he looked the same. Just. Beautiful. I said his name. I said, you don't recognize me do you? He didn't but he smiled.
Right before all of that I'd heard the story of a friend who had an aneurysm a few feet from where we stood. Her partner's eyes filled with tears as she told me. Waves of memory shook me on that corner.
I don't really claim anywhere as home. I grew up in my grandparents house being told the mommie and I were lucky to live there. We were always going to move when the mommie could afford it. We had a small apartment for a few years and then moved to a house in Maryland when the mommie married K. When I graduated from high school I rambled around. Landed in Colorado for a long time. And then New York and SF. Everywhere felt temporary. But in SF I felt home. I felt congruous and right. I didn't leave because I wanted to and ... you know. Like the song says. I left my heart.
He didn't turn out to be the love of my life. San Francisco is not my home no matter how it feels. I can't even imagine how I could be there again.
So. I'm back in my nest. I do love my nest. Baring unforeseen circumstance I should be here for what's left of my life. It feels like my home. I've made it my home. To the extent that I am able to feel at home. It just doesn't come naturally.
But my heart ...
I've always given my heart too easily. To men who didn't really want it. To organizations and beliefs in which it never fit. To jobs that barely noticed when I left. I was always willing to lay it down.
I often refer back to that conversation between Moyers and Parker Palmer. You can watch it here. It feels relevant all these years later. In it he articulates a notion of the tragic gap.
"The tragic gap, and I call it tragic not because it's sad. It is. But more fundamentally because it's an inevitable part of the human condition.
Tragic in the sense that the Greeks talked about it. Tragic in the sense that Shakespeare talked about it. The tragic gap is the gap between what's really going on around us, the hard conditions in which our lives are currently immersed, and what we know to be possible from our own experience."
He talked about it especially in the context of middle age and depression.
"I was living by oughts that weren't mine to act out. I mean, there are a million oughts in the world. There's a million ways in which I ought to be serving the world. But the ways I'm gifted to serve and the opportunities that come to me to serve are not a million. They're more like one, two, three, four dozen over the course of a 70-year journey."
We drove back into the Gorge through a cloud of smoke from the fires that were still raging. It was unnerving. I never felt at risk but it's unnerving to be so close to so much damage. We had a few days of rain and things seem to have calmed down. But now there are worries about landslides.
Two moments now. Two that organize around a man who doesn't remember me. I don't even mind. It's just my heart. It's on a corner in North Beach.
I mean. I'm here in my nest. In the chair by the window with a book. The sun making me woozy. The nest smells like peaches and tomatoes. There are dahlias and marigolds on the counter. I'm fine.
But my heart...
"Because if you don't have a capacity to hold the tension in your heart between reality and possibility then you're just going to give up eventually."