Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Rain Delay

When I Look At the Old Car
by Marcia F. Brown

When I look at the old car
backed into the cleared-out space in the shed,
I can almost understand
those bewildered men who leave
their softening wives in middle age, up-
and-walk-out after decades
of marriage and family, to take up
with some buffed and waxed young thing
with great lines, horsepower
to burn and a dazzling array
of untested equipment.

When I look at the old car's
headlights, dulled with disuse and staring
at me, as if to say, What did I ever do?
Wasn't I always good to you?
Turned over every morning, rain or snow,
to start your day? Kept you safe
all these years, mile after mile?
And I'm filled with guilt and say with feeling
You're absolutely right. You were the best. There'll never
be another you
, as I glance surreptitiously
at my cute new model sitting in the old car's space
in the garage and explain, You just got old. 
You're falling apart. And besides,
I say,
I've fallen in love. We're already living together.

And the old car looks like it might be wired
to explode. 

So I walk across the yard
and look at the new car,
and it occurs to me that before too long
the new car will be old, the suspension
will sag and things will fall off.
And like the lout who'll use up
his young fling and want to trade in again,
we'll deny that we've put on some miles ourselves,
dump this one in the shed and go shopping--

until someone lays a firm hand on our arms
and says Enough. You just can't drive any more.

I love this poem.  What an ending!  I considered sending it in a letter to my mom's friend, but thought, what if she got the wrong idea?  What if she thought I called her an old car?  I decided against it.  But her friendship with my mother reminds me of mine with a best friend from college who called out of the blue last night. I was ecstatic to see her name on my caller i.d., and surprised.  "Is everything okay?" I asked.  "Of course," she said.  "I just called to say hi." My gut fear that something was wrong reminded me of what I had discovered earlier in the day: I've been moving too fast. 

It's a cozy rainy morning and my dog has been oversleeping lately.  Because the dog is my alarm clock, I have been oversleeping too.  But rather than feel guilty or even sheepish about it, I am taking this opportunity to catch up on Nothingness, or the cozy Somethingness that is: blankets, the rain outside, sweet stacks of books and lamp light throughout the house.  Though I have been fighting the concept rigorously, I am finally surrendering to a post-vacation rest. 

In the spirit of paying attention, I will post a few pictures of the tiny moments that have been arresting my buzzing mind, bringing me back to the blissful physicality of the present tense. 

Picture 1
My gray-faced dog
who paws at me continuously since I arrived home, bringing the much-needed message: Enough with your agenda already!  Let's play.

Picture 2
A front-hall composition, complete with shiny little hatchet my husband (inexplicably) deposited there.

Picture 3
Naked baby pic!  This is my nephew who, through shrill and explosive laughter, relentless requests fruits and vegetables, and a curious addiction (discovered last week) to kale green smoothies,
brings me back to the present in nano-seconds, settling into the abundance that is

The photos are all a little blurry, but, I admit it!  I kind of like it that way.

May we all make time to count the ways we love today, 


  1. I need that hatchet.

    But seriously! Hi and welcome back! If you've been watching the weather channel (like my mother does nightly) you would know that today in L.A. is slated to be the "hottest of the year." In other words, I would kill for a cozy, cold, rainy morning. LOVED hearing about yours though. And of course the poem. Off to yoga. xo!

  2. It is weird to be so cold in my bones! I am totally cranky and unprepared for this turn of the weather--which shows you how often I watch the weather channel. (It seems your mom and my grandma should hang out though.) Even though cold weather is my favoritest, I am not sure how I feel about this rain...

    But top o the ice bath to yuze in L.A.!


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