Reading that book presently, every page fascinating. Got me to thinking for some weird reason- about a poem I wrote around 1999 (or earlier?) called “Holy Dust Motes.” The poem was published in Kaleidoscope, a literary journal that was publishing me quite a bit back then. The whole premise of the poem, was about capturing what I used to ‘get’ out of the Catholic church experience. I liked the ritual of it. I can’t ever remember my father attending, except for funerals, and he was the Catholic one who insisted that I, the only child, be Catholic too. My mother was Protestant but she made sure I attended catechism (at times the classes were with nuns), got my First Communion, Confirmation, baptisms for my kids…and when I was having a difficult pregnancy with my third son, I decided to attend the local church of my childhood on Sundays again. She sat beside me, and I often caught her crying during songs like Amazing Grace. My (late) husband had put the roof on that church himself. He’d encountered bees at the top but it didn’t phase him and the priest would tell the bee story at his memorial service years later when he died at 42 of ALS. Him, just a decade after (or less?) he put on the church roof, feeding tube inserted and still looking healthy:
When Sunday came, my mother let me choose where to sit, and once I chose that spot, I would seek it out every Sunday; so it was imperative to go early, to make sure the pew just behind the white pillar, blocking view of the priest himself, was not taken. Actually, it was not a popular seat, except it was my favorite. The church was beautiful inside, simple as far as churches go, but beautiful. The brown pews, always shining, with their long, cushioned pads that flipped down for kneeling. (There was lots of “Sit,” “Kneel,” “Stand…”) There was the big organ, and the choir on the balcony; behind and above; with men that sounded to me like women when they belted out songs (hymns?). But I especially was enamored with the very tall colored glass windows where the images were broken with black lines like mosaics. Without being able to see the priest, it seemed ‘acceptable’ to look around at architecture like the colored glass, because after all I couldn’t look at the person in the room who was speaking! My mother and I; I was about 13, a decade or so before we started the church-going, which we kept up for about 7 or 8 months:
There are always church-goers in the row in front of you, to the side, and behind you, of all ages. We sat by the beam, and my mother never asked if I minded the pillar blocked my “view.” She knew me well enough. We sat sort of in the center of the aisle on the left. Our seats were at least halfway back, it being a small church with a middle aisle and seating on both sides. Sometimes I’d daydream, trying to imagine a simpler time, when people seated in those very pews, arrived by horse and carriage in long dresses and hats. I’d imagine them there in those very seats. My research would reveal that in 1844, in a nearby longhouse, mass was first offered to 6 Irish residents there. Much later I would do DNA testing, always curious about my heritage because I am adopted, and I would discover I am 43% British and Irish. The church itself was finally finished in 1856 where my spry husband would re-roof it all by himself as a side job.
The church was situated in such a way in space and time, that sun showed through the colored windows to my left in visible beams that made dust motes noticeable. I seemed to be the only one mesmerized by the teeny twirling swirlies. The fluffs, barely noticeable, except when they glinted like the mica in a rock, or lit up like the sparkles in asphalt. The actual church, here, photo credit: https://www.google.com/search?q=st+augustine+seymour+ct&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjY3f-zv5HkAhUKrVkKHUgkAvMQ_AUIEigC&biw=1920&bih=888#imgrc=9_mPseX-G-yHWM
Note my beam, left aisle:
What thrilled me most of all was that- through quiet observation- all the while moving my lips and pretending to make sound (no sound escaped me), and the rising, sitting, kneeling, I would catch the sparkle of one dancing, hair-like mote and follow it until it landed on the head of a woman‘s coiffed blond hairdo in front of me, hair with a greenish hue from the stained glass windows’ reflection. Or sometimes a mote would teeter and tumble through a golden sunbeam, making itself known when it glinted, only to perch precariously on a bald man’s pate.
Energy and Spiritualism
Holy Dust Motes! That’s what I would think. And I am quite sure I am not the only one who has thought such things at some point in their lives. I stopped attending church when my pregnancy made me feel faint and over-sensitive to church smells. I eventually tried to put one of my children through the rites of Catholicism but in Confirmation class, when he was a teen, he and his friend were passed notes by clergy that said something to the effect that they had a nice smile. It was an “exercise” but I decided there are other ways to be spiritual. I believe in the gathering of masses of people with peaceful intent being pushed into the world in energy that goes somewhere and helps in its pure goodness somehow. I can get that through concerts where energy is big. A quick painting of peace:
But this writing is not about the pros and cons of church attendance, not at all, it is about the senses. About how engaging the senses is profound and every single person gains something a bit different from an experience and it is ok we all gain peace in our own way. So here is one Suess gem I greatly admire; from which my dust passion was at least partly inspired:
“I’ll find it!” cried Horton.
“I’ll find it or bust!
I SHALL find my friends
On my small speck of dust!”
Did Dr. Suess know, when he wrote that, how many meanings he was molding? I went on to study dust, to research it, and then to research all the subtopics, after the church-going ended. It is the specks I miss the most, but I still find the glints everywhere (rocks, walls, rain, puddles…) and each time…the accompanying happiness- probably not unlike the miners’ Eureka seeing their gold glints in their pans.
Kids in grade school used to wave their hands in front of my face- “Yoo-hoo! Anyone in there!? She’s in her own world.”
Didn’t they see? There was a sacred geometry to the pattern in the radiators. A golden ratio to rain-drips falling down on the other side of the tall classroom windows. I will never apologize for being me, for sensing as I do, for seeing as I do. For dressing like a mime, for identifying with them, for doing “eccentric” things. When I have an interest, I greatly pursue it- if “they” say I’m eccentric, I don’t care, I just do it!
When my husband was sick, I was 24-7 caregiver (I’d do it again) and I was having trouble expressing my self with art, which is a need I have. I identified with mime because you hate ’em or love ’em or they annoy you, and also they are creative and don’t have speaking as a requirement. I’m aware of how imperative it is to shed masks, mime for me, has no connection to that.
Mask vs. Mime, different
Masking to blend, means losing one’s own identity. To me, wearing mime, is to immerse in art, it’s a happy place. Here is a mime photo from that time when he was dying:
Note to self: DO NOT smile with the showing of teeth while in white mime-face because even if your teeth are white they will appear that they are not!
So I’ve decided to participate in an event that requires this:
I will try to stay up to date with my blog, and post updates.
When I have an interest, I greatly pursue it, If ‘they’ say I’m eccentric, I don’t care- I just do it!
All for now-
P.S. EVERY time I create art, write a blog, express a view- it’s a raw and exposed “feeling.” I feel that and let that lessen and I end up arting, writing and expressing all over again. Hard to be seen. Known.
My book’s at the following link: Under The Banana Moon, living, loving, loss and aspergers/selective mutism
Radiator image from https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&source=images&cd=&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=2ahUKEwjjwMzEu5HkAhVhh-AKHXOqDz4QjB16BAgBEAM&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.theoldradiatorcompany.co.uk%2F&psig=AOvVaw2Xq_lFjnNWFEVvlv1yBCzt&ust=1566391044236777