Sahil

So I go to the Hare Krishna free vegetarian

food truck in my animal fur hat

and sit across from a mechanical engineering

 

student from India and tell him my story

of being the daughter of a professor emeritus

in a house by the lake. He smiles at how

 

children take paths so different from parents;

who are your inspirations? Patti Smith, I say,

because she combines rock and roll with poetry.

 

Are any of your songs about Seattle? he asks,

and again I stumble over my words, perhaps

they all are, and he tells me that his name

 

describes what happens when sailors get stuck

at sea, and hope to see the shore again;

that is what it means, Sahil.

 

Patti Smith, The Moore Theater, Seattle, January 19, 2015

pattismithalbumcover

A mother / son pilgrimage to the punk goddess. I love how the photograph feels timeless, the bright lights and city streets and patrons lined up to go inside a theater, to participate in the ritual of live performance.

How I battled loneliness, came out ahead or at least broke even over the holidays

I was nervous going into the holidays because, well, because lately I crave communion with others, and this can be tricky when one lives alone.

I remedied this by various means. I accepted all invitations and if possible I added a physical component such as riding my bicycle eight miles to a friend’s house for Christmas dinner. I planned a trip to the small town where my parents live. I sent a text to a friend performing in a holiday broadcast, who then got me a comp for the show and took me along to the cast party afterwards. I agreed to meet families with young children in the park even though it was freezing. I called my son. I arranged for some home repairs to be done and I stayed around to take part. I purchased tickets for the upcoming Patti Smith concert. I drank cider with a mom and her baby. I savored red goat curry. I accepted a ride from a stranger. I called a theatre school and spoke with the admissions director about the classes. I walked many blocks to a bar which was closed, musing about how I like to throw myself across the world’s path. I followed red-nosed arrows on a scavenger hunt which led to a wagonload of princesses in a five year old’s bedroom. I borrowed a car and went ice skating. I drank coffee with a co-worker and dusted off my mental model of the solar system. I agreed to complete a foursome at tennis at the last minute on a bitterly cold night knowing it would feed my mind and body. When a friend texted me on my birthday concerned that I was staying in, I agreed to go out. And when my two friends (one heavily pregnant) wanted to end the night early I followed them home and accommodated their requests for songs to be played on the piano. I drank wine and watched the HBO series GIRLS and decided that it is not altogether foolhardy to throw oneself into casual encounters, that it is human to desire desire. I let myself be touched. I took out my journal and wrote lists for each day, who I had connected with, and what had transpired. And only after seeing the hard evidence, did I stop feeling so insatiable for that elusive thing – human contact – and revel for one moment in my unbelievable bounty.