Saturday, November 29, 2008

Never To Be a Bird with Severed Wings

It occurred to me on Thanksgiving Day that if I had my choice of doing anything or being with anyone (other than my daughter), I would have chosen exactly has things turned out.

A quiet day with my animals, a couple of phone calls to old friends, a call from my daughter and feeding the ducks in Central Park.

I guess I am not really one for social or traditional gatherings -- though I used to love rock concerts and dance clubs when younger. -- Then again, I guess one can't refer to those kind of events as "traditional gatherings."

I've never liked parties of any kind. And my memories of "family gatherings" usually turned into excuses for some people to drink too much and nurse or rehash old grievances.

I don't think holidays are all they're cracked up to me -- though from my personal vantage point, I appreciate the quiet and temporary peace of the city.

I wondered to myself the other day, if we do, in fact, "choose our own fates" much as we might deny that fact at times?

What is really random and what are our actual choices?

Well, for the poor young man who was trampled to death at Wal*Mart by a mob of savage shoppers, we could sadly say his fate was random. A horrible freak accident brought on by a series of circumstances and events: Poor security planning and anticipation of danger by the store itself and people, who in their frenzy to grab a "bargain" seemed to throw their sense of humanity, order and decency out the window.

But, I think in most cases, baring the unforeseen and random, we choose our own eventual circumstances whether or not we claim to like or appreciate them.

I received a marriage proposal on Thanksgiving Day.

To say I was surprised would be the understatement of the century.

So thrown off guard was I, I was unable to respond with anything discernable.

I probably should have said, "But, you know I am not the marrying kind."

What is "the marrying kind" anyway?

As a kid, I never (like most girls, one supposes) dreamed of being married and having lots of babies. But, I did daydream about great romance.

As an adult, I did experience several great (if not somewhat turbulent) romances.

But, only one brief marriage.

The marriage I went into with great trepidation (like a prisoner going to jail for a life sentence) even though I loved my husband.

Moreover, it was not a case of me being "unhappy" while married. I rather liked it, as a matter of fact.

But, nevertheless, I eventually destroyed the marriage.

There is something about me and marriage that apparently doesn't mix.

Following the blowup of my marriage, I tended to celebrate a kind of wild freedom, telling myself all the while, that I sought and needed a lifelong partner.

Well, the idea of "partner" does appeal to me. The idea of marriage doesn't.

Perhaps some of this is due to the fact that my parents had a rocky marriage that ended in divorce when I was a toddler.

I don't think my Mother ever truly got over the failure of her marriage (perhaps a difficult thing, especially for a woman in the late 1940's and '50s).

My Mother was like a bird with severed wings.

Perhaps on one level, I never wanted to be or become like that.

So, I found myself this past Thanksgiving (like most major holidays) basically alone, but no worse the wear for it.

There is the magic of the telephone which helps to keep my married daughter (living in Utah) and I in touch.

And ironically, this Thanksgiving also brought a marriage proposal from an old friend.

Yes, it is the last thing one would ever expect to hear -- especially at a kind of twilight in one's life.

It raised the age old question:

"What is the marrying kind?"

I don't really know the answer to that question.

I just know, like an old Bob Dylan song:

(Whatever the marrying kind is) "It Ain't Me, Babe."

Never to be, a bird with severed wings. -- PCA


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