“You can’t ‘just’ be a poet—which when rent is due is absolutely true—therefore we get pretend titles like Ambassador and Legislator and Seer. The upside is that we are free (or, downside, forced) to find or invent roles for ourselves (and our poems) that engage differently with the material demands of our culture.”~Mark Bibbins
I came across this quote yesterday, after a conversation the evening before with my husband about the paths we take and why we take them, and whether or not we regret them, or at the very least, wish we’d done things differently.
This is something I’ve thought about a lot recently, as I find myself aging, as I lose friends and loved ones, as I traverse the territory of middle-age that stands between now and crone. And I find myself, quite often, wishing I had done just that. Except then I realize that I did do everything differently, without thought, without choice even, because my path was never the one paved with asphalt and fancy construction, my path was always just a break in the trees somewhere in the woods, and I was always the barefoot girl staring wide-eyed at the moon.
So, okay, no regrets, but there are still things that haunt me. And the older I get, the more security becomes one of them, the more struggling looks less romantic and simply hard. The more I wonder if I should have put some high heels on all those years ago and walked down a different road, wearing a suit that might confine, but would also protect. I was a straight-A student my whole life. I could have done anything. (At least that’s what the little voice whispers.)
But the voice that always answers back, the one that’s stronger and sing-song and slightly rose-colored, tells a different story. That I could only ever have done exactly what I did. I could only ever be who I am. And that is my solace.
Will it be enough to see me through?
Only time will tell, and besides, the sun is shining down on these roses about to bloom and a few years back, this whole bush was crushed to the ground. I see no regret in these buds that turn themselves boldly towards the sun, and the thorns and the scars are all hidden just now, in the darkest shadows of growth.
I’ll sit here and watch them open and listen to the birds and inhale all the yesterdays that brought me to this moment.
And all I’ll breathe out is today.