On Tuesday, I had the urge to start something. An idea for a new project was reawakened, and the urge to act on it was undeniable, even though the space weather was terrible. Saturn was welcoming Mars to his bright palace at 0˚ Aquarius while Jupiter was slowly picking his way through the rocky hills of Capricorn in the dark with only Pluto for company. I’m no astrologer, but this doesn’t scream “auspicious beginnings” to me. The astrologers that I do follow, have posted things about this part of the year being especially difficult for good elections.
I started it anyway. I figured, I could start it now, but launch it later on at a better time. Inspiration and need must overcome bad astrological timing sometimes, right? It will remain to be seen.
A few days earlier, I had lingered in the room while my son was on a Zoom call with his teacher and class. It was their first call, and I wanted to make sure the set up was correct before I left. The teacher asked the class to name something new that they had done in the days since they were last all together.
I paused for a moment. We had been under a Stay at Home order for the past couple of weeks. My first instinct was that there were’t many possibilities for new experiences when you’re mostly home all the time. The teacher mentioned that doing Zoom calls were new to her, and that she’s been listening to podcasts while she walks everyday. The students mentioned that they were cooking with their families, doing new things in Minecraft, and trying origami for the first time.
When I thought about it, I realized that I’m doing many new things during this time, too. I had planted new things in the garden and helped rearrange our house to accommodate work and school from home. Zoom calls and Google Classroom are also pretty new for me. I designed a couple of Lenormand cards for a crowd sourced deck, and am teaching myself new graphics software. I was asked to teach scouts how to do a craft online, and that was not something I’d done before. The new digital library card is getting a lot of use, and I’m enjoying the series of Tea Parties that Gordon White just launched for Rune Soup. My fire cider is almost done; I had never tried making it before.
New doesn’t always mean positive. When I remembered that, there were the new experiences of seeing empty shelves in grocery stores and the newly installed plexiglass shields for the cashiers. There’s the new routine of wearing gloves when going to the grocery soon to be followed up by covering your nose and mouth when out in public. For too many people there are the new experiences of missing rent payments, need, illness, and grief.
I’m almost buckling under the weight of some things new, and I hadn’t even realized it.
I can be slow on the uptake sometimes. New things in my mind are supposed to be light and effortless.
As I sit and try to ponder how these worldwide changes are going to ripple through my day to day life and the lives of my family, I recall one of the stories my mother told me. It’s about my great-great grandmother, Madeleine, who you’ll remember from my last post.
Madeleine was Catholic, but through deaths and remarriages, she ended up being raised by her Step-father and Step-mother, both Protestants. It was around the time that St. Mary’s Catholic Church in New Orleans was being built, and the faithful were asked to carry bricks from the River to the construction site. Even though she was forbidden to help, they spotted her one day carrying the bricks from the River.
I think of her carrying those bricks. In my imagination it’s Summer; she’s struggling to hold them, but she’s happy to help. I think of the heaviness of this time. How the burdens one carries are the stones that lay a foundation for something that we’re building. Some thing new. I don’t know the shape of it yet, but I do know that it takes daring and hard, long work.
I hope that you are all well, and that the bricks that you carry now lay a strong foundation.