People tell me I am a positive person – a new development, I think, in my evolution through life. The title makes me a bit nervous, because if you are positive, you are expected to be positive all of the time, for you and for all of the people who depend on you. I also differ from many spiritual people in that I believe anger, sorrow and regretful contemplation are important sometimes, and can be cleansing, even healing. My mind is not always positive, and I am prey to the loud noise out there, the growing lines of people in the world eager to speak harshly of their lives and world, viral transmitters of fear and anger.
Today I was not positive. We went down to Preble Realty to sign yet another document lowering the sale price of Bedlam Farm, this time to $375,000. We have come down a long way, and it dawned on me today that we cannot go down much farther, if we mean to pay a mover, the lawyer, various taxes and the realtor. Today was tough for me on many levels.
First, because I love the farm so much and I realize it is hurtful to me to have it languish like an unwanted bride, even though I understand it is nothing personal, just the times. It is such a wonderful and magical place to me, it is hard for me to fathom, even in difficult times, why no one has scooped it up. I do take that personally, but how can I not? I came to life and love here.
I am assured by people who know that this will happen. The house will sell. It always does. But that is a logical process, and my feelings were emotional.
My deflation deepened in Glens Falls, where I drove Maria to her yoga class and went shopping, as I do on most Mondays, and walking around this diverse and interesting old upstate city. It gets lonely sometimes, brings back old memories.
I confess to having a bout of the regrets, the doubts. Should I have saved more? Done what everyone is told they need to do in America? Live for the IRA’s? I wish I had them now. Was I wrong to leave a marriage that didn’t work for me, and enter into the sad and expensive realm of divorce? Should I have taken the other path, the saner path that almost everyone around me took, rather than upending my life and running to the mountain, then the farm.
Am I a failure in many ways? For not selling more books, making more money, writing the mistress of my writing life, the “big” book that will take care of me for life? Here I am at 65, with absolutely none of the things you are supposed to have when you are 65. And at that, snared in what people love to call “this economy.” An editor suggested to me that I write a piece online, perhaps for Slate, about how difficult it has been to sell this beautiful, restored, underpriced farm?
No, I said, I could never do that. I will not make my life a whine, or a sad story. I am no different from everyone else, and there is something beautiful, something authentic, something profoundly fulfilling about learning who you are, where you belong. As light follows darkness, hope follows fear, joy sadness. One is meaningless without the other. I don’t want to be positive all of the time. It seems hollow to me. I know the fear will sometimes come in the night, and at first light, I will grab my camera and follow the light. My practice.
It was raining in Glens Falls, the dark streets deserted. Nobody was out walking. I wish I had brought Red for company, we would have walked together through those abandoned, dark old factories. Still, I loved the walk. And the world grew bright when I saw Maria, toting her yoga mat, walk out into the night and look for me. For me, with her radiant smile. And I handed her the dinner I prepare for her when she gets out, tired, mellow. Lucky me, I thought.
Every time I lower the price of the farm, I realized, I am taking a step closer to truth, to reality, to authenticity, to understanding who I really am and how strong I am learning to be. Every time, I become stronger, more determined, clearer. I know what I need to do. I know where I am going. What a gift that is, I thought, then smiling as I reminded myself, even if it is costly.
The good lessons usually are, aren’t they?