A quiver of arrows. I remember the
icon from an early video game – oversized black pixels. I chose the quiver, and
bow and arrows, for a weapon. It was less expensive than the gun. The primitive
basket would empty out as arrows were used and then “bing” refill automatically
after a certain amount of time.
noticed that in movies they never show hunters or assassins going to retrieve
their spent arrows. I can’t help thinking it would be much more efficient if
they did. Surely most of the arrows are reusable or require minor repairs. It’s
finding them that frustrates. After all, they haven’t ended up where they were
aimed. If they had, they’d be easy to find. No, instead they’ve landed under
thick green ferns, in the depths of a raspberry bush, in a rotting log. They’ve
lodged under a rock in the stream.
much chaos to gather.
taken to confessing my love for everyone during the pandemic. Taking an arrow
from my quiver, I end most conversations and group meetings with “I love you.”
I don’ t expect anything in return, they’re like arrows that won’t be
retrieved. And it feels alright, except that it’s another step in the direction
of becoming the consummate bleeding heart that I’ve always tried to hold out
arrows I do wish to recall to my quiver have been shot through Facebook. One to
an old friend and roommate, now a world-class artist. I went on and on to her
about her latest work and her inspiration to me. I didn’t hear back.
just a couple days ago, to a version of ex brother/sister in-laws. I quipped a
pandemic, “I love you guys.” Well, I do. I feel that I do. They live in that
nostalgic part of my brain where I was young and life was wild. We saw a bit of
it together. And I worry about him sometimes– I love you. She showed a degree
of unconditional love that I admired and for which I feared for her – I love
you. Both so talented in their own ways, inspiring – I love you. I’m a witness
on their marriage certificate – I love you.
desperate, pandemic I love you. The past matters, the story, the narrative (as
they say these days) of my life. The places and the people I knew. I love you.
a few months ago I received word that my college piano teacher Don B. had died
at the age of 97. “Are you f-ing kidding me?” my soul cried out. How many
dozens of times had I thought to try to find him in Minnesota over the last 25
years and then balked? No, he has to be dead, I’d thought. He wasn’t a
particularly health conscious man. I remembered the many cigarette scars on his
studio’s piano: long, charred channels at the wooden edges, where he had left
them because he simply could not stop playing Chopin or Beethoven to do
something about the fire.
was the essence of him – a quintessential romantic. He loved the disconsolate
songs of Schumann and Schubert. He took me on as a piano student although I was
only self-taught. He called me a Renaissance woman and played chamber music
with me. He gave me A-pluses on my college papers. He loved my bleeding heart;
it got the job done in “Music from the Romantic Period 101”. But when I thought
to visit him, I couldn’t bear to find out he was dead. He wasn’t at that time.
Now he is. Tragic. He left a book he wrote and many recordings through which he
speaks to me from beyond the grave.
I love you, Don. The arrow that never
left the quiver.