I am asking more than usual this question: What would the Old Mermaids do? I asked that after I came home exhausted from looking for a car. I said, "What would the Old Mermaids do?" And I got an immediate answer: “They wouldn't have a car." I grumbled about how unrealistic that was, given where I live. But reality is: I like driving. I am rarely as happy as I am when I'm in my car, alone, driving down the highway. My happiest moment in recent years was when I drove from Santa Barbara to Phoenix. I was free of any anxiety: I knew everyone I loved was safe for the moment and I didn't have to save anyone or anything. I drove along the ocean, alone in the car, ecstatic.
Remember in Koyaanisqatsi when they showed the highways and biways and people running to and fro and we were supposed to think that was ugly and out of balance? I didn't think it was ugly. I thought it was beautiful. I thought the nature scenes were beautiful, too. I think our human need to create is natural and glorious human, but once we recognize our creations are a little bit too Frankenstein's monster, we have an obligation to the world to change what we've created—or destroy what we created.
This is the long way of saying that after a few days of grumbling about how unrealistic the Old Mermaids were, I was walking around town, up above the river, breathing in autumn, and I had a vision of the near future. I thought of all the books I’d written and stories I told. Most of them are about finding home. (I think I ended three books with the word “home” without consciously knowing it.) I imaginatively build amazing structures and communities. I am creating home with my novels.
I love to drive because I am on the move, always on the move. Because I am searching for home. I am not comfortable in my body, my house, my place in the world. Sometimes I think it’s because when I was a girl—a wild child, nature’s child running in the woods barefoot and disheveled most hours of the day—my grandparents sold the land next door to us, the land where my Lullabye Forest grew.
The new owners came in and cut down my woods. I was bereft. I have no conscious memory of the destruction, by the way. I just remember my life before and after. And after I felt homeless. But this may just be a story I tell myself. I was probably born this way: squirmy, crying out in raw unexplained grief when I was only an infant, always asking, asking, asking too many question. Railing against injustice like a little Irish Don Quixote, my Rocinante my dog—who got run over by a car when I was 12. (And I was in such terrible grief over his death that my parents took me to a doctor and he gave me tranquilizers.)
It doesn’t matter why I felt homeless or why I’ve felt homeless for much of my life. It is a modern ailment, I suspect. We have lost the songs of our ancestors, perhaps. Maybe when my relatives came to this land, we left behind our faeries—or the spirits of our ancestors. Maybe we’ve gone deaf to the songs of the land all around us. Perhaps we can’t hear our own siren songs any more. I don’t really know.
But as I was walking around my town, I had a vision of the near future—a future where I wouldn’t need a car, at least not often. I could see a home, a place, a purpose, and I suddenly felt completely at home with this vision, this idea. As if all of my life had been heading toward THIS. When I told Mario about it, he said, “Don’t tell anyone yet. Don’t research it. Don’t study it. Just dream it for a while, the way you would dream a novel.” Aaaah, exactly what the Old Mermaids would do. (I am so fortunate that my sweetheart is an Old Mermaid.)
Now I sit looking out into the cloudy day. Sunlight edges the clouds like a glorious silver white lining. I’m listening to Train sing Drops of Jupiter. About a woman flying through the stars. I am no star being. I am of this Earth. I have been chronically ill for a long time. I am sick of it. Truly. Someone once said that all sickness is homesickness. In my case, I believe this to be true. I know where my home is. It isn’t the stars. It isn’t even in my imagination. It isn’t someplace ELSE. I can see it now, feel it now—more than ever. This Earth is home. It is my place. It is my Beloved. Each of us is the Earth. Walking, dancing, singing, loving Earths. Each of us is the Beloved. Each of you is my Beloved.
As for my vision of my future? Well, it is still in the dreaming stages, and I will share more as time goes on.