The other day, emptying change from my pocket, one penny remained in my hand; it felt heavy. “This could be an old penny,” I thought, and then weirdly, “It feels like a wheat penny.” How exactly a wheat penny feels, I couldn’t say, exactly, but some part of me knew. I don’t know where those thoughts came from or why I paid any attention to that coin, but when I looked down the back of the penny was facing up and there were the two tassels of wheat. A 1952 penny.
Sometimes I doubt the mysterious. Sometimes I doubt the ways of knowing that aren’t logic based. I hate that! I’d like to trust implicitly that which my intuition and softest ways of knowing tell me. The fall and winter, with their increase of darkness, increase of cold, tunnel us inward, if we’re willing to go, and the dead and the more subtle ways we know what’s true may approach.
My father has now been gone eight months. Over these past few days he’s felt particularly close. He walks with me. Last evening I thought about the time of his dying as compared to that of my mother and how art making came into both those experiences.
In 1987 when my mother was in intensive care and after her death I wrote poem after poem. Many of them became part of my first poetry book, Territory of Wind. In February I made art with my father at the very end of his life, a fabric collage, and then I kept making collages, ostensibly because I had a show to prepare for. Emotionally and spiritually both art forms fit the dying parent—my mother introduced me to poetry and my father to the visual arts.
On this early Dia de Los Muertos/All Saints’ Day morning, I wish you faith in your deepest knowing. Nothing less.