In the bookstore at the Orthodox church

To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
there will be school work to do because today I couldn't do that because today I interviewed for my jobs because they are my jobs and I want them back.

and then I went to see the bookstore in the Orthodox church and met the lady minding the shop, and she had slung her fur coat over the chair behind the counter and I bet she's owned it for decades and maybe her large rings were newer than that but maybe not, and she was wonderful, and tiny and she was ninety-four years old.

Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
except today was not a creeping pace. No petty pace, this day. The lady in the bookstore is, she told me, a cancer survivor. She got it in her eighties, she said. And chemo was rough. Your hair falls out, you know. But this morning she got an appointment right away with the doctor - for something wrong with her leg, I think, and she was so glad. She told the person on the phone she was so glad she got to see him then. Because it gave her a reason to drive at that hour. And it was snowing. And it was so beautiful.

And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
or not. Out, out, or maybe we can live to be ninety-four and dress fit for immediate seating in a better place than dusty, and be so kind and practical and sweet. And little. She was so little. I didn't notice until she took my card and ran it through the machine and waited. What a tiny little person! What a good cut, her skirt was fashioned from.

Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
unless it doesn't. Sometimes life is brisk and quick and pays attention for a very long time and remembers our neighbor from the old house. Oh, yes. She remembered him. Vanikiotis is an old family name, and she remembers him very well.

And then is heard no more.
Or is.
Because she still remembers him.
And he was kind and she is kind and when her friends stop in to see how her appointment went this morning, she speaks in Greek. Or English. Or Greek. It doesn't matter.

It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
or love. It might be full of love and it might be told by a woman born when the last century was young, and now she takes her daughter's phone calls on her cell phone, because she's fine, the doctor said. She's fine.

Signifying nothing.
Or maybe something.
Today, I see that it is really something and Macbeth was wrong. He never met the lady volunteering in the bookstore.
But I did.


Shut Down. Reboot. Restart. Again.

Hello, Blog.

Hello, Blog Readers (if there are still any left after my being so neglectful for so long).

See how that period is after the parenthetical expression? I've been in school. I've been citing things in MLA and APA citation conventions, and I've been getting closer and closer to the degree I started in a different life and yesterday and oh my word is it end of term again already?

It is.

It's also end of hiatus from the library, I think. Yesterday I did all the testing for all the levels of library work I was doing when I quit last summer. Was it last summer? I can't remember. I also can't take any seniority or experience back with me in any sort of official way, and this is the third time of testing. The third time of hiring. The third librarian in our local branch to have to interview me before I can have a job under her authority and direction.

Apparently, I am a Repetitive Starter, starting again. Old college degree unaccredited, so I started again. Twice I've been hired for work at the library, never have I had any chance at anything but sub work, thrice I have been tested and I am starting again. My religious life. My writing life. My homemaking life. Start again. Start again. Shut down. Reboot. Clear the cookies. Start again.

Is this why I like to work with kids? Because they are all always at the start of things? See that? See the fragments and run-ons and deliberate mistakes? I've been in Lit classes and wallowed in Poetry. I've become so familiar with The Rules that now we play with each other and make each other laugh and cry and moan and roll our eyes. Our I's. Oh, aye!

But I notice something. Same tasks, same series of skills sets to stack and survey and sustain ... but different me. I am not the same.

I've been thinking about that lately. I'm reminded when I look down at my right hand as it holds the pages of my prayerbook. The part of my hand between my thumb and first finger -- it's wrinkled and starting to look like an old woman's hand. Only in certain lights. Only sometimes. But my hand isn't young anymore.

When I was in the sixth grade, we had an art teacher who came into the classroom once a week. From her, we learned the color spectrum -- and colored flowers with yellow at the center and all the colors in order to the outside points of the petals where they were darkest purpley blue and almost black. The colors blended together where they changed from one to another. A few spikey shards of yellow reached almost to the outside rim, and yet all the colors filled the petals in order.

I have drawn that flower every once in awhile for all my life since then. Spectrum. Blending. Order. Spectrum. Blending. All the colors, all in order, just like a rainbow caught in the fantasy of a flower that could never be but everyone knows it's a flower anyway.

We drew our own non-dominant hands, too. After we learned about perspective drawing, we put our "other" hands into a pose, and drew them with our pencils. Shading. Line. Perspective. Creases and bends and knuckles and nail bed and cuticle. I remember my sixth grade hand, and the one that holds the pages down when I study or pray - it's the same, but it has texture now. My hand is older.

In this moment, on a Saturday morning right before spring, when the fog and the rain are blurred together outside my window, and the quarter is almost over, and my jobs at the library are almost back in my hands again, I notice this. My hands are older.