Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Fifty-two Names

“The Eskimo has fifty-two names for snow because it is important to them; there ought to be as many for love.” Margaret Atwood

I ran into that quote 25 years ago. It came to mind today because I think we need as many words for friend too.

I believe I lost a friend Monday. Over something I didn’t say. Although she probably wouldn’t find what I did say all that comfortable either.

And yet a ‘friend’ who will walk away from a friendship like that, what kind of a friend is that? Thus my thinking we could use a few more words between ‘friend’ and ‘acquaintance’.

In looking up that Margaret Atwood quote, I also found this one:
“Their mothers had finally caught up to them and been proven right. There were consequences after all but they were the consequences to things you didn't even know you'd done.”

After my first child was born, I looked at my breasts, my nipples, and saw my mother’s. I’d always had maiden’s nipples before then; now they are mother’s nipples. Sometimes I look at my hands and see my mother’s hands, except smaller and I could never pull off the huge and gaudy rings she used to wear. I’m still fathoming through what my mother was right about and what she was wrong on, and I already see that process happening in my daughter who looks like me as I looked like my mom; my daughter who has more trouble even than I figuring out what is appropriate personal comment is and what is not. And I hurt for her because I know how much that process hurts. When I used to cry and my mother didn’t, I accused her of being hard hearted but she said she just got tired of crying so I don’t think it ever stops, this hurt of being human.

See, daughter probably lost a friend too. I will forever be baffled by the weight people are willing to give to my opinions. I don't give it to theirs, and I don't make apologies for that either. I don't expect everyone to agree with me, but I do expect them to be honest. I hate false agreement more than I hate . . . anything I can think of at the moment, grapefruit coming to mind first and making me laugh.

“In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.” Margaret Atwood

It seems a long time until Spring so today I will smell like dust and clean. Clean my soul by cleaning a cabinet. And making homemade things to eat. And feeding the fire.

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