bed half-made up this rainy morning
sometimes i think i feel things just too damned much. one emotion will settle in like an unwanted guest and take up residence for a couple of days, or weeks; and when that happens, i curse my sensitive side for feeling every little thing in my life as deeply as i do. yesterday morning, i received an email from good old npr (somewhere along the way i guess they figured out what news matters to me) that the beloved author and illustrator maurice sendak had passed away. he was a year younger than my mother; why couldn't he keep going, as she does? my heart was heavy, heavy. it still is, today. like most folks my age, i grew up with his work; Little Bear was one of my brother's favorite books; Where the Wild Things Are came along a little later, but we still loved it, my boys grew up with it, and as adults the boys and i went with excitement to see the film the week that it was released (filmed in beloved australia). there were so many books, in my childhood house, and many were illustrated by mr. sendak. i remember a drawing he did of a small boy, bending over to smell the open book in his lap. that's what his artwork was like for me; i wanted to eat it, to drink it up. now, a middle aged mother of strapping grown men, i still feel like the little girl of those books when i wander out back and into the sheltering woods.
i often say no. i am a wild thing, too, and love a good rumpus now and again. we all do. we all dream of going to bed, at least i assume you dream as i do, and dream of watching our bedroom transform into the mysterious dark of the sheltering woods. i'm still that little girl who talks to rabbits, even to the trees, and the moon. what was it about his artwork? about the words he wrote? the emotions he conveyed? why does his death affect me as deeply as it has? yesterday afternoon i listened to a beautiful tribute to mr. sendak on a favorite npr show, fresh air. you can access it here. his feelings for the host, terry gross, were tender and dear. the last words he spoke in the series of interviews have truly resonated deeply with me: "live your life, live your life, live your life". i surely do try, mr. sendak. i do. after listening, i walked over to my bookshelves in the living room and tried, in vain, to find my tattered copy of Wild Things. i know now that it is with the rest of the boys' favorite childhood books, packed away in the basement of my parents' cabin. i had wanted to carry it with me, clutched next to my chest, into the woods out back, to place it at the base of a tree, close to the spot where the bells of the solomon seal are this week dangling from their green stems. his books have always made me feel that way.
i cried, yesterday, for this loss. maybe you did, too.