Search Suzanne Crone


Please, Not That Song

Posted in Adventures With Humans

Golf ball found in spring

It is the day before my birthday and I’ve spent most of it trying to figure out how to skirt around the next 24 hours without anyone noticing. I crane my neck to look for any clues of what might look like a laundry chute, but is really a portal into the future; a way through. So far, I have only a sore neck and no chute. I walked in the woods, pushing on the odd ‘Princess Bride’ tree, hoping for a magic escape–nuthin’. I came back along the edge of the golf course. I stopped on occasion to stand looking into the forest, noticing the rich green of the conifers against the yawning, tired brown grasses, and also the driving range golf balls abandoned last fall. Now it’s easy to spot their little white and yellow heads set into long brown grass. I popped them out of their little nests and threw them onto the short grass so the fancy ball picker-upper machine could get them. Still, no idea of how to avoid  my ‘day.’
I don’t remember the last time I enjoyed my birthday. I suppose it was when the kids were small. They made any celebration fun of course, because they weren’t marking the passage of time so much as wanting cake. There was one birthday, when I turned 50, that was tolerable. I was in the best shape of my life, and was beginning to emerge from what seemed like a five-decade coma; the first sprouts of self-worth beginning to break through. From then to now, Covid included, was time jammed with growth, both the shaking off of assumptions, and, well without getting too precious, I know shit now.
Within the last week, I have received comments, letters expressing gratitude for my essays addressing the subjects of suicide, grief, and trauma. We don’t have enough for a whole team yet, but reading those I thought, “this is why I write about it.” If I can make even one person feel supported, like I’m speaking their language, then it’s all worth it; this is why I am on the planet.
I still don’t like my birthday. Right now it’s a marker, a reminder that I’m still ‘hanging on,’ instead of in control of anything. My favourite holiday is Thanksgiving. No gifts, and I like the idea of gathering over good food, to show up sincerely, authentically, and talk with ease. It hasn’t happened in years, but maybe it could start again in 2024. There are people who think it’s funny that I don’t enjoy the day, as if I’m being petulant and underneath really do want a parade. This, I think, is more about their discomfort with some kind of codependence perhaps.
I can well do without hearing the ritual song. I would much rather hear a poem recited, or short paragraphs from say, Dr. Seuss, or something from Charlotte’s Web. Recently, I’ve found myself done with Jung, Edinger, and even Hillman–my psychodynamic heroes. This happens every once in a while, when there’s a margin, a time of holding, and then something deep compels me to move on to a different theme, different authors. A couple nights ago, I picked my copy of Billy Collins'  ‘Aimless Love,’ a collection of some of his work; not Rumi, not John O’Donohue, though I adore hem both, but Collins. I read his poem, ‘The Country,’ and there, lying in bed, I found myself smiling. It has nothing to do with a birthday, or grief, but it’s a funny observation written by the kind of mind I would love to have at my table. So, since it IS my day, I’m sharing it with you. Thanks for reading.

The Country
I wondered about you
when you told me never to leave
a box of wooden, strike-anywhere matches
lying around the house because the mice
might get into them and start a fire.
But your face was absolutely straight
when you twisted the lid down on the round tin
where the matches, you said, are always stowed.
Who could sleep that night?
Who could whisk away the thought
of the one unlikely mouse
padding along a cold water pipe
behind floral wallpaper
gripping a single wooden match
between the needles of his teeth?
Who could not see him rounding a corner.
the blue tip scratching against a rough-hewn beam,
the sudden flare, and the creature
for one bright, shining moment
suddenly thrust ahead of his time–
now a fire-starter, now a torch-bearer
in a forgotten ritual, little brown druid
illuminating some ancient night.
Who could fail to notice,
lit up in the blazing insulation,
the tiny looks of wonderment on the faces
of his fellow mice, one-time inhabitants
of what once was your house in the country?
…Billy Collins, from ‘Aimless Love,’ 2013, Random House