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All Posts By

Rose Arrowsmith DeCoux

Only

You are the only one– always.

Not in sadness or despair, but in strength.

In proof of living.

In the next step and the next.

There is no one else but you, here in the center of things.

Every ripple outward creates worlds.

Sing your song, hold your silence, put your feet on the earth.

This life– all of it– is here for– because of– you.

The Day’s Delight: Sun Gathering

Women who have known me through multiple lifetimes. Who can conjure a visceral memory I forgot I had: hard conversations in the laundry room under the lodge. Who had the same-but-different experience of being followed by men in India. Who can solo lift a stupidly heavy aluminum canoe, and who can talk about how that’s an exclusionary hurdle for women in the Boundary Waters.

We sat outside in the sun– all the fire we needed suspended above us in the sky, all the church that has ever existed in the six feet between us.

Dale the cat didn’t approach me, but he also didn’t hide for days. Eddie the 2-year-old joined our conversation and showed us his “other” mittens, because spring is heaving, slowly but surely, and his usual pair were soaked and muddy.

“Life is messy,” said one friend. “If there’s not grace, then…” She shrugged.

We talked about children and babies and marriage and divorce and covid and in-laws and how we haven’t seen each other in a million months, and how can someone else’s baby be almost one year old when we haven’t even held her yet?– and how is my own nearly as tall as me?

What’s next? What’s now? Who are we, and how do we do this well? The answer seems to be: we are people who gather in the light, turning toward it and each other like hungry flowers– now and next and always.

The Day’s Delight: Moon

The moon is an orange slice, as far from metaphor as possible, low over the dark, dark water (that never stops shushing and washing over the rocks which have been here since almost the beginning).

If you were here I’d make you look, stand out in the cold that isn’t inhospitable, looking and listening, finally noticing that above that dark slash of cloud that is swallowing up the orange slice in some slow motion sleight of hand, above that are stars, bright and clear and comforting.

The moon says, There has never been a time like this before, not even for a moment.

The stars say, Every moment has been exactly like this one, forever and ever, because every lifetime is the same, over and over again.

And I say, Isn’t it beautiful exactly here and exactly now?

The moon slides up and vanishes. A costume change, I’m sure, and she’ll be back.

The Day’s Delight: the Shoemaker’s Leather

Clocking out. Being done. Taking off the adult nametag and putting on pajamas.

It’s good to do good work that matters, and it’s good to set it aside, to have this small, foundational faith that tomorrow it will be as I left it, or– like the shoemaker’s leather– better.

May we leave some scraps upon the table every day so that the unseen Magic around us has something to work itself upon, to delight us with when the morning shows life better than we’d ever thought to imagine.

The Day’s Delight: That Which Opens

Movement without thought: fingers on piano keys, or the whole body dancing in response to a leading hand, or swimming naked in the dark: thoughts are gates, but the truth was never hiding. If I close my eyes, something else opens.

I am interested in every kind of knowing without thinking, without vetting, without ranking: sole to soil, palm to palm, breath to sound and silence.

The Day’s Delight: Moon

A bedtime story read over the phone, a story about the moon that went from lips to lithium to stratosphere to ear.

Last night I caught the moon sneaking up under a bank of low clouds, orange and glowing, a whole different creature than the pale light high in the sky.

In the story, the little mole wanted to pull down the moon– it was the most beautiful thing he had ever seen. Nevermind that the moon was too big, too far away. Nevermind that you can’t own the moon and that it’s ever-changing.

He thought he broke it, scattered in shards of rippling light on the water. But you can’t break the moon, any more than you can break Magic.

The only you can do is stop, stand still, draw in your breath and gaze at the thing that makes your chest swell with love, night after night, moment by moment, and be glad to be alive, exactly here and now, when such a wonder exists.

The Day’s Delight: Runaway Hedgehog

I heard tell of a young hedgehog who broke out of her cage, left her brother and sister behind, and didn’t come back for dinner.

I can see her: running under couches, curling up like a dust bunny, sniffing and snuffling and doing that crazy hedgehog froth for every new smell.

“Come home, Hippolyta,” cry the sad, tame people. “Don’t you want your meal worms? Your kibble? Be a good girl and come run on your wheel.”

But Hippolyta won’t, not while the moon is out. She’s a wild little beast, and she does what she wants, always.

The Day’s Delight: The Course

I’m pretty sure, in theory, ships can ride the wind almost completely keeled over. I imagine an experienced sailor can make a dance of it, a lithe circus performer leaning at a wild angle as her horse gallops around the ring. And maybe I do that, too, in a way that seems so easy to me that I don’t notice.

But I like the calm seas. The hours and hours of nothing pressing that allow for a slow start, a day spent primarily in pajamas where thoughts slide into naps and the sun slides across the sky: plenty of time left yet for doing something, if you really must.

It settles the system to unplug all the wires. To sit and listen to the lake and notice how it sounds different now, how spring is announcing itself far in advance.

It’s like the sigh of shuffling cards, letting each rib slide back into place, letting the busy days finally pull back, a sucking tide that reveals glittering stones and beach glass and things not yet worn smooth.

And the sun shone and shone on all of it, and the world turned without me at the wheel, and the course, she charted herself.

The Day’s Delight: Intention

I said, “I want to clear out the old tangles. I want to know what we each have to work with. Clean, clear, spacious; this is me turning off the tap whose drip drip drip doesn’t seem like much but drains the well.”

I said it all to myself, and then, sorting pots and pans and furniture into mine and yours, that’s what I did.

The Day’s Delight: Backstage – On Stage – New Stage

When you move all the lamps and set up the laptop on a plant stand.

When you find the prettiest potted plants to decorate the piano top, and move your Golden Gnomie award into the frame.

When you walk around the house singing harmony parts and recording them into your phone, and then singing the melody along with yourself.

When you strew papers about, looking for those story notes you haven’t needed since last March.

When the day job lasts the longest it ever has and you just can’t settle because even though the theatres are closed, even though there are no tickets to sell or comps to give magnanimously, even though it’s impossible or at least improbable– TONIGHT THERE IS A SHOW.

And Then:

It begins. Two bass players and a Swedish folk singer who thought she’d irrevocably chosen the path of words, not music, more than two decades ago.

A year ago I had less than zero interest in doing zoom concerts. A year ago a lot of other things were different in my life, too.

Now, as with the almost-March wind blowing the ice away, as with the faint memory of green growing things becoming more real and less like a dream, I become a performer again. Slowly, in small doses, in a way I never knew I could be.

We took it in turns, plucking at strings and transposing fairy tales. The audience watched from their own little windows and unmuted themselves to applaud. They said we ought to collaborate as a trio, that they would come to see that show in the Magical Future when such things are possible again.

After the show we talked about collaborating– no big deal, just me and Liz Draper, who plays with the Grammy-winning Okee Dokee Brothers and Charlie Parr (and pretty much every band in Minneapolis, it seems), and Chris Bates who was once her mentor and who plays with the esteemed Sam Miltich and who surely has a longer list of credentials than that. We talked about making music in the harbor, on shore or in boats: kulning and jazz bass– antiphony al fresco.

You step out into what’s new and find you’ve been loving it all along. And when you look around, there are some pretty cool people loving it, too.