My grandmother, “Maffa,” was a strong woman. She and her husband started a family during The Great Depression and struggled – as did most – to make the best of things. I was thirteen when my grandfather died; Maffa lived for ten more years.
When I graduated from the University of Georgia, I moved into a cottage located on her property and got to know her pretty well. She loved people and community, but she was also a very stoic person who rarely showed fevered emotion. She was a Steel Magnolia who was quite opinionated. She would never “sweat the small stuff,” and she wasn’t terribly patient towards those who did.
At times I wish I could face the world with such stoicism. But my emotions generally don’t allow that. I tend toward reflection and reminiscence. I even have a hard time disposing of old things, thinking, I suppose, that somehow I’d be getting rid of a part of myself.
Some people thrive on beginnings. Well, I seem to get stuck on endings. Recently, I saw a snippet of old interview with President Richard Nixon who said that he never looked back. The word regret, it seemed, wasn’t even a part of his vocabulary. He spent most of his time thinking about the future.
I enjoy thinking about the future as well. I love to think about what might be, even though my emotions are wrapped in the past. Like the mythical Janus, I have my sights in both directions.
Janus is the Roman god of gates and doors (ianua), beginnings and endings, and hence represented with a double-faced head, each looking in opposite directions. He was worshipped at the beginning of the harvest time, planting, marriage, birth, and other types of beginnings, especially the beginnings of important events in a person’s life. Janus also represents the transition between primitive life and civilization, between the countryside and the city, peace and war, and the growing-up of young people. (http://www.pantheon.org/articles/j/janus.html)
Day 9 Guide
Emotions can be givers or consumers of energy. Those of happiness provide the needed lift, while those of despair weigh one down and make it impossible to fly. To those who tend to the emotional side of life, focus on whatever poetry gives you wings. Surround yourself with good music, good friends, and laughter – whatever it is that gives you joy.
© 2006, Levi Hill