Feb 1, 2011


pour maman

i will now say the thing that you are probably not supposed to say when your mom's house burns down. and i say it with utmost love and sympathy.*
"The phoenix (Ancient Greek: Φοῖνιξ, phoínix, Persian: ققنوس, Arabic: العنقاء)
A phoenix is a mythical bird that is a fire spirit with a colorful plumage and a tail of gold and scarlet (or purple, blue, and green according to some legends). It has a 500 to 1000 year life-cycle, near the end of which it builds itself a nest of twigs that then ignites; both nest and bird burn fiercely and are reduced to ashes, from which a new, young phoenix or phoenix egg arises, reborn anew to live again."
i guess i'm just sitting here thinking that... without the fire a pheonix would just be a big, pretty, bird instead of an archetype; a metaphor. because there is no opportunity for expansion like the one that comes after loss. it is powerful and unique in that power; that dark, charred, smokey black hole kind of power, out of which something new must spring because nothing old remains.
i envy that opportunity. i grab it whenever it comes my way. in fact this last year of my life has been a willful act of simulated loss. now when faced with real loss, real fire, on the surface i feel the cliched worry and regret for sentimental bits burned to nothing, but deep down, maybe i'm not supposed to say this, but deep down there is a wild-eyed creature thrilling at the devastation. deep down there is a hushed voice saying, "excellent." deep down i wish i had the guts to voluntarily attempt what an involuntary accident accomplished.
deep down i want to watch it all burn.
i'm not trying to be insensitive. but i am so very interested in freedom and there is no freedom i can think of that rivals the freedom of flight from the ashes.
i love you.
*this train of thought would have been completely different had anyone been hurt - and i thank god no one was.


  1. You are such a bird.

    Also, this piece is better than anything I've read in the New York Times. Magnificently written. I love the way you say, "a willful act of simulated loss," and "a wild-eyed creature thrilling at the devastation." Rather than insensitive, this is the most insightful and penetrating look at loss I've ever read. Thank you for sharing it. I love you so much.

  2. I would venture to say as soon as she heard "the cats got out", she instantly had the same gut reaction cause she's glowing bright + feeling light. Hugs to you Marin. Love Jackie