The Freeing of Jeff Goldblum and Other Life Stories
Jeff Goldblum was waiting, almost expectantly, for me today. He was layered among the leaves of his cage, right near the top. And he came without any unbraiding; he slithered gently and wrapped tightly around my hands, but I could tell he knew today was different. He wanted to get to the top of my head as I started to walk down the hall, towards the door to the outside world. I let him climb my left arm, up over my ear, the glide of his smooth snake skin silent against my face. He flickered his tongue and then he was up up up on top of my head, woven into the strands and sitting aloft my hair clip. Lance was approaching me with Lucky and said, “Taking the snake for a walk today, are we?” and I smiled a sad smile, “No, I’m letting him go free…”
So, we walked hand and hand, Lance and I, with Lucky stopping to smell the wet grass or pee on a pole, while Jeff sat, riding, up in the clear Austin air, finally coming back down and lounging on my right hand, entertwined with my fingers. He was enjoying the breeze, occassionally darting back towards the warmth of my arm, finding his nesting spot back in my hands….
We made it to the Greenbelt, and went deeper past the homes and dogs and cats…anything that might capture Jeff Goldblum and rob him of his freedom, his life. I found a shady patch of green, and leaned down next to the smell of earth. Jeff Goldblum wasn’t quite sure what to expect. He crawled, hesitantly from my hands and laid silent, his glowing lily-pad green ropey body bright against the browns of leaves and dirt….Then he perked up. He moved, slowly, tongue flickering more excitedly, and then I said, “Go on, Jeff Goldblum, go on! It’s ok…”
And zoom! Away he went. His beautiful long s-shape gliding on towards the beckoning vines, snakelike in their waiting. He climbed up into their waiting arms, and instantly, he was at peace. I could sense his beating heart: “home”, it was calm and clean and I felt no remorse in allowing him to return where he belonged. But I did feel sad…I do love him so. I will miss our times together. I will miss introducing him
to other moms who have never been so close to a snake, never understood them as anything but “frightening”, and me saying, “Oh, no, isn’t he lovely? He’s so kind. Would you like to hold him, too?” Or having Jeff Goldblum with me and hearing the “oohs” and “aahs” of children who haven’t thought about killing anything, any creature, and knowing they understand this is a unique and wondrous creature.
I will mostly miss Jeff Goldblum sitting in my hair, looking up and out, being so silly, filling the stillness of his presence as we sat together, saying nothing, really. Just being.
This was a weekend of letting go. There was a Girl Scout camp out. I stayed both nights, and watched my girls transform, once again, into their own awesome beings full of jubilance and social butterflies. I let go and smiled and told ghost stories and played “When September Comes” and “Sk8ter Boi” and other songs on the guitar, outside under stars, to a pit fire and s’mores and thirty Girl Scouts hopping around singing at the top of their lungs, marshmellow goo on their noses, chocolate on their teeth.
Driving to Georgetown with the girls from camp, dressed in our finest, hair brushed and shining, to attend Lance’s father’s memorial service. The grace in his mother’s face. Losing myself in “Amazing Grace” as I looked over at her, and sobbing, openly, so hard I could not finish the last two lines of the fourth verse, and knowing it is all ok. My tears needed to rain down. I’d kept them in too long.
My daughters piling on top of me, Kleenex in hand, comforting me as I am holding Lance’s sister’s shoulder, trying to reassure her as she, too, begins to sob. The kindness of strangers, the giving of cigars (Ron had quite a collection), his hand made boots on display. Friends from church coming to support us all. The letting go of a life.
Driving the girls back to the camp, in time for archery, and Lily’s arrows fly, for the first time, finding the heart of the target and a chorus of “Go, Lily!” and “Great job! Wow, Lily, you can do it!” and the look of confidence, my little Robin Hood, freeing the poor and the hungry with the zing of her quiver. The storms rolling in at night, the cabin pitted from hail and rain and, thankfully, no one hurt, everyone sleeps right through the lightening, but I am up all night, watching through the window, feeling safe and small, curled up next to my youngest on a twin bunk bed with a sleeping bag made of slippery nylon, so I hold on with my teeth or my underarm pinning the silly thing still…I don’t want it to wake her, this falling sleeping bag; I don’t want the cold to rush in and touch her skin. I will hold off the cold for her as long as I can…before I am forced to let go as she heads off into the world on her own….
Taking a friend to an Emmaus Walk and hearing about God and Jesus and driving to and fro to make sure she was comfortable and finding out that she’s in God’s corner but feels the event was just too much, too invasive of her very personal relationship with the Creator.
Understanding and feeling sad at the same time, knowing everything is as it should be and loving that people are trying to find comfort in their journeys, praying for all of us to have peace on this one-of-a-kind planet that is slowly being devoured by greed and unGodly behaviour. Letting go but not giving up. Speaking out but with determination and, hopefully, no judgement.
Meeting Dennis Quaid after shooting a commercial for the Children’s Miracle Network.
Bringing a friend to the house for lunch today, a friend I had not sat with for 26 years, and discovering so much about one another in a simple hour and a half. Letting go of the past that has haunted us for so long, and letting the new hopes of a song bring us together for a future recording…
Driving to Congress House to play guitar on Rain Perry’s new record, and feeling such love in being asked to play. A beautiful song in honor of her father, and here I am, letting go of one of my own fathers, and it all seems to come full circle as I let the strings dance and fall under fingertips.
Free at last, the music brings us to the center of what it means to be…free at last.