HomeThe Well-Lived Lifetending more fire


Andrew is gone most of the day, and his absence ignites the tinder that has been building. It’s the energy not used—my energy—put aside in high, neatly stacked bundles while I was consumed by mothering and home keeping and more mothering. By the time he arrives home the flames are leaping, and he walks through the door completely oblivious to the reaching tongues of flame, each with something to say, each armed with searing heat.

I won’t say it’s fair, because he is a most considerate husband. Nor will I say that it’s his responsibility to put out the fire. But I will say that it is easy to be blind to subtle inequities in a partner relationship if no one is talking about it. That’s my fault. The trouble often is that I am not even aware that there are piles and piles of brush eager for the burning until it’s too late. I absorb so much that often I don’t realize I’ve reached my saturation point. Then my anger settles as a tiny innocent spark on my own pile of kindling, and here comes the fire.

So we stand at the edges of my anger, eyebrows singed, and words are useless, though we try. There’s a whole thicket of issues–my need to pursue my work and happiness, my need for freedom, and the fact that his work is inextricably linked to providing for his family, not to his joy. There are no clear cut lines here, no blame to be meted out, and we have to hack through the thicket, we have to gather the dried brush, the dead limbs, the fire food, we have to burn it carefully, working together to make sure the fire warms us, not singes us. It is a difficult task.

I must remain conscious of my needs. And as a mother to five children, yes, five, I must have freedom. I must escape the lines of hearth and home that hold me, I must drop the harness, let the wagon slip, because I am not just mother, I am the pony wild. Spring is nearing, and I hunger for the taste of wild clover.


tending more fire — 2 Comments

  1. thanks for this honest piece here.
    have you done the artist’s way? vic is thinking about starting one up again, since she’s taught it before and worked with julia cameron. email me if you want her contact info but they’ll be an announcement in the eve’s zine soon too. the reason i ask is because it sounds like you’re in need of a weekly artist’s date. you deserve it, it will help you be a better mother and partner..and writer.

  2. I would love to do the artist’s way again! I think one of the things that makes Eve’s Night Out, and Artist’s Way groups so powerful is the support of others. I’m trying to get Megan (who came with me Fri and is an exceptional artist) and another friend to get together weekly in my so-close-to-being-finished-studio, just to provide a space for us to support eachother as artists. Jason and I used to take days off, separately, and I think we might start that up again. One day I just went and sat in the forest up off the Parkway for hours and hours. Oh, it was exquisite!

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