Artists compilation by Libby Cox of Painted by Rhoda Nyberg, this famous portrait is from a photograph taken in 1918 by Mrs. Nyberg’s father, Eric Enstrom, a photographer from Bovey, Minnesota and Durga/Kali image from Pinterest. Artist unknown.
Two small boys, a new marriage, a wing, and a prayer to all the gods who would listen--my husband and I lit out from Austin, Texas, to Eugene, Oregon, to live with my husband's parents.
Husband's got a Ganesha tattoo, an expired massage license in the state of Texas, and a bikram yoga valedictorian's trophy. He's also got a coupla decades' distance from most of an undergraduate degree from a Christian College, where his father was dean and a Jungian, Evangelical Christian family psychologist, mother a devout wife... the mom and dad we headed off to see to receive daily help. We landed in Oregon in an empty house, new to the whole family. The next day I left for 66 degrees North Iceland for 10 days.
Ever heard of the 'planning fallacy?' My dear friend who recently graduated from Social Justice school took a requisite psychology course where, she told me, she learned of such a thing. It's likely familiar to you... things almost always take way. way longer than we think they will.
Flash forward. Winter Solstice 2017, and I'm standing with my two naked pagan toddlers in our new home in the Oregon countryside, miles from the suburban gilded cage we've been living in for the past 2+ years.
How can I begin to describe these years? Voila, an attempt at painting a picture. Years of processing my love for this family has given me some amount of neutrality, in that I believe neither 'side' believes one description of the culture of a home, a love, and a body is necessarily better, just. so. different.
I . have two small tattoos, piercings and ancient piercing scars, blood-red-dyed french sheepskin wool boas and runway stilettos, much of which I often wear while I'm singing OM in front of bronze statues that look like demons but are really divine mothers. Caked-on eye makeup, and an aversion to cake. tired eyes. Stacks of thrift store books about feminist art and yoga and giving birth under rainbows and waterfalls with unicorns (there were, sadly, no unicorns present at the birth of my children. and believe me. with the amount of painkillers and sleep deprivation present, i would have seen them if they were there.) Photos of trips to India and photo albums full of memories of a past life with a beloved former husband and the friends who I lost when I left.
They . have Big Lots nativity scenes and faux wrought iron lamps. Picture frames that hang empty on the walls, waiting for them to emerge from mourning the death of many friends and family, as they approach their golden years. Church every Sunday. Immense relief that Obama is no longer president. More than 50 years of marriage. Sons and daughters who are ministers at various and sundry megachurches. They're kind, funny and generous people.
So, we chanted to Durga in the toy room, and Gave Us This Day Our Daily Bread in the dining room.