Repositioning the Fan

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“Our family’s fan is positioned too close to the source of shit,” Sam said to me Sunday evening, as we were leaving the hospital.  We’d been visiting a dear friend, hospitalized because of troubling symptoms, yet to be clearly diagnosed.  We had a Thanksgiving weekend rich in family and friends, all gathered essentially to love each other.  “Your family has a remarkable capacity for being together without any conflicts,” David said to me at one point over the weekend.

True, but in the midst of the weekend gathering we’d gotten a phone call about our friend that let us know, once again, the fan was in the direct path of the shit.  But our Thanksgiving weekend was also full of fun with epic eating, hours of sitting in the warm sunshine on the south side of the porch, and a walk everyone was able to take on Friday morning, including my mother who was in the hospital herself, barely able to get out of bed, just a few weeks ago.

The domed pile of brush I’d been adding to all summer and fall got torched on Friday night, burning quickly in a hot whoosh of flame, then settling down into a warm, firewood-fed campfire.  A gang of Sam’s friends had come for the weekend, and along with family, and more friends, a ring of us sat around the fire talking and laughing and telling stories.  Feeding the fire, we were feeding our selves, soaking up the fundamentally satisfying act of watching wood burn while sitting with people we love.

So I’m repositioning the fan, or at least putting it on oscillating mode, so it can swing between all this weekend’s memories — the food, the fire, the family and friends laughing and walking and sitting in the warmth of the sun and the burning wood, and yes, the suckiness of more illness in our lives.  Back and forth.  Here we go.

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About Grace Mattern

Grace Mattern is a poet, writer, mother, grandmother, partner, friend, family member, gardener, triathlete, hiker and for 30 years was the Executive Director of the NH Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence. She resigned her position at the Coalition on June 15, 2011 in order to concentrate on her writing, while continuing to engage in the movement to end violence against women as a consultant and advisor. Her chapbook Fever of Unknown Origin was published in 2001 and her full-length poetry book The Truth About Death was published in 2012.
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