Friday, February 6, 2009


I had a dream the other night, a helicopter down on its side, no passengers visible, though there was a sense that I was witnessing a rescue effort, some scrambling about. The images from recalled dreams leave an imprint, and this one tempts me to tease it apart. Maybe it's a fascination with the ease at which a helicopter goes right up that brought the image to my unconscious. Maybe my dreamscape transformed the recent Hudson River airplane landing and rescue into a helicopter scenario. Or an image from a novel-in-progress haunted me. (The protagonist sees a a newspaper photo of a plane crash, the one that killed Stevie Ray Vaughan).

The wonder of helicopters is the way they hover. It's a notion I keep with me in certain yoga postures. It's an image that made me laugh the first time I came across it in reference to being a parent these days. I don't think I've been a 'helicopter parent' in the way I understand it (though my daughter might beg to differ). But these days, in which my daughter, drawn by the lure of the film industry out west, struggles through the rite-of-passage known as getting that first job, I feel a certain unease that has me hovering, if not crashing.

Early morning, a phrase pops into my head, hanging in the balance. If 'hovering' implies lightness, the tissue-thin wings of a butterfly, 'hanging in the balance' brings its own weight to uncertainty. One day there are interviews, lots of anticipation, so much promise; the next day no postings, no phone calls. So much hangs in the balance. It's enough to bring a mother to tears, not just for the obvious (I'm a mother, nurturing is what I do); if there is a certain mirroring to the mother-daughter relationship, being a mother who also happens to be a writer brings even more poignancy to my daughter's efforts. For her it's creative cover letters and resumes, somebody ple-e-a-s-e hire me (i.e., I'm enthusiastic, hard-working, detail-oriented). For me it's creative cover letters and the telling detail of well-honed story, somebody ple-e-a-s-e take note. The cycle of putting oneself out, being rejected (or downright ignored), complaining, crying, taking a few deep breaths, rolling up the sleeves, putting oneself again, is oh-too-familiar. Even in the best of economic times, very little comes without effort.

One image gives rise to another: I see my daughter on one side of a mountain, myself on the other. Hovering above, between us, is the realm of all things possible. For her it is all about the climb, everything on the rise; for me, even if there is sense of slipping down, there is also an acute awareness that what is behind me sets in motion what lies ahead.


  1. Yes, those mirroring mother-daughter stages! The changes and challenges of finding our way together. We do hang in the balance, waiting for possibilities to evolve into reality. Thanks for the heartfelt, perceptive words. Hover away ...