The Wife as Stardust

03/29/2020 2 By BuddyCushman

My wife has sat two teddy bears in the living room window. They are low, on the top of the couch – sisters, brother and sister, brothers? – and not that we get much foot traffic passing by on our residential street, them being low and not so obviously seen. No – it is the spirit of the thing. My wife explained it, told me of it on a walk, my attention level divided between her story and a few spring flowers up along the sidewalks, so I am not able to offer an accurate reporting of what she was sharing with me. Something about a current – this virus time – suggestion that people place teddy bears in their windows – to brighten the hearts of kids? for adults? I guess to offer up hope and gentleness and the “All in this together” thing. Like, maybe we could be.

Like that, which suits my wife, who speaks of walking gently on the physical earth so as to do no harm – there’s a buddhist word, “Ahimsa” I think – expressing that way of living. Suitable – ahimsa – in any biography of my wife, for sure. Ahimsa. She is always doing something or thinking about doing something or proposing doing something, some act, some singing, some sharing, some wishing that we treat each other and our granite planet with more tenderness. I would not describe it in terms of a “Come on, let’s go, we can do this” rah rah thing, not that she can’t be loud when she needs to be, but no, rather an encouragement and an expression of what is a clear belief that some small act of goodness can make a difference. It can, she believes, that is how she lives, and lives as example walking softly on the lawn, and why I come down today in the predawn dark to teddy bears in the window. And my thought right there and then is “Oh lucky me”, “Oh happy day”. More of my wife’s doing.

I have a completed story, it leans toward the genre of sci-fi, but only a little, it is called “Beats Me’, and it is a story first and most about people and their feelings. Following is a brief snip from “Beats Me” –

“….And they hold each other as close as real lovers do, all through the night, and Jerry knows it is all through the night because he’s still snuggled against June, eyes open, as the day awakens to red sunrise, June herself having slept the sleep of a decent woman.”

Though I can’t swear to it, I think it is likely I had my wife in mind when I wrote the tail end of that line. I myself, I suppose, am not so much of a teddy bear guy – not that I can’t be a softie once in a while or get the sniffles watching tender movies – but more often bring a bit of cynicism to a world filled with teddy bear windows. Maybe this time of virus will change me – amend me – and I will come out the other side cleansed, entirely, of cynicism. I’d like that. Be more like a hippy. I’d like that.

Despite all the sweet things I have said here, about her, I wouldn’t exactly call my wife a hippy either. There is an edge there. But she is always – Always – taking the advice of Joni Mitchell and heading back out to the garden. Just maybe, and probably as cohorts, with a half million strong of teddy bears.