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“The blueprint isn’t the building.”

Mary Pipher

“actions speak louder than words.” shoot, if i had a nickel for every time i’ve heard my mother say that, we’d be having this conversation in person, and i’d be picking up the tab. laboring, trusting, noticing, speaking, writing, yearning, connecting, pondering, desiring, building, standing, dancing, surviving. these are all actions that julie mentioned in her post. her post reads to me as a segue, a bridge from talking to doing.

caring is an action. so is caregiving, tending, pondering, deciding, preparing, singing, trying, loving, wiping, cooking, nurturing, hugging, listening, crying, seeking, writing, bearing witness. see, actions don’t have to be global to be valid or worthwhile.

many women who are career caregivers and family hearth keepers eventually find themselves stepping over the threshold of their front door, and all too often, it’s like leaving a darkened theatre and stepping right smackdab into the sunny parking lot. there’s an acclimation that must take place. many of these are women can tell you in the blink of a gnat’s eye what everybody around them thinks and feels, but ask them what their opinion is on something, ask them what gets their blood churning, and they draw a blank.

Some people go to priests; others to poetry; I to my friends.

~Virginia Woolf

knowing our own thoughts and passions takes a little longer. discovering, defining, and clarifying personal voice are actions. so is supporting ourselves and others as we move through this stage.

we talk, write, listen. we poke around, visiting blogs to see what resonates with us – all actions – and while there are books and plays i want to write, i’m itching to do something that involves moving more than my fingers. i’m ready to live into my word of the year, ready to do something JustBecause.

some women go spend time at the ocean. other women get a job doing something they’re interested in. others collect, paint, draw, yarden, train for marathons.

but me? right now – as of last week – my action involves finding an old piano and deconstructing it down to the keyboard. all i want is the keyboard. a full keyboard. 88 keys. and once i have the keyboard, i want to hang it on the wall in my studio. it’s a desire, and desire is an action.

when this crazy idea came to light, i smiled (a good sign) and said to myself, “okay. so where do i find a piano?” i have a piano, mind you – music is in our blood – but i don’t want to take it apart, so i did what i always do: i asked my friends. within 4 hours of posting a note on facebook, a woman i seldom see even though i’ve known her for decades, commented that she had a piano i could have. the plan is to look at it tomorrow, then find a way to get it from there to here, find some tools, and let the deconstruction begin.

will harvesting the keyboard of an old piano save the world? shoot, no. will it cure cancer or restore order to haiti or stop domestic violence and rape? don’t i wish. no, i expect this is nothing more than one woman who’s itching to do something, doing something. nothing more, nothing less.

and i’m doing it with the help of friends. some i haven’t seen in years. others i’ve never seen (in person) at all. helping, listening, giving, picking up . . . those are all actions. and every action leads somewhere.

even the teensy little action of clicking on the name of a woman who left a comment on julie daley’s blog. there’s one more piece to this post, but i’m about to be late to a very important writing date with a friend i met when she came to audition for a show our theatre company produced last summer, so till soon . . .

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my great aunt rene (and i mean “great” in terms of lineage and as an adjective) was a career caregiver. she never had children, but she took care of us, her brother, her two sisters, and countless others. in her younger years, she took such good care of a sick, elderly man that when his father died, the son deeded the house to her in appreciation. she then build a small house on the back of the lot and created an apartment on one side of the house, and the rental income fed and clothed her when her youngish husband died. laughing, playing canasta, yardening, and flirting were some of aunt rene’s more noteworthy actions. she took care of people and plants, and she tended them – us – well. the azaleas in the photo are in her yard.