Karen Rivers

Some scenes involving hair.

Karen Rivers

Yesterday, I cut my mother's hair.  It's as delicate as I remember my daughter's hair being when it was first, finally, long enough for a ponytail.  

My daughter has spent the summer with wind blowing through her hair:  roller coasters and a swamp boat, speed boats and kite-flying gales.  The brush tore through knots and matting.   There was a leaf, a twig, some fluff.   We dyed it purple:  two shades, two boxes of dye.   Her pillow is magenta in the morning.  When she sweats, rivulets of lavender run down her cheeks.  

I let my daughter cut my hair.  As she cut, my head became lighter.   I sat up taller.   I fell in love with the sound of sharp scissors cutting away what doesn't need to be there.  

When I was six, my mother put my waist length hair into a braid and chopped it off.   A feeling that I'll never forget:  The way the comb abruptly ran out of hair to comb, somewhere above my shoulders.  The way my hair seemed alive, swinging around my face.

How quickly we are all changing, all the time, even when we are trying to stay still.   

Maybe if I learned to love it, instead of always leaning so hard on the brakes, it would be the difference between careening down a hill, terrified, out-of-control, and the feeling of being on a bike, the wind in your hair, your hands not touching the brakes on purpose, so fast that you're flying, you're free, and it's nothing but gravity that's even keeping you here, in this life, right here and now, every second your hair growing fractionally more, the changes happening in spite of you,  as unstoppable as wind and time.