Facing into the wind and finally a face….

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There are 100 counties in North Carolina,
and I begin trolling through them all,
searching the obituaries for a place I’ve got a homesick longing to see.
I have to do something,  my hunger to know gone so long unfed
and I’m given over to the kind of desperate that makes you clutch and grasp and make a fist.

I want to find her hometown,  walk down her childhood streets,
see where she spent her long ago days
– to feel the traces she may have left behind.
And to find the grave of the mother she mourns.
I won’t barge into her space uninvited,  but I ache to quiet the rattle as my mind
circles ’round the lot looking always for a place to park.

But I don’t want to wreck this for either of us.
God help me please,  I’ll wait.
She’ll say when she’s ready.  She will.
I pull up,  unfold the clench of my jaw, release again the strings,
and another year goes by.

She is bright and accomplished and can find me if she wants,  I am positive.
But why doesn’t she?
Is it because she can’t hear the all of my heart?
Or because she can and doesn’t want me?
The un-knowing makes me feel small.  A mouse. My imagination on too much catnip.
And Edith,  please,  what do you actually say to her?  And how do you say?
Because,  for the love,  why doesn’t she write back?
I wrestle like this for years.
I can be minding my own business,  living as wholehearted as I know how,  and then
this roque breaker will clap down sudden like thunder and I’m splintered by the silence.

I sit down hard on every grabby impulse;  I want her to know she is free.
She doesn’t owe me anything – this I believe.
I can touch my own scar and remember vivid when they wheeled me down the halls
and away from her small body left still beneath the bilirubin lamps to make her better.
I bear down on a hope that I’m leaving her to something better,
but I can feel it inside where something tears sharp with each door they pushed me through
that I am the one who is leaving.
And as I go,  I know it like I will come to know this pain that never leaves,
that there is no way she’s not gonna feel this.

Does she feel it now,  I wonder,  and it unnerves the holes of me.

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It’s been almost eight years since the tide rolled in with a bottle on a wave
and brought me first news of my girl.
One busy afternoon in September the agency rings again
and I grab on like a rope sweeping past.
She’s talked with Amanda and has some things to share;  do I have the time?
The orbit of everything grinds to a halt as I drop to the floor to listen hard.
Edith’s words come like giftwrapped punches.  My daughter’s whys.
I hear from a long ago place and can’t remember how to breathe.
The grown of me defends Amanda’s right to take whatever time she needs,
to feel whatever she feels – even if it’s abandoned.
She’s smart and feels deeply and her process is beautiful and valid
and I get behind her choices like an angry mama bear –
 thanks for calling,  really,   but please don’t call again unless there’s a letter.

I hold this fresh jumble of not-knowing for five minutes,  maybe a little longer,
and then lunge for my laptop,
prying open the lid long forbidden.
A newspaper in the eastern part of my state whispers the name of a woman,
survived by a daughter,  that offers an “Amanda” in the cluster of those related.
There it is.  Their family name.  Her hometown.

I know enough from Edith to be sure that she’ll have a web presence
and my fingers fly across the keys as I google the magic box
and a string of images appear.
It’s her.
Oh God,  it’s her.
I know them at once,  those honest,  hazel eyes.
I’m glad to be alone as I rock backwards on my feet and bolt from the room,
suddenly overcome by emotion that I still can’t name or figure.
My throat goes dry even as I type this now.
I return and look again,  scrolling through several images,  all so deeply familiar
and overwhelmingly and achingly and astonishingly her.

I’m head over heels,  peering through tears that geyser up from somewhere deep,
as if my belly recognizes what my eyes can just now see.
I can’t quite keep breathing,  but I love this face more than air
and I stand for a long, long while at the bright window of her smile.

gnight from the fields
“If I chase your echos down the hallways
long enough,
if I just get ahold of them once,
just once,
will it bring you back to me?”
– Tyler Knott Gregson

This Summer series.  My story finding it’s way into the light.
It’s been peck and crack and struggle and I appreciate your kind patience
as I wobble along.  If it reads smooth and clear,  then I’m not telling it true.
I can feel your questions like I’ve keenly felt mine.  I’ll answer them around the bend.

 

of pots and pans and wings…..

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It’s been long hours driven inside from the cold
and I’ve been cooking to stay close to the fire,
making food with love for body and soul
because sometimes it’s the only way I know
in the muddy places
and so there I stand,  heart a little shaky,
hands solid on the shiny purple of the onion
that I slice through crisp
as the tears run down a healing tide

and I breathe in deep the smell of sunshine crawling up from fresh split peppers,
and the heat climbs,  too,  from my hands soaping dishes
in a sinkfull of prayer poured out over steaming water
and I hear again the sound of singing river
grooving slow across the buried things inside
until the song opens true
and captive things break loose
and I feel it stilled,  the quaking
of this heart running scared.

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and while I pour another lazy stream of olive oil
I pour out,  too,  the song that’s getting unstuck down inside
and a warm breeze grooves across my heartstrings
until my feet have to scoot and slide
and  I feel again safe-held
inside wings that don’t force or squeeze
and heaviness slides off into the water
as I tug free the drain.

I wish you oil and warm and water and light
and a fresh song rising:)

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“What’s lost is nothing to what’s found,
and all the death that ever was,
set next to life,
would scarcely fill a cup.”
-Frederick Buechner

A Christmas hush….

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I’ve listened for  it since I was little,
the hush that seems to fall like snow
these days before Christmas,
a  holy quiet
that hovers heavy
sweet and thick,
even in the bustle,

the universe holding her breath
in wonder.

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I’m slipping into the quiet
for a long soak,
making space to bask
and awe
and holding close to heart for each of you
love
and Christmas hope.

I'll see you back again before the new year.
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 "How silently,  how silently
the wondrous gift is given...."

-O Little Town of Bethlehem

let me count the ways….

 Celebrating 29 years of togethering
  and oh how grateful I am
 for my mister

~  his beautiful hands and kind, firm touch,
 ~ his quiet way
 ~ how when he laughs,  really laughs,  it's music,
 like my grandpa's,
~ his loving fierceness for protecting our children
 ~  the compassion that rises up and takes him over
 when he senses genuine need.

~ that he keeps learning,  keeps growing,  keeps opening to change
 even when it challenges and chills him,
~ that he notices nature with childlike eyes.....our shared love for
 wildlife and aliveness was how we fell in love,
~  that he still surprises me,
~  the way he cares for my car
~ that he takes life's  hits and keeps moving forward

  ~  how he wouldn't quit on "us" and wouldn't let me quit, either
  ....the peacefulness that's come.

 

~  the way his eyes smile to me in a crowd,
~  the feel of his hand on the small of my back,
 ~ the iron sharpening iron way he challenges me with his
 oh-so-different-from-me-ness,
 ~  the happy squeeze in my belly when we ride the same wave,
 ~ the way he's learned to be free about me being me.

 ~  how we've learned to fight hard and often and well,
 ~  the way his straight lines sometimes bend to blend with my wavy ones.
~  The way he lives his own truth and keeps it real,
 ~  his calm courage when I lose it and come undone
~  his humility when I'm the braver one.


~
  that his heart is tender,
~  his prayers are real,
~  his love is faithful,
~ his art is forgiveness,
~ and his story is strong.

~  the way he loves his mama,  feels his music,  and lives out his love
for me real and raw and true,
~ that i love this adventure we share more each day,
~ and that I believe
that together we can find a way

to thrive through whatever comes down this unpaved path
we travel together.

 

Wait!  That’s 29~  and there’s so much more to love!
I want years more still
for the telling.

stuffing stockings for you….

Stockings are my favorite.
I closed my eyes today and stuffed one for each of you,
my heart layering wishes and prayers
into bright quilted spiritsocks to send on Christmas breezes.

Down in the bottom,  like a big shiny apple,
I plunked a prayer that you’d hop quick and light through tangles
like a surefooted wren in underbrush,
never bogged down or boxed in.

Then I melted down the crayons
that would color you a victim,
scooped balls from the molten pools, 
then sculpted and dried into powerful pellets
for you to pitch at lies and sink them
like the accuser in a dunking booth.

I dropped in big belly laughs,  lush meadows,  quiet pools,
and plenty of light and space,
a string of exhuberant stars burning hopeful through the night
that you’re never alone,
and a Mary Oliver poem about another sunny morning
and the lucky person who is in it
(oh let that happy lark be you)

I tucked in Dickenson’s wish that your rambles be sweet,
your reveries spacious,
and some colorful feathers that whisper “you’re worthy of wings”

I draped a bouquet of flowers from the top
to gently croon that it’s safe to bloom
and a loveable Lionel….a sort of communication angel like his character in The King’s Speech
to coach out every bit of your voice that may still huddle stuck and shut down.

Into the nooks and crannies I tucked candles that flicker encouragement,
pretty little packages of savory sustenance
and teas for chasing chill and fatigue.
Then I scooped in a whole caboodle of newborn dreams;
they trickled down like skittles into every crevice,
and some truffles of precious time wrapped in glittering foil
in strong flavors of go slow and savor
(I went heavy on these so that THIS year you’re gaining time)

And I smiled at all the love packed snug like a stowaway inside;
I hope you feel it like a song,
a warm hand on your back when you need another along,
a blanket pulled up on a cold night,
a glad squeeze for how you share and shine.

Go ahead and open it early……there will always be more,
always be enough,
always:)

A big warm thankyou to beautiful Kamana for having me over at her stunning place!  Treat yourself to a visit
to her warm island and even warmer heart.