40 years the Spring

I’ve posted this for many years;  a loving,  healing ritual.
Because I need to honor this out loud,
especially for those who haven’t found their voices yet
And to honor all of the days these 40 years since

because they are each of them marked by both pain and light.

And to honor mothers everywhere,
because our hearts bear always the stretchmarks
of loving and letting go.

 It was March 1979.
Breezes turned balmy and I pulled off my shoes,
letting swollen feet tramp across the warming earth.
I was pregnant with my first baby,  due St. Patrick’s Day.
For weeks I had ached for time to stop,  squeezing myself shut to the coming separation,
the word “relinquish” heavy on my heart.

But today the weather had turned,  and hadn’t everything somehow changed?
Spring had come with her own dreamy wildness
and waves to ride far beyond the looming loss.

I spent the morning sun-soaking,  watching the wind stir the tire swing
I’d played in not so long ago.
I was newly seventeen,  an “unwed” mother
with an unwanted task:
to give my baby to someone she deserved.

Soon she would come apart from me,
gone before the leaves flushed out;
their buds were fat and ready to pop.
Like me.
I went quiet with the knowing.

But this day was vivid lovely and it got inside me.
As the sun began to dip low,  a storm of pain rumbled
and hammered down urgency inside my belly
as grownup voices began herding me into the night.

As my frightened parents gathered my things into the car,
I lunged back inside for one last minute alone
with the gentle life that had so shaken mine
with her own tender worth.

I lowered my heavy frame onto the bed and tried to sing one last lullabye
but could do only tears, a fragile goodbye.

Following strong contractions downstairs and
into
the
night,
I returned home with only fierce memory
of her tiny fingers and face.
But I’m marked forever by her essence,
often swept away by her melody
as it drifts across my heartstrings.

I recognize her song.

Forty Springs.
I honor each of her days.
Today I tenderly comfort the girl-in-me who carried her
before she was transplanted into the garden
that nurtured her to thriving.
And I remember those shimmery days when we were just us,
when she was still mine.

“I don’t have much money but if I did
I’d buy a big house where we both could live.
If I were a sculptor,  but then again,  no
or a man who makes potions in a traveling show

I know it’s not much but it’s the best I can do
my gift is my song and this one’s for you.

And you can tell everybody this is your song
It may be quite simple but now that it’s done
I hope you don’t mind,  I hope you don’t mind
that I put down in words
how wonderful life is while you’re in the world.”
– Elton John

Thanks for giving a listen.
For being a witness.
I hold this as a gift
with love and thanks – Jen
( Self care gift to myself this week – lots and lots of words;))

River she keeps rolling….

blog river
Sometimes it cuts through sudden,   the blade of old ache,
so sharp it slices into the tender parts of who we are;
funny how a season soaked in merry-making
can shake loose the pain,
send it fumbling  from where it lay buried alive
and this,  too,  is gift

because sometimes in the wreckage we settle too soon
and the nails we drive to prop us up
can become the cages we can’t shake

But river Love,  she keeps rolling
a healing,  cleansing tide,
a swell of  saving connection
showing the worth and weight of our life

DSC07793

And river she holds the strength and supply,  the secrets,  the stories,  the songs,
pulsing and swirling and telling
you are cherished and seen….you belong.

What if we don’t numb it back down,  braveheart,
when low thunder of grief starts to roll
remember what our true selves long for,
feel again what our hearts used to know
we were born for those wild living waters
so whatever the season may bring

just lean,  really lean,
simply lean your way in,
wade out from the shoreline or leap into the deep,
Love is the river and keeper and giver
the flying,
the thriving,
the wings.

scan0004

You are very much embraced
even when all is not merry or bright.
Lean into it.

“Love is the one thing we’re capable of perceiving
that transcends time and space.”

-from Interstellar

I want to give away a copy of my December issue of Ripplesongs,
the holiday issue.
Leave a comment and you’re in for the drawing:)
With a whole lot of love.

choosing to cherish…

DSC08831editededited
“I miss Dolly,”  her faint voice trembled
with over ninety years of love and loss,
her tiny frame seated near my kneeling down
as I planted the blooms that will keep her company
in the living and letting go.

Her goodbyes have been a long and steady stream,
husband,  siblings,  family and friends
…so many graveside goodbyes,
sitting small now in the yard,  wistful eyes tugging at memory
and searching the windows of Dolly’s house empty next door
still unsold and looking  painful hollow.

DSC08976editededited

I listened to the homesick  sound her heart made
and clucked soft and pulled weeds from Dolly’s bed,  too,
so the lonely wouldn’t grow so tall
and filled Sara’s  bowl with attention and fresh water
and “I hear you” and “I care”
and made sure the flowers will sing her their sweetest songs

and packed up my tools and the wisdom
that is her gift to me,
this freshly fertilized choice to cherish
and I tuck it in close to heart as I drive away
and hear it deep down,
hear it clear and strong:
Appreciate
Show up.
Don’t waste this.

Life is shorter than our busy days can make it seem.
Be here now.

DSC04434editededited

“To live in this world,  you must be able to do three things.
To love what is mortal,  to hold it against your bones
knowing your own life depends on it,
and when the time comes to let it go,
let it go.”

-Mary Oliver