When I miss you most, I’m driving down a strange split road, where people drive 65 mph and stop at lights on a dime.
I miss you when I’m paralyzed with indecision about whether this store, an unfamiliar sign and front, will have what I actually want.
When I get in the car and just circle aimlessly, wishing I knew where to find the green space that I’m craving.
Where to find the friendliest librarians, the freshest produce, the cheapest thrift items.
All the things I took for granted when I knew every route like the back of my hand, when I could expect the rhythm of every restaurant and hiking trail.
I miss strangers knowing exactly who my parents are and the trust that extends from familiar face to familiar face.
A warm sweetness of blossom and asphalt hang around my door now, interrupting the crisp apple of a memory. Fresh bread greets my mind when I walk through the doors of my hometown and I’m hungry for it.
Hungry for the comfort of knowing and being known. Wherever we are, this is the human search in our food, our hobbies, the places we go. Doesn’t a baby know exactly where it belongs because that is where it finds comfort?
You can love something new, while still missing the old and that is my constant balancing act, my privilege, challenge and bitter sweet joy in this season.
And I have to ask. What do you miss the most about where you came from?
I went searching for a picture to post on Mother’s Day, and ended up with too many.
It’s impossible, it seems, to capture in one frame what my mother is. I know her without second thought, but sometimes I feel like there is no end to every feeling or memory wrapped up in who she is.
All the unspoken patient moments and the sacrifices I’ll never understand.
The times she listened to my adolescent weeping.
When she’d send me outside to play.
The no’s along with the yes’s.
Her days sweating under a June sun in the garden.
Her face softening as she holds a newborn.
The little ways she laughs or asks about things in detail.
And how my Dad adores her.
She’s a skort and tank. A stern mouth and laugh lines. Fabric and hammer. Wisdom and eye roll.
She’s lemon flavoured with coconut whipped cream, and this year, I’m more thankful for her than ever.
To the girl you are and about to be, learn to laugh. It will help.
Those excuses you make? The verbal twists and denial? Just shake it out in the wind and while you’re at it toss the temper next. Slamming doors will never make you feel better.
Learn to apologize because you are grieved with your wrong doing, not because you hate conflict. Ride out the silence until you can say the words right, to God and your friend.
Waste no time wondering if you are pretty or have personality. This is only obvious to the people around you and seeking reassurance will interfere with the business of actually living.
Kill worry and turn it into prayer. Every time your sensitive stomach twists for the people around you, beat Heaven’s gate in confidence on their behalf.
Trust God. That what He says is truer and better than you will ever know. Trust that He does not hold secret suffering to tease you with and believe that His kindness will never stop.
Thank the people around you. See the world through their eyes, the brother, sisters, parents, old man and don’t be afraid to acknowledge their quiet greatness.
Play as hard as you can. Don’t be embarrassed by your own imagination. Eat popsicles and rhubarb pie. Hold lots of chickens.
And in awhile, you will grow up.
This time, (in honour of the last few days of National Poetry Writing Month) I wrote a trimeric.
come with me for the evening
to calm quiet woods
eyes ahead to the dusk
while our world fades to dark
to calm quiet woods
where tall trees still prove
that deep roots take flight if given the room
eyes ahead to the dusk
where the water invites
bold chorus of peepers, brassy song in the night
where our world fades to fuss
a forgotten stale anthem
for here there is nothing but him, i and love granted
In honour of the last few days in National Poetry Writing Month, I bring you a haiku.
water birthing suds
swirling path of useful chores
this. I am content
I’m shy about singing when I know people are listening. I don’t want them to think my private enjoyment is actually meant as performance for them.
I remember Mom once telling me that I didn’t sing as much as I used to and that she missed it.
We second guess ourselves too much.
I try to shake off the self conceit from time to time. Perhaps with practice it will become second nature and recently I caught a glimpse of that.
Walking through the store I sang to myself, not realizing it and when I did, not caring.
I know people who will burst out anywhere at anytime and I hope to become that someday. Less worried about myself and simply glad to give voice to what’s on my heart.
To sing is a deep expression of attitude and choice, deeper than I realized as the child that my mother heard from her office chair.
And now, choosing to find my way back to that girl, I’ll give voice again to those watermelon sweet days.
The other day I stepped outside for a breath of fresh air and found myself face to face with a brownish and extremely long newt. It peeked out of the woodpile at me, red face furrowing whatever eyebrow substitute that newts possess.
I expected him to scuttle away immediately, but he held his ground with alarming tenacity. We locked eyes until he flickered his tongue at me, I couldn’t stand it anymore, and retreated back into the kitchen.
For the rest of the week I’ve given the woodpile a wide berth, and have seen the creature only once more. I pray I’ll never witness newt babies, but it did look like a friend was visiting the other day,..I never thought I’d be googling the reproductive habits of newts and geckos.
I keep on thinking about all this, because I feel like there might be some sort of spiritual lesson hidden in this episode. Is it the newt’s willingness to make do with whatever home, circumstances provide? Is it his respectful observance of my personal space on the patio? I can’t help thinking, what if his scowl was only misunderstood social anxiety and what if he actually wants to be friends?
In all honesty, I can only give him his space and tiptoe around him every time I go to the laundromat or to get the mail. Who can plumb the depths of a newt’s mind after all?
I’m no Gussy Fink-Nottle.