The earth spins on its axis between sun and moonlight as oceans undulate under millions of waves rippling across the depths of its watery face. We look out from the green path between old growth cedars waving from the hill above Budd Bay skirting the southernmost inlet of Puget Sound.
Living in the rainforest bears no small relationship with water. Living with a Pisces makes sense here. The wet, the sunbreaks, the salty breezes beckon doors open behind and in front of us in our wee house so we are outside inside and inside out. Bundling wool and fleece above rubber-booted feet and under capped heads and sunglasses protect us from the elements of fickle weather and the ambush of mythical sunlight that makes us giggle in surprise.
The season turns.
Blue bells crow amidst long arcs of fronds pointing to flower seedlings patted into the ground by Lucy’s little hands. The flowers in Mary’s May garden are growing into gangly pre-adolescents in anticipation of full bloom ahead as they strive to gain ground in front of the kind-faced statue of the blessed mother. We are excited for their colors to come out. To my delight, the forget-me-nots from our Portland garden gleefully show off their happy faces as they resurrect who they’ve always been once again and strut their stuff way ahead of the pack in their pots on the back steps. Old kitchen to new kitchen, the migration of home to home follows an intuitive map in new surroundings.
Home. Parents move from the home they knew to a home in assisted living – reluctant at first and now, comfortable and happy. As long as Ole Dad has keys to car (can you spell freedom?) and a place to play his guitar for the Lord, it’s all good. Mom reads her paper and loves to get news in the mail. Handwritten letters make the cross-continental trip from northwest to southeast in a stream of reminders that its beloved reader is cherished by one of many children who wish not to be forgotten in old age. In a blink of an eye we see our future in their faces and turn to grab today like a pirate’s treasure before youth blurs to memory in a watery mix between body and soul.
“We were like children laughing for hours” sings Eva Cassidy’s in my earbuds, “…because I know you by heart.” That song kills me. She kills me. The delicious quality of her voice always brings my tender heart back to life as it beats under the noisy thoughts in my chattering head. I’m thankful for her voice and always say a small prayer for her wherever it was she went when she took her voice and left.
Prodded, I wake up my heart and take it for a walk to the local coffeehouse where I can hide out inside her voice and lose myself in the lining of dark wood walls and java to stream through thoughts while gazing out the window under sunny blue sky and fat clouds stridently sailing underneath in billowy puffs to kiss its belly until they disappear into each other.
The day is beautiful. I am happy to be in it. Ordinary. Quiet. I listen. One step removed from all that propels me into action I stop, holding my space as though sitting on a step betwixt to and fro, perched to watch and soak in the world around me as it spins outside my vision and holds me by the feet. I am thankful for gravity without asking. It’s just there and I am here, connected by nature. For now.
“One foot in front of the other” rings my mantra as we traverse the climate change. I walk.
My heart galvanizes as it navigates the territory of its nature inside the family and music of this past year. The love for my children wriggles its way into the life I lead and this time, this Mother’s Day, my heart is safe and full and more sure of itself than before. I plunder the wrinkles of my past to discover love between the folds no matter how the sheets lie.
My firstborn turned her fortieth year this month and suddenly I see myself as I was not so long ago – and then my eyes catch a reflection in the mirror to add another twenty years to the creases springing from my eyes as they crinkle into a grin. She has defined her life differently than mine but we are not so different behind the scenes. I treasure the common ground that belongs to us. We took a long and intrepid path to meet in this field plowed with the bones of our ancestors.
My oldest daughter and I have been writing a book for seven years. It’s beginning to shed its skin in anticipation of its walk in the world. It won’t be long before we lift the blinds and let the light shine on our story. I was pregnant with her when I was eighteen. She was eighteen when we met. The story is beginning to shed its skin in anticipation of its walk in the world. It won’t be long before we lift the blinds and let the light shine on a tale run on wheels of synchronicity against all odds. We made a pact to tell our story simply to help others who may wonder what can happen when the truth is found, face to face. We inhabit one of the oldest love stories. It is both tender and cruel. Without giving it away, it needs to be told, as all good parables do.
Her younger sister is in training to save the world through global economics, fair trade and saucy songs. The two beauties, my daughters, boomerang from both sides of my heart like trapeze artists of the highest order as a big hallelujah springs from crown to toe. I am a lucky mother.
The geometry of our journey has drawn us through the flux and flow of high places and deep ravines. I have traveled a long way to their joy. Their brothers are my stepsons from early on and we commune in a peace that comes with truth and love over time. I’m more sure-footed than before. I am here for them and they know where to find me. I can still mess up but they won’t disappear and neither will I. The psychic gut that ties the rope of our bridge is woven with love knots strong and intricate enough to hold us easily as we cross over to one another. We share each other so sweetly now. I relish this time and swing gladly into the paradox that has become our family.
The songs looking to find and follow the road home have found redemption waiting for my traveling heart. I set my bundle down. Grandchildren gather and clamor for hugs amidst laughter and kitchen noise. A lost mother finds her children waiting to greet her as she takes her place at the table. Prodigal mother, daughter and sister. Pass the butter and break the bread. Home at last. Hallelujah.
Mercy High, Mercy Low (Cathy’s Song)
by Kate Power ©1998 BMI/Katidoo (http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/kpse1)
I can’t love you more than I do
True lovin’s hard to explain
You’ve seen me through
You see through me
You see the things that I do
Mercy high, mercy low
No goodbye, just hello
Come right here
Don’t you go
Here under sky
On stepping ground
Take my hand, turn around
and we’ll waltz up sweet memories
I do love you more than old shoes
More than the sun on the rain
There’s nobody’s got somebody
The way I got you on the brain
Hold me, let’s dance together
One, two, three
Steps break like sudden feathers
And hearts break free
I was so wrong, you were so gone
I never got over your name
Just to lose you, forever
And we’re dancing together again
Hold me, let’s dance together
You lead me
Waves break in turning weather
and hearts break free
I do love you.
I do love you.
I do love you.
I do love you.
To read my daughter’s counterblog, please visit ReunionEyes.