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November 3, 2015

learning to read again

I was fuming about after-school traffic, how congested even a small town
can get, kids pouring like ants into the streets. My silent assault continued
at the grocery store, whose aisles careened with leisurely shoppers unfolding
the weekly circular starbursted with the latest sales. I kept thinking
I was in a hurry - this narrative so familiar and persistent - when it's impatience
that colors too many of my pages. While I staggered through the obstacle course
of the dairy case, a woman - a mother, a grandmother, a wife - was on her final
lines, an innocent riding in the passenger seat as a truck in the opposite lane
weaved too far and struck the blow that closed the book for good. This morning, I want
to slow everything down - each sip of coffee and blade of grass. Every blink of my foolish eyes.


October 27, 2015


Soon enough, the journey takes us here: a limbo of an intersection where the signs
are too faint to read and the view in each direction is indistinguishable
from another. It is so quiet we can hear the rise and fall of our own lungs,
and yet it is this very silence that topples our resolve. We'd rather run back
to the noise of where we came from than linger at the fork bending toward an
uncertain and inevitable future, but of course, that's door's already locked behind us.
So this is where we find ourselves, wobbly and wistful, our heads a wasp's nest of What-ifs,
the choices heavy with question marks and every answer split in two. It's a gift, then,
our legs are bound at the seams, the bones of us held together in a single body. We can't
be everywhere at once, ever. We can only stand where we are, where it matters.


October 20, 2015

balancing act

The leaves have begun their annual descent, and though I knew 
it was coming, I am grasping to summer's last straws, memories of the slow
dance the sun made with a Blue Ridge sky, the line out the door at Rita's 
for frozen custard, the dirt under my nails when I dug out our first 
radishes. It is hard, as the poem says, "to desire everything and nothing
at once and to desire it all the same," to stand, equipoised, on the fence 
that separates all that was from what will be, and rest in that tippy present
of what is while the sidewalks accumulate with the fallen and the day
abbreviates its sentences. And yet, isn't light at its most glorious no matter
how distant or close it appears? How our eyes keep blinking open, just in case.


October 13, 2015

the accidental flutist

Who knew that October would lend itself to such summery improvisation, 
that the sun would slant just so and the kids, Sunday-sleepy and a little delirious
from their busy first weeks of school, would gather at the elbows
of their grandmother to listen? Who knew that the notes would swing
out of her like a new kind of jazz, that we'd sit, grinning and a little envious
as she closed her eyes to find a rhythm and made wild,
unabashed movements as if she were channeling the Pied Piper?
It wasn't music, exactly, but when you're sitting in the bright light of even
the slimmest happiness, it doesn't matter who's listening. Only that
you are holding your instrument close to your bones and playing your heart out. 


October 6, 2015

instructions from acorns

We were bemoaning the first chilly twinges of the season. Already, 
so many leaves had dropped, having skipped those photogenic turns
made famous by Sunday drives and Yankee Magazine. Time seemed
to be running out. For what, exactly, we weren't sure, but we were clinging
nonetheless, our bodies tilted toward lukewarm sunlight. 

Below, disrupting our footsteps: countless, anonymous acorns. It was easy
to think them a nuisance, or worse, a hazard; at first, we looked for a path
to avoid them entirely. But their thick, wide scatter made that impossible,
and the walk became slow and careful, and time fell silent, and our gaze softened,
and the acorns - fallen from grace - looked almost exactly like stars.