She read this morning the words of Pearl Cleage and the gist clung unflinchable like a stray hair. Mothers have deep and rich interior worlds. What daughter doesn’t want to know the deep lessons learned while navigating?
Her own children believe she is magic. That homemade dresses, meals and clean floors simply appear. That she is Glenda the Good Witch and they are Dorothies in red converse and flip flops – sparkles optional.
There is no magic here, only life in its great clawing rawness. She wonders if sharing the how’s and why’s will help strengthen the wing feathers and strong roots she is creating. Will it provide a bigger vision?
She shovels clothes into the rush of water, pulling the bright pink t-shirt from the white of socks and summer dresses.
Are these quiet details as important as the recipe for Christmas morning cinnamon rolls? Or instructions to properly load a dishwasher? Or honing the skill of finding the perfect Katherine Hepburn pants that have good drape?
She chuckles “Or this?” and reaches for lavender scented Downy so mundane chores smell like fields of memory and dream.
Pearl Cleage’s daughter didn’t think so. She believed they needed to remain intimate to those who participated in them.
She sits quietly at the kitchen table. Outside the window, a honey bee searches the blossoms of the wilting Ballerina Roses for missed satisfaction. Inside light piano music mixes with screams of “Ow-ow-ow” and “Stop.”
She picks up the pen next to the day’s list.
Once upon a time is the way the most fantastic stories open. Those of good and evil, of great love, loss and big skies. This one has the added bonus that it is true or as we say around here: “I’m for Real.”
Once upon a time, a man came after many prayers were lifted. He liked the way I twirled in dresses and didn’t mind how my laugh unfurled in a room as if on wings. We became friends. And the air and light began to move differently.”
A nod goes to Story A Day for the prompt Epistolary Stories. Also to Things I Should Have Told My Daughter: Lessons, Lies & Love Affairs by Pearl Cleage.
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My brain is weary of those bullet pointed resume words customized daily. It is squishy, I know. It is no longer the taunt and fit muscle that hunts for dots to connect, that draws pictures in starry skies.
The stumble occurred on a random May morning over coffee. Story A Day. My interest perked but there were other more important things to tend. I left. I customized.
I don’t believe in coincidence – perhaps this is the open window, the rabbit hole filled with adventure to follow. I returned. I read and gathered. I chewed slowly for a month.
The prompt: Epistolary Stories.
I read or heard a story about a poet who telling of her craft said that sometimes words rush at her like a freight train when she’s in the garden. She drops the hoe and sprints to the house for pen and paper. Sometimes she makes it in time so the words ink themselves as gift, no thought, no editing. Sometimes her foot catches on the top porch step. She is late and the train rushes through her as if she were a tunnel. At which point, the words come perfectly backwards.
The saying goes like this: “It’s either a light at the end of the tunnel or a freight train coming.”
“No worries,” I whisper to self while opening a blank page. “You like trains.”
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Things are not going my way. I need to reschedule, re-organize, re-prioritize. I need to re-something. And I chuckle snarky at my internal shift.
These are the days when I’m grateful my shirt is on right side out. If I can to that, I have said out loud, all is lined tidy.
Then my mom notices the tag. It’s a label truly, just stamped paint & not what I need, which is the flag of hard white flapping surrender, getting hung in my hair or tickling my elbow like a gnat.
I smile wide. “Dang it. Stupid label.” I toss my hands in mock exasperation. “There goes the façade, Mom. I don’t have it all together.”
And we laugh together from the experience of tags out, unmet wants & unwanted mets.
Then her face gets stern. “Don’t fix it, Honey. It’ll be bad luck. Leave it as it is.”
“Sweet! One less thing,” I nod, laughing loudly.
Standing at the sink, watching the water rush away the remnants of dinner, I feel the hard swell rise despite. Then I pull her grace around me tight like the Holly Hobby sheets & quilt, the net from my childhood.
“I love you, Mom.” I say hands putting more dirty dishes into the sink.
“I love you too, Honey.”
Posted in Family, Gifts from Others, Mirror Mirror On The Wall | Leave a Comment »
I didn’t merely think of him, he didn’t pass through my mind like the missing item, something to be added to a list scrawled on paper or chalkboard.
He was summoned there by a whisper rising from center, where life forms. My continued longing deep brought him forth so that when I closed my eyes, I felt him near & solid in muscle & sinew, despite geography.
And we rode without conversation like that contented in the murmur of wheels, spray from tire trucks & children sighing in sleep.
I smiled offering up the way the steam rose from asphalt. The way the mist formed haloes around street lamps. The way Tennessee fog like a lace scrim lifted to the light to reveal the secret way trees exhale away the night. The way this right here is the dream of umbrellas and laughter.
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