Friday, May 29, 2009

spring around here

My yard is, I've decided, a place of healing. All those blooms and all that green are like a long lost friend fresh off a red eye flight from a frozen continent who shows up unexpectedly on your doorstep one desperate, dark morning bearing brightly-wrapped presents for no particular reason at all, except that it just seemed the thing to do.

I walk around barefoot in the damp and warmed grass these days--all around me: azure and violet and crimson and buttercup yellow hugged by the shiny ribbon of emerald leaves. I am amazed how everything that was held hostage underground all cold, dark winter-long now breaks the soil, easily as breathing and unravels like a finally-loosened braid, like the silky ribbon of a corset.

Every morning a new delight has appeared from the soil. "Look!" my husband whispers some mornings, "I think the gourds and sunflowers grew an inch overnight!" Meanwhile, the birds rediscover the feeder and its bounty of seeds--they chirp and squawk and light upon the fence and bushes and finally on the dangling feeder that swings with their weight. Whatever darkness that happened in winter evaporates now, rising along with the vegetable garden's dew to a new sky.

The tomato and pepper plants are flowering; the blueberry bushes and squash and cucumber, too. Soon enough, they'll hand over their treasures, letting us hold hope in our hands, teaching us what resurrection tastes like.

Sunday, May 17, 2009


So we're sitting on the porch the other day. Caleb is sitting next to this plant. Spontaneously he reaches out and ever so gently cups a grouping of leaves in his hand. I watch on, perplexed, as he wiggles his fingers and turns his hand this way and that in the leaves. Then he whispers, "It's okay...I'll hold your hand."


So we're in the car. I've just strapped the boys in, fastened my seat belt and put the key in the ignition. And from the backseat I hear Caleb say:

On your mark!
Get sick!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

A dream while napping one recent day

I am at a daycare/preschool picking up my eldest son. A little African American boy runs out of the door ahead of us as we are leaving. He is headed straight for a busy road and runs out of sight around a corner. I am so afraid for his safety; I am yelling and running furiously after him with my son.

As I turn the corner, I see an African American woman ushering him to safety. I am relieved and breathless. What would I have done without this woman? I take a second look at her and realize she is my favorite teacher of all time: Priscilla Green, my high school English teacher, who died much too early last year of cancer. I say, "Priscilla? Is that you?"

"Yes," she says, "I am here."

I throw my arms around her in a wild embrace and ask her: "Are you okay?"

"Oh, yes..." she says, "Let me show you." And she holds me very closely, which somehow allows me to feel with my whole mind and body what she shows me, which is this: ecstatic daffodils, new and upright, swaying and trembling in bright, Spring morning sun.

Sunday, May 3, 2009


I unearthed "Godspeed" a couple of weeks ago and let it shower over Tavish, Caleb and me in my cheerful and cramped office one afternoon, happy tears springing from my eyes. Years ago, I used to listen to it alone in my car and cry tears of grief and depression and lost love, hoping beyond hope that I could one day be lucky enough, good enough, to have a baby of my own to sing this song to.

I had no idea how little it had to do with luck, and how good--perfectly good--I already was. I had no idea the beautiful plan God had for my life, the beautiful boys who would grow like miracles in my womb, take their first breaths on my wet and grateful breast, and become firmly rooted in and wrapped around my brave and worn heart. I had no idea how close my greatest happiness really was--close as a veil against my face.

I let the song and my tears rain deliciously down and marveled at bright-eyed Tavish perched contentedly on my hip and gorgeously curious Caleb standing on my office chair blowing out a candle. Gratitude spun like a thousand sunlit pinwheels in my chest.

The other day I found out that "Godspeed" was written by a father for his three year-old son whose mother was moving with the boy to France to be with her boyfriend. I know a little something about being the kid in a move like that. And now, as a parent, I glimpse the tower of pain my biological father must have lived in after my mother and I left. And in the faces of my little boys, I see how fragile and heartbreak-able I must have been.

Ten years ago, trying to find my way home in more ways than one, I took a strange and magnificent and important drive across the country and back. On the way out west, as I was crossing the state line into Colorado (my birthplace), "Landslide" came on the radio. The snow on the mountains was pink with sunset and the road ahead was turning purple with the coming dark. Weeping, speeding through the falling dark, I sung "Landslide" the way I always secretly have: to him, that daddy I had had to leave so many years before.

And so this evening when I found "Godspeed" and "Landslide" paired together in this YouTube clip, it seemed so appropriate. In a burst, my childhood drizzled like confetti behind my eyes and I felt the way seamen must when a wild storm brings them finally to shore.