embrace

embrace

Words have slipped through my fingers these many weeks. There are some ways in which it has been a lost summer, lost to the weeks of preparation and selling and buying and moving and settling.  We all feel, though, that we have gained more than we have traded away. The boys pedal away to the bike park, to the library, so freedom and adventures and speed. I go into town on my own two feet, with a straw hat and a shopping bag and wide wide eyes.  As I type, John assembles my big three-wheeled bike with the basket for books and loaves of bread and jars of local honey.  We swing between finding homes for dearly familiar possessions and making home in the new. What we dreamed in June has become real as the days shorten and we arrive at August’s last, gaspingly hot weekend. 

Outside of a golden bubble of exploration and nesting in which I have lived this August, it has seemed the world has been coming apart. In Ukraine and Iraq and Gaza and Missouri. I think it is a kind a guilt that has kept me silent, that others have suffered and struggled while I have basked in a peace I’ve never known before, a sense of profound rightness in my private world. 

I don’t know what to say about that.    As I look toward September, I try to send my prayers toward trouble, yet embrace the calm and the good here.  

 

 

Getting in under the wire, writing along with August prompts at A.L.M. Writes

 

Around Here

aroundhere

Yep, not only fell off the blogging wagon, but the wagon disappeared some time ago into the distance and I’m picking my way, unsteady and a little lost, in the direction I think it went.

I have missed Amanda’s beloved prompts, and my visits to the places where other good people write alongside. My Lists With Friends have been a victim of the last few months as well.

So today, a returning list, from Around Here:

  1. We put our house on the market on May 17th, and after forty-five days of the roller coaster of cleaning and prepping and showing and waiting, a lovely family decided to make our home of the last eight years their new home.
  2. Thus the busyness of keeping tidy and the exhausting internal game of trying to read the minds of strangers that is marketing a home shifted to the different busyness of preparing to move ourselves out of this space and into a new, very differently configured one.
  3. As we work through the paperwork and bureaucratic steps  that count down to closings, I’m trying to make things harder on this end to hopefully make them easier on the other.  Can’t even fathom a home for something in the new house, or been living happily without using it here?  Donate. Furniture we don’t need in the new house? Give to friends. Little decor projects I can do now? Hand me that spray paint.
  4. When we went back for our walk-through of our new-to-us home, I fell hard for the house all over again. I am gleefully excited to imagine a new space and layout, work with new colors, repurpose what we have to fit new uses.
  5. And then there’s our new hometown. The freedom and flexibility I’ve never had, my whole adult life. The library, coffee shops, thrift store, hair salon, all a short walk or bike ride away.  To be perfectly honest, I can’t really wrap my mind around that part yet. It hovers at the edge of all the preparations and organization like a half-remmebered dream.
  6. We have done a lot of living in this house, and our boys have grown from preschoolers to boys on the edge of young manhood in these walls, under these trees. When we first started talking about a move, I expected to feel sadder, more conflicted.  Instead, I feel grateful and ready.  Our time here is complete. As I lift my photographs from these walls and steadily the house becomes less personal, I’m thankful. I’m satisfied.  and I’m eager for all that comes next.

red lists

 

 

in the midst

inthemidst

I am peering into this space, seeing its wide white margins and curated words and photos and it seems like a kind of luxury.

Our house is still on the market, and until the sign went into the yard and we pinned our dreams and plans to another address on the map, I would have told you how much more serene I had become, about breathing and presence and peace.

The reality is less Zen. The reality is leaping in response to the text signal on the phone, as it might notify of a showing to a potential buyer. The reality is a house cleaned hopefully and fearfully, every day. A disgruntled cat, yowling from her carrier during uneasy rides in the car, and pots of touch up paint and endless trips to Goodwill.

Worse than the busy hands and restless feet is this monkey mind of mine, as it jumps from calculations and calendars to endless speculation about the motivations and desires of a nameless faceless buyer.  What does he want? What does she see?  Beneath all of it runs a constant supplication, for someone to fall in love here, as we did, eight years ago, with these very boards and bricks, these wide windows and old trees. My mind settles on little else.

John says we have rowed away from shore in the boat of this pursuit, and we do not aim to turn back.  We are in the midst, with nowhere to go but forward. We have come some distance from the place we pushed off from, the shoreline of our life in this space. Every day, as I polish this house’s surfaces and tidy its rooms, as I place meals on the table and see what color gladiolus have opened in the garden, I feel that distance.  Our hearts have packed their bags, steadily as the pile of salvaged boxes grows in the carport.  We are here and yet not here.  We may still be seated, but we lean forward.

 

 

 

 

Not Better, But Wider, or the Why to Go With the What

not-better-but-wider

So. I finally slept last night, soundly, only turning over as the six o’clock alarm went off and Monday stared peering around the edges of the shades. We have done it. The sign is in the yard. Our Realtor has fired up the great machine that sends the news of our house out where the buyers are, clicking through pictures and driving around with nervousness and hope. And we have found the area we want to be in, and walked the safe and side-walked less than a quarter mile to the library, the coffee shops, the park.

All my life I have been at home, at the window, waiting for rides, or waiting for the weekend and my husband’s off hours.  I’ve coordinated errands, and doctor’s appointments, and signed up for Amazon Prime to bring popcorn and gym socks and books to our door. We have juggled car pools.

It is a good life.  At every new season, I have bee blessed with friends who “get it,” who come and get me, who don’t want me to miss out on dinners and coffees and a Saturday at the thrift store.  John has never once complained, about joining all of Greenville at Costco on Saturday morning, or driving kids to school. It is a good life for an introvert like me, who needs long quiet hours to do my good work, who needs to recover after spending people energy.

But yesterday, on that sidewalk, waiting for the green lit message to walk, a new path opened in my imagination, a path of self-determination and independence. I felt the simple, gracious shape of the words in my mouth: “I’ll meet you there.”  There are hurdles between here and there, but that is where this way goes.

Not to a better life, but perhaps a wider one. For me surely, and for our boys, who are just the right ages to head off on bikes, to forge their own adventures.

We have loved it here, beneath our pecan trees. I’m trimming the roses and watching the lily buds swell and there is bittersweetness in the very morning light that pours into the kitchen. But then there is this other path, day by day more real under my feet.

 

 

next

next

It is a new season. Despite hats and lotion and shade trees, my collarbones are wearing their yearly blush of sunburn. The peonies have burst open. The lilies I gave up on are budding vigorously. We mow weekly now. Lemonade and grilled suppers, long twilights and mosquitos.

It is a new season in our hearts as well.  We have lived in this home well, cared for it, planted and tended its outdoor spaces and lovingly improved its indoor ones. But I hope by this time next week there is a sign in the yard, and down the road some new family to fill its walls with memories yet to be made.

We have set our sights on moving into the little town just north of here, where this non-driver could bike and walk all over, where we could all live less car-dependent and more fully in this foothills community we have come to love.  All the parts of this big decision have been simmering for awhile, but it has only just all come together.  The boys are on board, and we have all caught the vision of what this change could mean.

Of course, there is pruning and clipping and cleaning and putting away, shedding and sprucing. This house must be sold before the next is bought, but since we want accessibility to a specific area, we have been looking already.  All the questions and the math whirl in my head.  But beneath all the noise and the lists and Internet searches, there is peace.

I’ll be quiet here for awhile, I expect, as we see how the next steps of this journey go. In the meantime, I am delighted that a poem and a photograph of mine will appear in the upcoming summer issue of Kindred, which may be preordered here.

Wishing you all the beauties of May.

MK

 

bloom

bloom

I’m finding the only way to write my way out of writer’s block, this stubborn silence, is to write into it.

Bloom

 

I’ve been waiting

for a poem to bloom.

It is an act of faith

to hope that behind my closed lips,

beneath the hollow throat of my silence,

the hot green heart of something

is pushing steadily upward.

 

In three months I’ll gather sheaves

of gladiolus, half as tall as I am.

Do pink and yellow, coral and lavendar

live furled all winter beneath cold ground?

Do they dream of July in their knobby, tight-fisted

December bulbs?

 

And if I remain here, contientious in care,

watchful, trusting, will the words rise?

Will they return to me, all colors?

Lavish on their slender stems, will they be more

than I can gather and carry?

 

Following the thread of a word

or a phrase through May

with other good folks and

the prompts at A.L.M. Writes

 

throes of spring

throesofspring

April is the month we are busy

with questions of great urgency.

Will the lilies, last year’s disappointment,

not only emerge, but bloom?

Did the dahlias freeze in their winter bed,

the bare ground testimony to our careless November?

Why are all free day lilies orange?

What is the name, again, of that farmer’s market find

purchased on a whim?

 

Even as I humbly acknowledge

that once again, I’ve waited too late

to plant the spinach,

I pray against late frost.

In the foothills of South Carolina

when a freeze is threatened past Easter,

we are all peach farmers

and all pacing strawberry fields,

hands hovering blessing and protection over the tender blossoms.

 

These are the weeks when Hope pushes up

with the force of a stem through the red clay,

and plots and plans for beauty and a full belly

from the earth that may bake and crack

come first of August.

I need the woman I am in springtime,

sowing words and life and possibility

against future forecast and past history.

 

Writing along with other good folks

using the April prompts at Write ALM