Friday, November 27, 2009

The Bare Arms of Trees, by John Tagliabue

I was walking up Henry's driveway the other day, breathing steam into the air, and I said to him, "Look. There are no more leaves on the trees." And my spirit said, "Finally." It was cold that day. And it felt right.

O Winter, I thought, I must confess I thought, o welcome, cheers.

As much as I wished it to be otherwise, I felt so unsettled with Autumn. I kept shifting my weight around in that big orange armchair, unable to find a comfortable position. It was odd; I thought it would be easy to love. So many of my friends come into their own once the leaves start changing. I wanted to wrap my hands around Autumn and breathe in that warm pumpkin-scented spiciness. But it didn't seem to fit. I found myself looking out the window at that corner, thinking, "Winter, where are you?"

I've come to realize that I am a Winter Woman. I get so cold and so lonely and so quiet and so tea-filled. Winter is sometimes dark and bitter and difficult and slow, true. But it's honest. And I trust that there's life underneath and in it all, even when I can't see or even imagine it anymore.

O Winter. Winter gives me that great grey space in which to breathe. Winter lasts. I get to unfold and settle down. I'm not squeezing every moment out of it, not clinging to it like Summer. I'm not rejoicing in its triumphant arrival, like Spring. It's not Autumn, for goodness sakes. But Winter is my time and my season. This is when I come into my own.

Friday, November 20, 2009

There is Joy in All

Today I woke up too early and drove downtown to have coffee with Sarah Reid, which meant that she had tea and I had nothing (long line). It took me less than 20 minutes even with traffic! We talked and smiled and were sad and happy. It was joyous. Then I came home and made tea and watched "Glee." When I watch that show and I hear those men sing, I can physically feel the joy swell inside my ribcage. Dear sweet music. It makes me squeal and dance about my kitchen while waiting for my tea to steep. Steep, tea, steep! While I dance out my joy.

Life is crazy good. Crazy and good. And Glee delights me. And tea tastes like London and home. I can walk to work. I can hold hands with a five-year-old. I'm bringing the cats home tonight. Penney already loves them. We will have good times. I will be able to afford my rent. And that is wonderful and happy.

So while I think of it,
let me paint a thank-you on my palm
for this God, this laughter of the morning,
lest it go unspoken.

The Joy that isn't shared, I've heard,
dies young.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

O Peace.

When I came home from London I wrote about peace attending me. It was a phrase I had heard in a lullaby: "Sleep, my child and peace attend thee, all through the night." I loved the idea that peace was active. It was alive and working on me. Peace wasn't passive, it was aggressive. And then, frustratingly enough, I lost it. I didn't know how to hold onto it, or let it live in me. I wanted it; I asked for it; but I felt as though it had slipped through my fingers, or run away when my back was turned.

These past few weeks though, peace has come attending again. I glimpse it through the windows. I hear it in my choir. I feel it in my slippers and taste it in my tea. I look down and I'm holding it in my arms. O Peace. You're right in the middle of these hard things. I am still so uncertain and insecure. Life isn't stopping and things are spinning and spinning. But Peace is holding my hand, reminding me everyday of my undeserved blessings.

Peace is found walking around a Farmer's Market, holding Henry's little hand, feeding him little kiwis. Peace is his ridiculous adaptation of that favorite American pastime and his silly boy laugh and his short lived exclamation, "Holy thin apple!"

Peace is this new and surprising gift I've been given. It's late nights and new housemates and someone who is just mine. O Peace. Living in my house. Driving in my car. Attending me, all through the night.