It's nine nineteen on a Tuesday morning. I sit at the table, big mug of coffee, glasses, gray sweatshirt, slippers. The children are still quiet in their beds after a night of raging fevers for Sol, nightmares that send Elie from the bed in a dazed discontent. I should be at work right now, another sick day surrendered to my babies.
I spent the past few hours awake reading books about how to write poems, exercises, examples. I devoured page after page. When I sat down to write in my little journal, the images felt flat, lifeleless, like this white mush outside my window, the absolute gray of the trees, the still of this kitchen table, the strange haze of night after sleepless night. I open this instead.
Last night I took Eliana to church, the MLK service the only one we find ourselves at year after year. The room was filled with so many different kinds of people -- more color, shapes, sexualities than I'm graced with normally in my Missoula day to day. While she fidgeted during the key note, disinterested in the LGBT community in Montana, the voice of the other that some are working so hard to hear, she came alive when the fancy dancers from St. Ignatius found their way towards the front. Eagle feathers and buffalo teeth, golds and blues spinning, stomping to the percussive wail. Children and elders, strong young boys, each person moving in his or her exact and perfect way. I'm smoothing her curls out one by one, I'm gently holding her perfect shoulder, her neck craning this way and that to get a better glimpse. When my students names were read, their poems chosen and awarded and recognized, we cheered loudly together. "That's Ava," she squealed, "She won!" The children's folk choir began their first bars of, "This Land is Your Land" and invited us to join. Eliana looked up at me with those tremendous, true eyes, and I felt flooded with absolute contentment. I felt the power of community, the sacred and collective breath of filling space with our voices, our hopes, our strength. I smiled as I looked around, so many faces I recognized, so many I'd never seen. I felt so proud to be the mama of that beautiful girl beside me, her mismatched socks, snow boots on the floor of the pew because she'd decided to make herself comfortable, knees tucked to chin or spilled over to the side, cozy-ing in to her mama.
This mountain community, my family, my students, my friends, they all continues to astound me. Even in the sleepless wonder that is this morning. Even if the sun has yet to shine.