The weather shifts abruptly. I guess that tends to be the pattern around these parts. But I feel like I've been playing catch-up for the past week. Left to orange leaves, returned to bare trees, left to sun, returned to gray. I say that, but then look outside and see the patches of blue bursting through, remind myself that sometimes I just have to embrace it, go outside, pump my arms, my music, breathe in the clean of the air.
I spent last weekend watching bravery and wisdom at work. My sister is tremendous and her words, her movements, her honesty, fed me like rich and healing wine. I was a mess of art and sunshine, words and words, the scent of the fragrant California air, my beloved family all around me. I wrote this for her...
A Love Poem for Hilary
I rub her between my fingers, squeeze out the essence of memory –
oils of lavender and rosemary, soft seep of a white rose,
cleanse of eucalyptus and ripe sage, the way they climb
from beneath pavement, over walls, confident, unstoppable and
the breeze barely ruffles the wild hair of the palm, her skinny torso and
assured base. She dances with heat and shadow, light and feminine while
the thick oak reaches with his ancient embrace, all intellect and memory,
all root and foundation and I smell my childhood and her soft steps past the
stucco of the library, black wrought iron and Spanish tiles, everything
low to the ground,
close to the earth.
Sometimes I can’t believe I ever left you,
fled over mountains and rivers,
through torrential sleet and blinding white snow,
left it all behind,
our family and her songs, the syncopation of sisterhood, lure of the ocean
and the way she appears after that long tunnel on the ten,
that last curve before we flow into PCH, the blinding shine of blue,
the arms of the ocean calling me to return
again and again.
And this for him...
You sing of the angel of the morning, she’s calling out
your name and I feel you reach your hand down my throat, down and down,
grab hold of my heart just enough so I catch my breath and then return,
There’s another moment on the screen.
We dance a little duet, your black top hat and silver tails,
my long braid whips, orange tights, subtle and focused smile.
I feel the space between us,
how I waited in the wings with the music,
the sweet crescendo,
waiting for my turn to join you,
how we practiced after school at your house,
your loose shoulders,
weight barely forward,
faces barely touching.
How wise we both were, even then,
to understand darkness, to be unafraid,
jazz hands and swaying hips,
the heat of the stage lights,
the range of your voice,
knowing even then that
there would be very few times like these,
that this was it,
the purest of love.
And this is what I still choose,
harmony over dissonance,
the memory of your voice reaching
over highways and mountain ranges,
radio waves and the highest of heavens
where you rest
to sing at peace.
And from all that big stuff life continues to spill. The laundry builds like little gossips, whispering their secrets, reminding you that you can't hide from the trite for too long. The children continue to save their worst selves for me, fierce devotion and whiny frustration, his big lipped kisses and loud protestations, her sweet questions until she bitch slaps me out of nowhere, just to keep me in check.
But this day off is a gift. A gift to remember how peaceful it is when he sleeps, when she is whisked away by a buddy, their first grade humor, his little fists rub red eyes. I bought myself all my favorite healing foods, prepared a huge plate, ate slowly, at attention. No one asked for anything, the phone stayed quiet, my gaze still.