Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Songs of Dedication

I’m listening to De-Li’-ful.  Well let’s just call her that for the sake of this story... 
And De-Li’-ful reminds me, on the off chance that I went into a sappy love song induced coma, by announcing to me and all of her listeners right before a commercial break, “You’re listening to De-Li’-ful.  And let me just tell you, if you have ever heard De-Li’-ful, you already know you’re listening to De-Li’-ful.   C’mon does a heroin addict know they just shot up heroin?  De-Li’-ful gets into your bloodstream that way.  You listen, for the numbing effect.  But you have to seek it out.  You start listening to her stories, her callers stories, and suddenly you aren’t sure if your eyes are welling up because you can relate to the beautiful man that is so embarrassed because he, wait… he….can’t say…he has a problem with in…. in….well,  he wets his pants …but before De-Li’-ful and the rest of us can allow him to finish his sentence, De-Li’-ful says in that voice, with that delivery the way only De-Li’-ful, (or your mother-in-law if she had a nice voice) can…”So are you saying you have to wear Depends?”    Yes, De-Li’-ful can say that in a nice voice, that seems to be covered up in Crisco-frosting care and kindness… He gets choked up and says, “Yes” fighting back tears and adds he wants to dedicate a song to the hostess,..ummm, he means, waitress, in the hotel, ummm….. diner he frequents because she makes him feel like the sexiest man alive in his Depends.   De-Li’-ful plays Let the River Run, reminds us we”re listening to her and puts on a commercial.

Listening to De-Li’-ful is a big part of vacation.  An indulgence.  Cocktail hour every afternoon.  Double scooped ice cream cones.  But it’s also like playing Yahtzee, or miniature golf, or going to the same ice cream shop and the same place for burgers, barbecue, or crab legs every time you go on that vacation…depending on where you go and if you’ve been to the same place at least a few times.   Even on vacation, most of us tend to seek out familiarity and comfort.  A little bit of home but with extra calories and more value added fun.

When my kids were young we would have the funniest conversations about De-Li’-ful and her lovesick, love-jilted, or loveless callers.  It was at the time, long ago and faraway, before multiple CD playing stereos, iPods, and satellite radio were available in cars.  The only Faces you saw were each other’s not on a tiny little screen in the palm of your hand.  De-Li’-ful was on the one station we could receive through the dark and desolate mountains of the North Country, throughout our 5 or 6 hour drive from the suburbs of Rochester to the Adirondacks and then later from the Hudson Valley to the Adirondacks.

De-Li’-ful plays about 6-10 songs.  She recycles them for her callers based on their stories.  A husband calling about his saintly wife that raised 10 of his 15 children while he was in jail? Wind Beneath My Wings.  Wife calling about mystical husband that replaces the toilet paper roll? You Are My Special Angel.   Boyfriend that dumped his girlfriend but wants her back? My Heart Will Go On.  The southern man calling about the one that got away but he hopes that she might be listening? Reunited. (There are a lot of southern callers, and they all like Georgia peaches so Peaches and Herb makes some sense…..)  The jilted girlfriend who knows her boyfriend cheated throughout their romance? Wind Beneath My Wings.  She also favors, Journey and Air Supply.  French Canadians.  Carly Simon.   Her choices of music, might otherwise promote suicide for the lovelorn, but somehow she has made this into a one world love fest of genuine, unapologetic life-giving schmaltz.  She is more than a DJ, she is a spinner of hope, the B-side of her 45’s might be full of despair, but you paid your 99c for the 45 and you don’t have to care much for what’s on the B-side, at least not with De-Li’-ful.  Last night that DJ saved some serious lives.

A few times between rounds of 20 questions, license plate bingo and my oldest son’s favorite game of Guess What Shape I’m Thinking Of?   (The winning answer?  Whatever Mommy guesses.  Everyone else? Sorry you lose.   There are perks that go with motherhood, and they are best not questioned or made to mean anyone else is unworthy or undervalued.  But they could mean that, why question it, leave it to the B-side and drive on) Anyway, between those games we would listen super attentively to the caller’s tales of love and perfection or love gone wrong and we would try to guess which song was played to commemorate the callers love interests. 

I imagine this must be as close to replicating a happy family all gathered around the radio as we ever came close to.  Thinking of having one source of entertainment before TV, internet, heroin, iPads, and vans with surround sound and popcorn makers and toaster ovens in the glove box makes me sort of  happy to be alive, now.  Did I say heroin? But those were fond memories.

Tonight, I am, as De-Li’-ful just reminded me, listening to her.  This time the caller does not call, instead he wrote a letter that she reads aloud.    Dear De-Li’-ful, I have a beautiful daughter, but her mother and I never married.  I want so badly to provide a normal family for her.  The problem is, I am ugly and poor.  And no one will even look at me.  I have no friends and I don’t have a job.   She goes on to share,…He hasn’t had a date in eight years and he often thinks of Janet Jackson’s song, What Have You Done For Me Lately?  And because of that song he believes he will never get a date because he can’t do much for anyone else lately, seeing as he’s so darn ugly and doesn’t have a job.   And there! I’m hooked.  But before I can guess the song, she throws a curve ball. 

She starts telling all her listeners, even me, that she could not even read what he wrote and instead changed it because he said how ugly he was too often.  She tells him, no one is too ugly when they have a good heart.  But maybe, she goes on to say, he might need a haircut, or he might need to lose weight, or clean his face…What?  Damn, you still can’t rewind the radio!  Does he tell her he has long hair in his letter, maybe a mullet?  OK she might have a point… Did he say I have a dirty face?  Wouldn’t he already know that a dirty face is not the best way to attract someone? It could get in the way…but I don’t think it would have to be a deal breaker, some sweet loving lonely woman could gently wipe the eight years of decay off his cute chubby cheeks….and then she played…Escapade, but I couldn’t get Nasty out of my head for a while.  And really?  The Best Things in Life are Free would have really nailed that one!  All great Janet Jackson tunes, and a better way to mix things up.  I’m a little thrown by this.

But wait the story of the tired single Mom is coming on…Shhhhh listen:  She’s got four kids.  And she’s been dating a man with three kids.  She wants to dedicate this song to him because he’s her whole world.  She wants De-Li’-ful to thank him for celebrating Mother’s Day with her and making it the most beautiful Mother’s Day she has ever had.  De-Li’-ful gets all gushy and asks a few questions.  After a very long drawn out “Awwwwwwww.  That’s so sweet he must really love being a Dad.  Are you thinking of bringing this family together into a big blended family?” The caller responds, “Oh we would love to but my boyfriend hasn’t seen his children in 4 years.”    De-Li’-ful is a little perplexed, but promises to pray for their union.  Then she does that thing again, totally out of character, “I hope he can find a way to fit his own children into his life.”  she oozes.  “I wonder how happy their mother is?”  She snarks out. “Oh but, she might actually be thrilled to have him out of her life, he sounds like a deadbeat….”  What? Is De-Li’-ful having a breakdown on nationally syndicated radio? Then she catches herself, I think.  “How long have you known this magic man?”    The caller replies, in a voice growing more tired, “Oh about six months, as soon as his restraining order was lifted….” It turns out the caller was his parole officer but now that his ex-wife agreed to drop the charges in order to get him to finally agree to a divorce settlement he is no longer on parole.  The magic of love and romance as portrayed on the De-Li’-ful show is so real you almost feel you lived through these stories.  Or your just plain pickled to be happily at home faraway from the madness that exists right there beyond your doorway.

Anyway I just love all this love and hope and romance.  I’m thinking about seeing if I can find that man with the bad hair.  I could request a song by Haircut 100.  Personally I think De-Li’-ful was a little hard on him.  After all he wanted to provide a normal life for his daughter.  And he probably can’t work because he’s so darn worried about his little daughter, who probably suffers from chronic conjunctivitis and acne.  I think Wind Beneath My Wings would have gone nicely for his story…

That’s all for now.  I have to go jump in the lake and get ready for a big hike in the morning and remember that De-Li’-ful is like heroin and I’m not sure that I want to get Addicted to Love…anytime soon…but wait she’s playing the Titantic Song by that French Canadian schmaltz developer again and I missed that story…

OOOhhhhh weeee!!!  The cutest man stopped me on the way to the lake and just wiped off that third scoop of mint chocolate chip off my cheeks.  I was wondering where that dropped, and I knew I sat on something!! 

Sweet De-Li’-ful, this might turn out to be the best summer yet!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Go Big, or Go Tell it on a Mountain

I really like to hike.  Well sometimes I love to hike. And there are times when hiking and I wrestle our way toward some possible understanding of a beautiful symbiotic bond, which is really just a choke-hold, in an effort to avoid figuring out if I really have more of a love-hate relationship with hiking.   And I realized just after writing that statement there are a great many connections that we form with one another that might be choke-holds or loose, limp handshakes.  And at any given moment any one of us is puffing up and decorating and proclaiming symbiosis as we toast triumphantly at the suggestion, until we believe it to be true.  Ah yes, symbiotic relationships, something to strive for!  We ignore the fact that symbiotic relationships can be colored with the vibrant shades of mutualism, the paler shades of commensalism, and the muddy, dark shades of parasitism.  Hiking.  And me.

I decided to go for a hike on the 4th of July.  This was at one time a family tradition, when I was part of a family intact.  Continuing traditions is tricky business when you de-tact a family.  Several years out, it surprises me that I am still faced with trying to figure out which traditions to observe and honor. Some get released with ease and nary an after thought.  Others get held tightly to, the ones you carried in large brightly colored packages to share, the ones the children brought with wanderlust or humor, or the ones you offered from the fragile feathered wings of your own childhood memories; the making of silly turkey apples for Thanksgiving, opening the stockings first on Christmas morning, getting a new Easter outfit, no matter what, celebrating happiness, passing a hug through hands held at the dinner table…and honoring nature through hiking.

The 4th of July family hike tradition began after relocating to the Hudson Valley.  Not yet establishing barbecue buddies or having built that ever longed for tribe, the second family, the help-yourself-to anything best friends and neighbors, we needed to do something to celebrate July 4th.   It was evident there was a great deal to discover in the beautiful region known as “upstate” New York, where state and county parks are in abundance.   There was a great variety of hiking adventures easily available for a young family to explore, and so we did. 

Over the years more time was spent in the Adirondacks, and hiking took on a different role in my life.  It became a personal quest for me, and a saving grace.  I started hiking the High Peaks after finding myself fearful and anxious about a great many things.  I knew I needed to come to terms with my growing fears or boldly conquer them and quick.   I was surrounded by beautiful trails in the largest National Park system in the United States, but did not have the confidence or the stamina needed to hike worth a hill of beans, let alone attempt a hike that scaled 4000 plus feet.  In spite of my fears, or because of them, when I put my mind to something, I tend to live by the mantra “Go Big, or Go Home”.   I decided to take on the High Peaks and work towards becoming a 46er.   And so it is that I now have 23 High Peaks under my belt, and across my back, and on my shoulders…

Hiking these mountains has brought great pain and insurmountable amounts of giddy pride and pleasure.  I have gone to the mountains to enjoy the quiet solitude of nature.  I have gone other times with a heaviness of spirit and I have often come off the mountains with a lightened load. There have been times the mountains have reminded me that sometimes we choose what breaks us, and sometimes we are powerless to what gets in our way, but we need to continue on, one step at a time.  I have gone to the mountains to learn we can be made whole again.   I have talked to these mountains and begged for answers that would not come.  And I have been surprised to find out I had the answers all along, I simply needed to listen to the sound of quiet and hear the sound of my own strength.  At times I have retreated from the mountains after a successful climb, feeling beat and broken and lucky to be alive. Success is not always easily recognized, or measured, or celebrated.  But slowly after those hikes, as the mountain retreated from my sore muscles, my sweat soaked skin, my fatigued and hungry center, it left behind the reward of knowing I achieved something once thought too large for me to face.  My fears.  My worries. Gone.  Or carefully contained to guide, not stifle.

This July 4th hike almost did not occur for the very reason I started hiking.  I was feeling afraid, again, for reasons real and reasons recently built up in the at-times too fertile grounds of anxiety or uncertainty.  I broke my ankle and fibula at the end of December.  A do it yourself mix of physical therapy, grit and determination and the most beautiful chuckle of my orthopedic surgeon got me up and walking and mobile much faster than the prescribed 6 months that I was initially given to begin a modified exercise routine.  Considering a High Peak at that 6 month mark was, shall we say Going BIG.  Going Home, or, staying home was the fear that I was facing more each day.   I was not only going home a lot these days, I was staying home and ill at ease there. I have been spending too much time building up a sadness and loss that had suddenly revealed itself to be inevitable, that could not be altered easily, and that had no hope of landing me anywhere else but in a state of ill at ease.  It was time for acceptance and healing and moving on.  (And for you dedicated readers, it was, in great bounds of reality, time for sharpening back up my spurs and kicking up my heels and rounding up the next part of my journey with my lasso and a light hearted twirl, but you know, sometimes us cowgirls get a liking to someone and bunker down a little too easily on the ranch.)

I have decided to stay in the Adirondacks this summer.  The beauty of this land and the business of renovating my sweet little vacation home does not mask the reality of the often burgeoning isolation that comes with being here.   Though I have been coming to this area for a week or two here and there, and a great many more weekends over the past 20 years, I have always brought my own small community of family and friends with me and not established a local tribe.    I am starting to make efforts towards being a part of “place” wherever that place may be.  Slowly.  Which made going on a hike alone seem counterproductive.  And so I started adding a few more reasons why I shouldn’t go.  And then suddenly I could smell the familiar fragrance of that great big fear stew that I was slow cooking over the course of five or so pre-divorce years.   And that’s when I knew I absolutely needed to hit the trail, BIG. 

I packed lightly, which is not at all my style.  A few bottles of water.  Adirondack Extra Sharp cheese, naturally, salted pita chips, granola, dried fruit, a small journal, and my camera.  I typically carry a pack filled with enough water to survive an apocalypse, at least until the zombies find me. I tend to carry at least one strangely ethnic and exotic dehydrated pouch of food, Katmandu Curry, Caribbean Rice and beans, my mini-stove, flashlights, back-up flashlights, altimeter, mylar poncho, an extra shirt, assorted first aid items, a lightweight tent, sleeping bag and always regrettably, some 500 page book about hiking adventures and trails, or another that I have not once read on the trail, on the peak, or in a tent.  Yet somehow I never come down from the mountain lighter and fitter with my over-weighted bag.  Instead I come out with a shoulder strap burn lanced onto my neck, and muscle aches for a day or two following on muscle groups that I did not know existed prior to the hike.  I’m not even sure if those body parts with those new muscle pains do exist, or if the mountains aren’t choke holding parts of themselves onto me.  On this particular July 4th hike, as I set out, I flippantly decide to pack for a day trip, not as a survival hoarder prepping for Armageddon. 

According to one or two of the 500 page hiking books, Rocky Peak Ridge is the 20th highest mountain in New York State.  The route I took from US 9 is 13.4 miles round trip.  I added another mile just for kicks, or maybe, just maybe it was because I started back and got a little mixed up and found myself heading halfway up another peak before turning back.  I started with such joy as soon as I signed in at the trailhead.  Immediately, I remembered that other feeling related to being alone. Solitude.  I breathed it in deeply.  And I started exhaling, loss and doubt, fear and why me all over that mountain. And the two other peaks and paths along the way.  When I made it to the top of Blueberry Cobbles…(I know doesn’t that sound ducky? Charming and bucolic? Don't let it fool you, it's a tough climb, that’s how the mountains draw you in and smack you down.) I stopped and smiled widely.  The views were incredible.  I was excited and motivated to get to the top of Rocky Peak Ridge.  I wrote a message on a small flat rock and added it to a cairn.  I was marking off a year and releasing the pain and sadness associated with it, while also honoring the joy and truth of it. I walked on. If not lighter, more at ease.

I got to the summit of Bald Peak amazed that the views continued to astonish.  Lake Champlain, The Green Mountains of Vermont, Whiteface, The Dix Range…Onward.  Determined.  I was going to get this mountain before going home.  My pace up to this point was steady and on par with what I had read.  I stopped, more frequently than I typically do because the views were spectacular and I wanted to take them in with purpose, as opposed to checking them off as mere guideposts along the way.  The climb following Bald Peak was steep and offered continuous stretches of vertical open rock.  A rock scramble can often be a very liberal way of saying you will need to stick your hand in a small gash or jutted rock and pull your entire weight and that of your pack upwards, while praying hard, or believing wholeheartedly that your foot will fit into the other precariously positioned jutted rock or gashes on the side of the mountain that you are suddenly faced vertically with.  And you will need to do that a few more times, to ensure you don't fall off the side of that rambling old mountain.  Scoot, scramble, plop.

I went forward believing I must be getting close.  I was glad to finally see a couple ahead.  The first people I have seen in 5 hours.  They are panting down the trail slowly.  I say hello and ask, “How close?”  Before they could answer, I had a smug knowing smile that it must be minutes away.  They ask where I am headed, which is not the reply I expect.  Only to find I was now on the peak of Mason Mountain and I had at least another hour or two ahead of me.  I was sure they were delirious.  Daytrippers.  My topo map didn’t list Mason Mountain.  Probably suffering from altitude sickness, I thought as I went on. I have wanted this peak for close to five years now.  I was not going home without it.  I continued and came to the realization that those tired, seasoned experts I had passed earlier, were giving me the facts straight up. 

When I finally reached the peak I had realized my solitude enlightened self-talk had changed from sheer joy and determination to gritty expletives and a full-on telling it to the mountain.  I realized I had also been using a little bitty supply of anger to deal with the long drawn out inevitable ending of the brief and poorly devised relationship.  Sometimes anger can be a working methodology toward moving forward, but it can also slow us down and make us stuck.  On this peak, I could not get stuck.   I did not pack for stuck, I packed for big and home.  And as well, in my quest for joy and occasional stints of solitude with the right amount of abundant loving kisses and twirls in the moonlight, stuck is not going to get me very far on the trail of life that lies before me.

When I hike my goal is to Go Big, get the peaks, and go home accomplished and proud, if not stiff and immobile.  In spite of the grumbles I make coming down the path, the vows to be satisfied with the peaks I have already seen, and a certain amount of resolve to accept that I might in fact be finished.  I always leave happy, if not beat to heck by those solid masses of sheer hell wrapped up in beautiful.  I remind myself the cheering cries that the last runner in a marathon gets are often louder than the cheers the first runner receives.  I don’t mind crawling out of those blazed trails, I am always filled with self-satisfaction that I made it.  This time I am also filled with the right amount of self-recrimination for taking this trip a bit too lightly.  Two young men helped me find my way after missing a path and later on their way down, passing me at my snails pace they stopped to find out if I had enough food and water and a flashlight.  I had water and plenty of granola, but I did not have a light.  They left me one of theirs and reassured me that I still had 2 more hours of daylight.  I used up 1.59 hours of that daylight and crawled into my waiting car at 9:00pm.  Two hours over the expected time, but still not bad based on my decision to stop and leisurely enjoy the views, my still healing ankle and the amount of life shifting letting go and moving forward that had transpired. 

That night I wasn’t sure of my relationship with the mountain.  It was not until the next morning, when I realized, I was in fact still alive, and my legs were stiff but still functioning that I decided I love those mountains.  They don’t give a hoot about my carrying on.  They continue to offer me the chance to struggle and push myself to achieve great heights.  More than anything, they help me to remember my fears can be quieted.  The safety of finding my way home is the best part of the climb.

I've always hated the danger part of climbing, and it's great to come down again because it's safe.
  - Edmund Hillary

Saturday, May 31, 2014

The Age of Softness and Feather Lightness

I went to the river to catch my breath and breathe in deeply.  To inhale the briny scent, this cologne of life churning forth, in peace and gratitude.  Pulling tightly those currents against, as I anticipate currents flowing with ease ahead.  I exhale them all fully accepting this day and all that it offered and all that it did not.  I felt lighter in my step approaching the trestle, a feeling I have not had of late, or perhaps one that has started to reemerge with the coming of spring.  I am flip-flopped and chapeau adorned…or hipster sun-hatted.  My cancer repellant.  Weighted with a kit bag of sorts, a glaring hunter orange and camouflaged backpack.  Some back country drug store purchase to remedy the need for a daypack on one trip or another.  It is at least functional if not a fashion statement.  Inside is a small assortment of pencils, a journal, an iPad, earbuds, and a book.  Safety.  Something to do.  Something to rest my restless mind on, or weigh me to the earth, so that I might not be caught in the swell of the river currents.

The early evening is beautiful. Sunny.  Warm.  I approach the river lightly, with a quick step and a growing calm.  I am happily surprised to see on the edge of the narrow strip of green parkland near the boat landing, a slight and familiar figure. 

Emma, who is 9.
Thoughtful and occasionally,
or more often when comforted,
of great spirit 
and always 
delight-filled wonder. 
Beautiful, she is,
and unaware
of that not yet known 
power in her allure. 

She is that perfect age when a girl, some, can still be simply child, bold in all her potential.  Innocent.  Open to moments unfolding.  All things possible.  Not yet fully formed, and finding her way.  That age of softness and feather lightness, of scrappy and stalwart both, of bursts into giggling and still, as easily, tears. At times perhaps, terrified of the largeness of the world.  Emma who is 9 and small.

She is tying delicate pieces of driftwood together with a grass reed lace preparing to set sail.  Her older sister is supervising from a safe distance away.   I wave and Emma's smile widens gently, safely, in seeing me in this unexpected place.  She continues working her small fingers around her makeshift boat as she says hello.  I have the pleasure of learning from her, and also being one of her teachers. We are both surprised to see each other here, close to my home, far from our school.  Her sister is perhaps 14, beautiful, refined, delicate.  I imagine she was always sure of her feminine self, even as a very young child and yet, as I approach, she sits upright and ready, protective.  Strength emanating from this small framed child woman, evidence of a fierce, great love between these girls.

I leave them to their time, by this river that I love and find my place on the nearby floating dock.  Inhaling deeply.  I am comforted by witnessing this continuity of life, of sisters, of family and daylight stretching into night, of the freedom of summer approaching.  Of childhood and innocence and brief moments, memories of setting sail my own driftwood boats and pre-girlhood angst that has accompanied finding my own way in a world at times too large, or worse even, too small.  A world that demands from girls and women, expectations that don’t meet or provide the fairy tale endings sold on the premise of feminine conjecture.  Sold still.  Held out.  Voiced, loudly and veiled, masked or transparently presented with little choice for rightful command of all things possible.

This week’s events in the news provided dinner conversation from my son, 18, beautiful of spirit, handsome, fierceness deep within and mostly quieted.  Strong and growing.  Open to moments unfolding.  Finding his way in a world at times too large, and worse, at times too small.  As we eat, he asks if I have watched the news and heard about the most recent shooting.  I had been away in the mountains free from news. I have heard only small parts of this latest story of senseless killing. The media frenzied launching of disturbed and diabolically despairing teen men toward god-like status that follows is much more senseless.  Distressing and harmful. 

I have chosen to not look closer for as long as I can.  There is some information I can’t allow in.  It comes in always, anyway, in spite of my desire to shield and protect or simply avoid.  He asks, next in this same conversation if I have heard the lyrics to a song by Beyonce, Flawless.  He is offering a kindness in bringing this up.  He is attempting to reassure, his feminist mother, small and at times terrified in this world when squarely confronted by the reality of what it still means to be a girl and a woman. Knowing that it means unequal, less than and even unworthy is not easily ignored or avoided.   I tell him I think I have heard the song, but not closely. I am moved to listen carefully at his kind offering.

I am pleased to hear the words of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie inside the song, woven through the lyrics of Flawless.

We teach girls to shrink themselves
To make themselves smaller
We say to girls,
"You can have ambition
But not too much
You should aim to be successful
But not too successful
Otherwise you will threaten the man."
Because I am female
I am expected to aspire to marriage
I am expected to make my life choices
Always keeping in mind that
Marriage is the most important
Now marriage can be a source of
Joy and love and mutual support
But why do we teach girls to aspire to marriage
And we don't teach boys the same?
We raise girls to see each other as competitors
Not for jobs or for accomplishments
Which I think can be a good thing
But for the attention of men
We teach girls that they cannot be sexual beings
In the way that boys are
Feminist: the person who believes in the social
Political, and economic equality of the sexes

Over the past few years I have been becoming more aware of my place among women.  Maybe this is the place I have been most afraid of.  This, a place I have always felt less safe in than among men.  For those reasons perfectly captured in Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie speech, and so many more, my place among women has been too large and undefined.  It has felt threatening.  I have held myself up against a standard of what it means to be a woman and feminine that was impossible for me to ever attain.  A standard that I can no longer afford to ignore or pretend is possible, or even desirable.  I stayed too long in that place of childhood, of all things possible.  Or at least I had tried against the harsh realities to protect, or deny a childhood lost.  I breathe in gratitude for where I am now.

The river provides a light show of glimmering waves and reflections, of movement. My kit bag acts as comfort, a prop to set purpose, it allows for flexibility and the option to leave it untouched. I need these security items less and less.  I am able to sit for longer moments, still.  Less terrified.  I meditate on the dock and breathe in the briny scent of life churning.  I turn, hearing the gleeful yells of Emma alerting her sister of the red sailed boat approaching.  Her mother, now beside her, catches my eye and waves in this place among women, churning with life and many things possible.  

They walk off and I stay a while longer.  I take out my journal, and begin again to write, inspired.  As I am walking home I wave to Emma's parents, enjoying dinner on the patio of a local restaurant.  My smile widens at the close of a day filled with softness and feather lightness.  Hope, for all things possible.