Wednesday, May 22, 2013

A Veil To Pull Over Your Eyes



     I am seven, smack in the middle of my brothers and all the boys on our street. My brother Rob and Bruce come with me when I go door to door to ask the women of the neighborhood if they have any clothes in their closets that they can part with. We need clothes to play dress up. They smile and say, let me take a look, returning a short while later with a flowered dress, darts in the bust, draped over their arm, or with a navy hat with a veil to pull over your eyes.

     We are playing Army, crawling on our bellies across the yard, over pale pink petals of the crabapple. Rob is wearing an army helmet. It is smooth and round. He looks like a real soldier, with the dirt streaks across his cheeks. Out of the corner of my eye is my mother, knees in the dirt of her garden; snapdragons, roses. She is wearing pale yellow garden gloves, her head bent as she pats the soil. 
     Near the garden gate, in the driveway, my father is hosing down his brand new car; a deep blue convertible Volkswagen bug. After he has rinsed it clean, he’ll roll the black roof down and let us sit on the top of the backseat. I sit tall and wave, stiff-handed, like the Queen of England, or Miss America, while he drives slowly through our neighborhood, tall spotted sycamores standing like the crowd at a parade.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Take Another Look

Johnie Collins is 87 years old. [young.]

She is my mother-in-law
traveler on the spiritual path


Michael's mom 

(and Dad, since her husband died too young, at 37, when he was five.)

She raised five kids solo. 

She is a warrior of the highest order.

Last night over the phone, she said, 

Elizabeth! I don't know whence it came, but I am so happy these days, even with my crooked hands and wobbly legs. I don't think I've been happier.

She said,

Elizabeth, sometimes I tell myself, 

take another look. 

Maybe if I try seeing whatever is coming at me or whatever I'm moving into, maybe there's another way to see it.

I don't know whence she started speaking like a Quaker woman but it was all so fresh and alive, her happiness, so beyond the limits of the flesh, crooked fingers. Hearing her southern twang, after all these years in Southern California, receiving those small, potent gems from her was a great Mother's Day gift. 

I feel so needy for 
some kind of sign 
words of encouragement 
a mother's touch.

I was flooded by her. 

And still this morning, 
holding it close, 
a tiny bird in my hands.

take another look.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Just A Reminder

Sometimes I'm so stuck inside my crowded brain, 

story ideas
the memory of my mother's voice 
a barking dog
shopping lists,  cat food  humus lemons                                                                                                                        

I lose my way.

It's a gift to be reminded of how you move through the world, especially if the vision you hold for yourself is sometimes skewed, it's a gift to remember how deeply connected we all are, even if we only meet briefly: a yoga class, standing in line at the market, a smile across a crowded traffic jam.

I needed a reminder. 

On this May Day I offer you a reminder, via a letter from S, which I'm now sending out as a letter to you. capiche? Especially the last part, her message to for you too. I'm so grateful S took the time to write me. 

She wasn't sure I even remembered her! I do. 

But even if I didn't, She wrote anyway.

note to self: reach out

You probably don't remember me, I've been coming to Deerfield for 3 years now, and I've always been grateful for your yoga classes. The first year I took a yoga class from you I was struggling with some marital and parental "stuff" and really questioning everything about my role as a person, mother, and wife. That year my little message card from you read "COURAGE". How appropriate it was! The next year I received "I am filled with light" and "follow your path". This year it was "awareness" and "practice contentment". I carry these cards with me because I believe they were meant for me and sometimes I re-read them. They give me clarification and comfort. I am blessed to have met you, practice yoga with you and accept your encouraging messages! You have such a sweet soul and uplifting peaceful spirit.

So today, my message to you is.....
Have courage,
be filled with light,
follow your path,
practice awareness
and contentment.
You are loved.

- S 

We need reminding that we are 

filled with light 

yup, you are.

...and that we're all in this together. 

xo b