Poetry

I Learned to Love the Wind

Like her I was tired. Time bent me slowly. But it was lack of joy, of the story I wasn’t living that cracked me open, hollow.

I’d lived a life before her, or at least the one they gave me, but she moved in, care-free. And I thought,

Now, maybe.

baby swing hanging from tree, framed by roses

And I don’t blame her for the years that passed. Her shoulders bent like mine, curled around her aching heart. I knew that pain too well!

So, I resolved to wait, learned to love the wind right through me, learned to house the life that chose me. And soon I saw,

She did too.

And it was marvelous!

The garden crept in closer, and hope felt like spring, but life fell like leaves. And though the breeze was lovely, and I smiled as she scattered seeds, I longed for the garden story.

Instead, I felt the pain, knife sharp, lightening in my skin. Is this the end for me? Where they decide I am done. . .they don’t need this tree.

The wind I loved felt bitter. The life in me cracked open. . .I creaked and groaned and wondered,

Can gardeners hear trees?

But pain lifted its fingers and in its wake, her laughter. And the wind rushed through like life. And I realized the garden had reached me!

And I danced alongside flowers, and whistled, “It’s nice to meet you!” And every now and then, I see her gazing up at me, happy, all admiration. And all her joy is mine.

We are here!

Both in the garden.

But the thing I love the most is swaying to the rhythm I finally hold in my arms. Not made by breeze or wind, but by a woman who became a mother pushing her child in the swing hanging down

from me.

Poetry

Life Here Is Not Only Madness

For whatever reason after I finally posted, A Mother in Warfare, I could not write any new words. Not really. I read through old work and edited an old poem making it better. But truly new words? New ideas? Not a thing. Perhaps due to a few things. Who can really tell? I have my suspicions. No one thing the sole culprit.

You can push through writer’s block fine enough, but this particular time (these days in general) didn’t seem like a time for pushing through. It seemed like a time for waiting. Just letting that absence of creativity lie dormant. Of not forcing beautiful words on a page. I had none, anyway. I was blank space.

But then my husband and I were in the garden with our son. He turns two this August and I’m already getting excited. I’ve been thinking of his birthday since I was early pregnant with our daughter. Birthdays light up my soul, I suppose.

And his is so special.

I can remember the anticipation I felt leading up to his birth. I can feel those long days of labor. Picking zinnias before going to the hospital (the first time, heheee). The laughter. How he felt on my chest in those first minutes. Bringing him home to sunflowers and our first walks in the garden holding him tiny in my arms. I was thrown into this kind of magic that hasn’t stopped. I’m getting carried away. Like I said. . .birthdays.

And more specifically the birthdays belonging to my children.

Well, anyhow, he’s almost two and that evening in the garden, we picked him a snow pea and showed him he could actually eat it. I hope I never forget his face. It will always be one of the sweetest things I’ve experienced earth-side. A moment so small and so big and beautiful. . .his realization that some things grown in the garden can be picked and eaten too.

And for me? I felt I could write again after that. I didn’t know what the words would be just then, but they would come soon. The following poem feels like a way forward after my latest, Even Mothers, Even Here.

So here we go. . .the words that came that evening after June snow peas in the garden.

Snow in June

after too much death

much too soon,

after wrestling with the words,

after all the words ran out,

after the Psalms ran on audio,

after nursing my daughter in

the dark of morning

afraid of lights out, life out,

of bad news down like

lightening,

I’m in the garden with my son.

he’s standing, loved, between us.

and he’s full smiling, hint of grinning,

we’re picking snow peas in June.

now height of morning light in evening

watching him taste and see

the fruit of our hope,

that this fruit even exists

that it can be for him. . .

not untouchable like the roses

not to save like the daisies

not to spare like the pink blossoms

. . .but to pick and eat,

its beauty in the tasting

its joy in the process.

eyes alight, its snow in June,

us right there with him.

fresh delight and nightfall soon. . .

life here is not only madness.

for I have also tasted,

and I have also seen.

the Lord, indeed, is good.

I’m not sure what I’ll write next or when. . .?

I’m in the days I can’t really explain.

I can imagine a mixture of postpartum, mothering two, shifting into a new camp season, wrestling with my fear of loss, trusting God with my whole being, and experiencing my faith deepen has life demanding my full attention without margin or capacity to write. I may be a solid two months past giving birth to my bright-eyed, wonderful Heidi, but I’m only a solid two months past. So there’s a lot still happening.

But Shasta is on his Y Bike in the bathroom batting his toddler hand at the dust particles floating in the morning sunlight.

And Psalms 16:8-9 upholds me in the night.

I have set the LORD always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure.

Heidi smiles at the drop of a hat.

Words will come again. The days sure do. I’m grateful for every single one.

So while I wait, grow, heal, learn, deepen and surrender, I think I’ll enjoy another snow pea in the garden this evening.

Life at the Blue House

They Gave a Backbone to Happiness // words for our 7th Anniversary

Our garden tells the story. Our bright yellow shed. The way we approach each new spring. How we laugh together.

It’s been seven years of marriage.

We wear our ugly crocs and go out in the garden in the evening after our children go to bed. He waters. I trim roses. We admire our tiny bursting sunflowers every day. In awe at how they’ve grown.

We walk on the garden path of stones, almost completed. I pick up our little boy’s toys all over the garden. Our two plastic hand-me-down chairs sit side by side tilted on the grassy hillside. We make plans for the rose bed. Note the new growth on our daughter’s rose bush. It’s a story we’re living in exploding color.

And I celebrate seven years with the poem I wrote for Hope Gives a Eulogy. Because this story which the garden tells and our laughter accompanies, began years ago when in our earlier youth we stumbled through the graveyard, harsh reality nipping at our heels.

From the grave the garden grew and our love deeper with it.

Backbone

Happy people live here.

Bright yellow, light blue,

Big parties, belly laughter,

And year-round Christmas lights.

Happy people live here

Even after the music box

Abruptly changed its tune.

Happy people live here.

Making up magic and merriness,

Composing a new anthem

For easily missed things

Too big to fit in a box.

Happy people, the happiest

They gave a backbone to 

Happiness.

While harsh realities nipped at our heels we cultivated life with our fingertips. Side by side. Until the bright yellow on the walls became the bright yellow in our laughter and the music box got swallowed by the music of a garden that keeps on growing.

We pass through the garden gate made of splintered scraps of wood, and close it for the night. We walk by the sunflowers, step into our home, children sleeping soundly.

Indeed, it has been happy.

A grave. A garden. A dying, living, growing thing.

Indeed, it is us wrapped in seven years of love.

A story hard-won.

motherhood

It Was You The Whole Time

It was you the whole time.

Before I knew I was pregnant. When two lines showed up even though that second one was faint. When I texted our midwife with the happy news even though it was early.

But see,

I’ve learned there’s no such thing as “early.”

Just you!

You the whole time.

And when you were smaller than you “should” have been, it was you fully there. You the whole time. Your strong heartbeat the best sound in your mother’s world.

You.

You.

You.

The whole time.

There was a night I thought I might be losing you. I was scared out of my mind. Desperate, “I WANT THIS BABY!”

And that baby was you.

You the whole time.

And praise God, you were well! Strong. And all of you there, here with me, the whole time.

Conception. Week 7. Week 13. Week 20. Week 35. Last of summer, all of fall and winter, early spring, 39 Weeks, 5 Days. . .

it was you the whole time.

And now I get to hold you in my arms, see your face, treasure every bigger-than-life smile, calm your cries, run my thumb gentle across your forehead. There is wonder in finally holding the reality of you after carrying you for so long. You who has been you the whole time. Since before I knew! Since before I saw. Before I heard. Before I felt. Before I held.

It’s just always been you.

You!

Growing.

Living.

Being.

Heidi.

The whole time.

You.

No such thing as early. Just wonderful, radiant, miraculous you.

You the whole time.

Hi there, I’m your mom.

And don’t you worry,

I’ve been here the whole time, too.