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Saturday, September 26, 2015

the giving mountain

Leaving my office Wednesday I stopped stone in the parking lot at a light breeze playing in my hair, then made an executive-style decision: quick, absolute.

Thirty minutes later I had retrieved a boy from one place, a dog from another, and we three had ascended a mountain, our mountain.

All I had in mind was the weather and a walk, but at our arrival we found a wedding being set up, the couple and their dearest come to celebrate their joy, their love, their mountain.

Boy and dog headed down trails in front of me, took in sweeping views, climbed stone steps with an agility I no longer possess until at Little Pinnacle we were met by a row of backs and a board marked with the names of falcons and tally marks.

Oh, it's a bird count, your grandfather would have loved this, I said to the boy, and one of the backs turned around to become a man who asked who grandfather was, and when I said his name another back turned and became a man who said I knew him, if it were not for him, I would not be out here today, he did so love to bird.

And so it was that the boy, the dog, and I lingered on Little Pinnacle with the backs, sharing their mountain, our mountain, while one told me funny bits about my father and another fed bits of sandwich to my dog.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

sisters chosen


While one chosen sister boarded a plane in Sweden, I drove north to meet another chosen sister and spend the weekend with her, no children, no menfolk, just we two and the mountains and a city-town wrapped lazily around the railroad tracks on the valley floor.


While one chosen sister landed safely in North Carolina, I puttered around with another chosen sister, laughed together at my navigation system's obsession with saying "Route 11", found Roanoke's best breakfast joint, which is Scrambled, and best cupcakery, which is Bubblecakes.


While one chosen sister unpacked her bags, I sipped California and Spain with another chosen sister, shared notes about children who in diapers were like cousins but now live six hours and eleven years apart, commiserated over bodies changing and not for the better, got teary-eyed talking about aging and dead parents.


While one chosen sister slept off her jetlag, another chosen sister drove north and east while I turned south toward my new city-now-home, toward a Lego metropolis taking over the floor of the den plus one bedroom, toward a laundry bin overflowing with the transition between summer and fall, toward a reunion with my chosen sister, awake now and ready to tell me all about Sweden.

Saturday, September 05, 2015

how you will feel


How you will feel when the bus leaves without you is a pit in your stomach, a gnawing, a loss that needs grieving, even if the decision was yours, even if you have umpteen things to do that make riding on a bus full of kids to a beach four hours away nonsensical, illogical, inadvisable.

When the beach retreat bus pulls out and makes a right while you in your stay behind car make a left, there will be a deep flash of pain like a girl's first heartbreak, a note unanswered, eyes that won't meet hers, a sudden and complete silence stretching like a yawn as far as she can see.

When you pull into your driveway and look over and see the food page topmost on your clipboard on the passenger seat, the scribble scrabbles of meals you planned and shopped for that your hands won't prepare, your mouth won't eat, you will consider just sitting there, in your car, in your driveway, listening to your hurting heartbeat for a while.

But there's a dog on the other side of the fence, staring at you with a face full of welcome home friend and inside the sound of a boy choking with glee at something on YouTube, laughter pealing like a windchime, tinkling like a bright bell, while your heart tugs and heals, tugs and heals, tugs and heals.