“In an ideal world, our poets would sing our stories back to us, connecting us through language that’s memorable, moving, often disturbing: our poets would through their poems urge us to awaken and look around us, fall in love again and again with the things of this world.”
~ Kathryn Stripling Byer, poet
I’m a sky watcher. I’m constantly gazing up, marveling at the light & color. Noting when the clouds shift. Marvel when they look like shredded cloth or as if they’re painted on up there. With said, it’s been a while since I spent time with the night sky. This week, 4:45am, opening the blinds without my glasses on, I thought iI saw a reflection of a lightbulb in the window. But I had no lights on inside. I like my day to gently lighten with the dawn. I stepped outside, stood in the cool air, gazed at Venus, big as a streetlight. A comet bright as a low flying jet streaked past. And then, brief and high, another. I thought how I’ll fill my life with more of this sort of love and wonder. Relearn to do it.
Someone said recently I should work with children, that I have a gift with them. I don’t know how she got that except perhaps from blogs I’ve written, such as here & here. It’s true I like talking to kids. Love the art they make. I’ll talk to any kid around me.
My 7-yr. old grandson lives in Taiwan. We see each other every two years. In late 2015, he started sending me postcards. We now write each other. I have his cards stacked close to my desk where I see them. It’s quite magical how his printing’s changed. The last one so perfect, I thought his mother wrote it. A small way to see him grow, and real.
Recently we started Friday night conversations. There’s a 12-hr. difference, so he rises before his parents, signs into Skype. If he can’t get thru, he’ll call on his dad’s cell. ‘Skype is weird,’ he’ll say. We can only do this on weekends, he says, and we’ll do it all summer he’s out of school.
Here’s the thing. I think this little guy’s in my life so I can have something I never had growing up. We were born the same hour & minute, 5:47 am for me, 5:47 pm for him. What’s the chances of that! + A year ago, the last time they were here, he wanted to spend every night with me long before they arrived. Cried when he thought he couldn’t. He brought me so much joy, I cried when he didn’t.
The magic is simple. It’s not about being a grandmother. It’s about being in awe with him. He’s like me in so many ways. An artist, high achiever, dreamer. Full of wonder about the world and loves learning. We give to each other.
My favorite postcard. Look at that happy goat facing the sun. And that happy bluebird & turtle.
I met 24 yr. old Alex weeks ago when I knocked to ask if she was my new neighbor, could she please not leave her lights (plural) on all night. I’d covered a bedroom window with black plastic, which blocked the fresh air. The walls in my whole house stayed lit. I waited 5 nights to ask. It was already 10:30. She was so sweet. She asked what I’d do when new neighbors arrived, which she wasn’t. Same thing, I told her, and invited her outside to look up the street. All but one of the houses were dark. One dim streetlight for every 2 blocks.
When she looked up, saw the stars, she was amazed to see them so close to town. We talked a very long time, there in the dark late at night.
I learned she had a very bad past, had gotten in trouble. And she turned it around. She listens to podcasts of inspirational speakers, is studying Buddhism, adores her fiancee. She has aspirations to study forensic medicine, be a doctor. She supports herself with her business of rental properties.
She was there to clean and fix her grandmother’s house to sell. Her grandmother having passed at 98, right before I moved in. She invited me to pick the pink roses from her grandmother’s bush any time I want.
Another day I stopped by to tell her about the Buddhist center in the neighborhood. She’d just googled the closest meditation center too, too far away. She showed me what she’d done in the house on a small $500 budget. Her grandmother didn’t believe in traditional medicine, she said, and showed me the back room where her grandmother grew plants in pots for medicinal purposes. The yard had them, too, along with veggies, and greenbeans draped on the front chain-linked fence. A woman I would’ve liked.
Days later, asleep on the sofa with a movie playing away, I woke to my name called thru the screened door. It was Alex with a vase of roses.
She was leaving the next morning, and wanted to thank me for being so kind (her words). She said she felt lucky to meet me. I loved her by then, and wished she wasn’t leaving.
I talk about how writing can sing when it comes together just right. As a writer, there’s no greater feeling for me. I talk about how poetry sings. I realize this feeling of connection with my grandson and Alex is the same song. A song of life that’s brought alive, so I sing inside. It’s called Love.
In Santa Fe, Sikhs held a 4 hr event on the plaza. Dressed all in white & turbans, singing and chants with beautiful melodies. Accompanied by tabla drums, viola, guitars, keyboard, mandolin. Incredible musicians. Yoga, East Indian dancing. Free iced Yogi brand tea, and organic popcorn with the fixin’s. They’re all about feeding people. Even walked around, offered bottles of water. Tables with info on living healthy, their guru on a banner. Love, Peace, Kindness their message. No conversion, just Gratitude expressed for being here, thriving since 1971.
Love, giving, gratitude, sharing. Like my grandson and Alex and me together. All of us so different, and yet so alike. Hearts opening. Imagine that.
Another Small Journey. Getting to Wise.
A Writer’s Life.
Tell me. . .what sparks wonder and love in you?
(I dried the roses Alex gave me. They’re in the picture at the top.)
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