best of alpha // whiskey // foxtrot

Sleepless, Under Shooting Stars {a Flashback}

If I’ve managed to convey one thing in my little series about insomnia, I hope you know this:  insomnia is hard … but also, it can be pretty special.

Few words capture this better than the ones below, which I wrote just after the night of my ninth wedding anniversary.  It’s one of my favorite posts … I guess because it reminds me that sometimes, the hard things give us our most beautiful moments.

And somehow, that seems like a good place to end.

Enjoy…

///

A week ago…

  
It’s three a.m. and I’m lying in bed, feeling the slow wash of the oscillating fan stirring the sheets.  I settle closer against my husband, stare at the ceiling and wonder — a familiar question — if I’m the only one awake.

I’ve spent my life as an insomniac, and I can tell you:  there’s no loneliness as deep and existential as the one that comes when you lie sleepless in the dark — especially beside someone you love.  You lean into him, letting his breath tickle your neck, his heartbeat drum against your spine.

Still:  while he sleeps, he doesn’t even know you exist.

But on this night, instead of the usual ache of his absence, I sense T’s presence — his breath conscious, shallow.  With me, somehow.

“Are you awake?” I whisper, and in a moment there’s his hum of affirmation.

“Me too,” I say.

It’s the night of our wedding anniversary, and outside, the Perseids are falling:  shooting stars streaking the black, like they do every year on August 12.

Suddenly it just feels wrong:  us, asleep.  The universe, awake.

“Do you want to go see the stars?” I say.

We do.

*

We go in our pajamas:  bundle ourselves into the Volvo with extra coats and two cups of iced coffee.

T drives us into the mountains, away from the city lights.  We drive, and drive, through one empty street and then another, climbing the hills until the black bowl above us is twinkling clear.

And then we stop.

T switches off the engine.

The sudden silence shocks us, until our ears adjust to all the other sounds of the night.

*

In the cicada-hum and cricket-song we open the sunroof and wriggle halfway through, leaning back with our elbows on the car’s cold roof, our bare feet on tiptoe on the leather seats below.

Somehow it feels like we’re standing side-by-side in waist-deep water.  The black sheet-metal shines, reflecting stars.

Time passes, slow as a single drop of water easing down the lip of the faucet.  The stars twinkle but seem otherwise unmoved.

And then, the first streak of light tears across the sky.

“Did you see that?” T almost shouts.

“I did!”

We wait longer.  Time passes — five minutes?  ten? — and more meteorites flash earthward.  Some are just tiny dashes of light; others look like small comets, with long tails that leave a smoldering afterglow.

We laugh.

We holler.

We gasp.

“Did you see that one?” 

“Look — over there!”

We watch until our necks hurt from craning them back.  Until our eyes feel owlishly wide:  unblinking in the starry dark.

*

And now here I sit at my keyboard, a week later, pondering the way it works:

The way we must put ourselves in the path of wonder, whether that’s the wonder of human love or natural beauty, the wonder of grace or God or goodness.

And I know — there are moments when we stumble over the magic like it’s a tripwire.  We skin our knees on the glory and raise our hands in hallelujah.  In those moments, the Mystery chooses us. 

But those moments are few.  And — my God — I don’t want to go through life asleep, hoping and dreaming of the next one.

So I get up in the middle of the night.  (Are you with me?)  I push back the bedsheets and stumble into the dark like a sleepwalker, hearing that voice at my back, still and small as my Sunday-school teacher told me it would be: 

Open your eyes, love. 

Open your eyes. 

Engage. 

And I walk out into a world where stars fall like rain.

I crane my head back and stand very still, my eyes wide-open.

*

Maybe you’re standing here, too.  ❤

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Flashback: a Promise, Left on a Park Bench in the Frost

As I write these words, Winter is having its last gasp.  Fat white flakes swirl, caught in the golden cones streaming from the streetlights.  Once again — when we’re all hungering so fiercely for Spring — the world erases itself into white.

And yet:  Winter cannot last.

If you’re finding that hard to believe today, please know that I dug this little post out of my archives just for you.

Love and sunshine to you today, friends!

///

{This post was first published in January of 2015, as part of the Secret Messages Project — a 30-day series in which I left my words in places where they might be found.}

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Yesterday, for the first time, I caught someone in the act of discovering one of my little offerings.

I never meant for this to happen — in fact, as a rule, I avoid the possibility.  I’m careful to leave my messages when no one’s looking, and I never go back to search for them.  The way I see it, once I give them away, they no longer belong to me, and this is how I want it.  There’s pleasure in the not-knowing.

But yesterday, in a completely unplanned moment, I got to see a stranger experience my words from afar.  And I have to tell you it moved me.  It moved me so much that I wasn’t sure whether to laugh or cry.  So I didn’t do either.  I just watched, and then made a quiet exit.

But if I’m going to tell you that story, I think I have to begin at the beginning.

*

You should know that I’m a summer girl, through and through and through.  You can’t tell it to look at me, with my pale skin and dark hair and long heavy black eyelashes.  I look like I belong in cableknit sweaters and Pendleton skirts, burgundy and brown and copper, and I *do,* in fact, spend plenty of months living in those.  Still:  I wander through this half of the year desperate and hungry for green, for the sun on my bare shoulders, a film of salt on my lower lip.  The constant white-noise of locusts and songbirds and children playing ball in the dusk.  The wink of fireflies.  All of it. 

And every winter about this time, the cold gets into my bones and it doesn’t leave.  I carry it around with me like grief — heavy.  This is not — believe me — an overstatement.

This was what I was feeling, yesterday morning, when, returning from an early-morning errand, I was suddenly overcome with the intense desire to pull over on the side of Brandon Avenue and get out of the car.

Lakewood Park sparkled to my right:  a perfect slice of green sloping toward the woods, and every last inch of it, every blade of grass and grain of earth, was coated in glittering frost.

I walked slowly across the field, toward the stream that cuts the park in two.  The ground under my feet was so hard and nubbled with ice that it was difficult to get my footing, but I kept walking, past the volleyball pit — oh, God, that stab of remembered summer! — and toward the pond.

The pond… It’s my favorite thing about this place.  Any time of the year it beckons, perfectly round and surrounded by benches.

Today, however, it was filmed by a thin skin of pale ice so that it formed two concentric circles:  the outer circle of the bank, and the inner circle where the ice ended  and the open water began.  The whole pond looked like a giant eye, staring up at the sunrise.

I stood quietly, watching the weak sun burn its way through the gray. I looked down at the bench beside me, which was frosted like a cake, beautifully white.  And that’s when I decided that this was where I was going to leave the day’s message.

I had it already prepared:  the words inked on the shiny green undersides of six acuba leaves, with their brilliant gold speckles.  I stuck a hand in my pocket and ran a thumb over their leather skins.

Yes.  This place. This. 

I waited.  In just the briefest span of time the frost suddenly went from ice to water, and the bench beside me instantly beaded over with liquid.  I placed the leaves there, in just the right order.  I played with them a little bit, getting the spacing right.  I snapped picture after picture, trying with all my might to believe in the message I was leaving.

It was like a prophecy, and my own heart doubted it the whole way.

And then I left.

Crossed the field.

My boots by then were muddy, my toes cold.  I stopped to take a breath, looked back, and that’s when I noticed her:  a stranger, crossing the street to the park.  I couldn’t see her face for the hood of her parka, but I could see that she was walking a beautiful white dog.

She walked straight across the field toward the pond.  Crossed the bridge toward the bench without a moment’s hesitation, as if it was exactly where she intended to go.

A little moment of panic kicked through my chest — I didn’t want her to see me there, didn’t want her to know it was me.  But of course, by then we were already a good fifty yards apart, and who was to say what she would think, what she would know, even if she saw me?

Still, I hurried back to my car and got in.

Sitting there, my breath fogging the windshield, I had the perfect vantage point to watch her for a moment.  She stood there facing the bench of the longest time, just staring.  The dog stood very still beside her.  Her breath came out in clouds.

And then she bent low, her face pushed right up to the words.

After awhile, I realized what she was doing:  she was snapping pictures, just like I’d done only a few minutes before.

I started the car.

I drove away.

I felt the laughter escape me in a single note that was almost a cry. And for the first time, I believed my own message — really, really believed it, in every cold-benumbed corner of my soul: 

green1 

And it will.  I promise you that. ❤

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Flashback: A Question, Left By a Brook …

True story?

At least three times in the past three days, someone I care about has stared straight into my eyes and said something like:  I can’t take much more of winter.

They haven’t said the words like people griping about getting caught in an afternoon rainshower. Instead, they’ve spoken with a kind of emptiness and exhaustion that I feel even now as an ache beneath my sternum.  Because I’ll tell you:  I understand.

Winter is usually an exceptionally hard season for me.  The darkness thickens into a palpable presence, and all I want to do is sleep.  But this winter, for some reason, I haven’t felt even a touch of that old sadness.  I call it grace, and ask no questions.

Still:  I remember how alone I felt this time last year.  And if you, too, are feeling overwhelmed by the gray, I thought I’d share with you a little something that made me smile, back then.

I dug around in my archives and found this post just for anyone who needs an extra touch of sunshine and warmth today… Enjoy:

///

garstmill4

January 25, 2015

I find a new park today — a small one, hugging close to a silver ribbon of a stream, one that flows cold and deep over stones.

There’s an iron bridge here that leaps in a clean arc over the water.

There’s trees and rocks.  A bench or two.

And on this rainwet afternoon, sky-bright puddles freckle the earth with blue.

Can you believe it?  This place is just five minutes from home.  It’s been here all along…

*

garstmill3

I have with me a series of tiny chalkboards attached to small wooden stakes.  There’s a message already chalked onto them, one I’ve had in mind all day:

What if
spring comes
only to remind us
that all things
begin again.

It isn’t a new idea, this one.  I remember, from the days when I first read Walden, Thoreau’s remark that Spring might well make a Christian out of any man, and I suppose that’s true.  It’s an easy time to believe in redemption, when all things, everywhere, are bursting out new.

And yet I have to tell you:  I am learning, slowly, to believe in Spring now — now, here, in the coldest month.

Which is a crazy sort of faith if there ever was one — crazy, but not blind.

*

I thrust the chalkboards into the wet ground — one every twenty feet or so, following the meandering of the brook.

After that, my small work done, I make my way down to the stream’s edge.

I pick my way over the rocks, close to the falls, and snap shot after shot of water rushing black-to-white.  Leap back to the shoreline and bend low, my camera close to the surface-shimmer, trying to catch its reflection as it laps against stones.

I take pictures of everything and almost nothing:  eddies.  Pebbles.  Weeds spiking the bank.  And the whole time I keep thinking:  beautiful.  Beautiful.  Beautiful…

garstmill6

I don’t know when it happened, exactly, but sometime in the last few weeks I began to see beauty again.

For the longest time I thought winter was just nothing but a slow wet stretch of ice and ugliness, constant black-and-white drear.

Lately, though, my eyes have become attuned to the monochrome of this season, and – just as it was when I first began shooting in black-and-white – I’m finding myself seeing, as if for the first time, quieter forms of beauty that were here all along.

I see frost luminous on tufts of grass.

I see new growth shining flame-red on the tips of twigs.

I see sky-colors caught in puddles.

Did you catch what I said?  This beauty that I’m talking about … This beauty was here all along.

garstmill5

garstmill8

garstmill7

*

I stand up in the middle of the stream, realizing suddenly that my fingers are too frozen to take any more pictures.

Which is all right — really — I have enough.

I scroll through what I’ve taken, thinking:  Enough.  Enough.

And it is enough.  More beauty than I need to fill my heart for one more day, at least. I walk back to my car.  Drive away, thinking again of my message:

What if spring comes
only to remind us
that all things
begin again?

garstmill1

And for the first time I realize that this thing beginning again — right here in the cold and the dark — is me. ❤        

///

This post is part of the Secret Messages Project.  Every day for thirty days, I left my words in places where they might be found — or might never be found at all.  If you like what you see, read more!

 

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Flashback: An Invitation to Look Again …

marsh6

Just over a year ago, I posted this little story.  I stumbled across it again yesterday, and it still feels thick with magic, mystery, and fearless everyday wonder.

Enjoy, friends …

This is how it happens: I am out shopping, late Sunday afternoon, when I see on the shelves a little oval mirror that hangs from a black satin ribbon.

It’s a small mirror – small enough that I can hold it in one hand – but the edges are beautifully beveled so that it bounces light in a lean lovely hoop. I buy the mirror, knowing, even as I do so, that it isn’t for me.  

I’m not sure who it’s for, or what it means, but I know it means something.

*

I have books to return to the library, so as the sun is setting I drive over to South County to drop them off.  And it would be easy, on this chilly afternoon, to just pull the car up to the drop box, but something tells me not to.

Instead, I drive across the street.  Park at the elementary school, planning to take the walking trail through the marsh. I love that this county decided to build a raised wooden walkway through the marsh and to the library, since it’s a literal bridge between the children and the books.  It’s also beautiful, the way the walkway curves over the low water, meandering like a stream:

 marsh8 

But when I get to the beginning of the walkway I don’t take it. I don’t take it because, at that exact moment, the sun dips toward the horizon and catches along a very narrow path that runs away from the walking trail, skirting the edge of the marsh: 

marsh1 

Can you see it?  It’s so unassuming that you might mistake it for the long narrow shadow of a tree.

It’s so narrow — so seemingly spontaneous — that I almost wonder whether it’s a human trail at all, or a path made by something smaller and more fleet-footed.  Still — I follow it anyway, trailing the light. I follow it farther, and farther, into a little glade where the sun glistens in the branches of what might be wild apple trees, or maybe pears.

And can I tell you a secret — the kind that makes my heart leap?  There are buds on all these branches, velvet-soft and silver-gray. I stroke the promise of them with one fingertip and feel the hope of spring flooding my soul. 

This place is magic, I think. It just needed someone to take the time to notice it. 

marsh2

*

The mirror is still with me then, heavy in my handbag.  I take it out and hold it in one hand so that it gleams back flashes of branches, buds, sun, sky — all the magic of this place framed in a tiny oval.

I lift the mirror to my face and look — really look.   Sometimes, seeing my own magic is just a matter of time.

And it just so happens that I have a dry-erase marker with me, too, so I pull it out. Uncap it. Scribble a message on the glass. Then I tie that black ribbon securely onto one of those new-budded branches, at a height where someone about my size could look straight in and see just themselves. Where they might take my invitation seriously, in this special place.

I stand looking.

I snap a picture.

I take a breath, then walk away… 

marsh4 ❤

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2015, in Five Favorite Posts: a Year in Review

Moment of honesty?  For me, 2015 was a disorienting 365 days — full of deep heartache and astounding joy…

I lost.

I lost a lot.

I lost relationships and social circles and beliefs I thought I was destined to keep, and yet somehow, I gained a hundred times that in new friends, new opportunities, rich community, and more goodness and grace than I could have imagined, twelve months ago.

{And maybe I’ll tell you about it someday, but for now … this is enough.}

In the end, all I can say is this:  2015 was sometimes kinda terrifying … and also, it was breathtakingly beautiful.  And I think the tension between the hard and the beautiful shows in my writing.

I’ve spent this first week of 2016 in quiet reflection, and it seemed right to me to distill all my 2015 journal entries into a brief “Best Of” list.  If I had salvage just five little scribblings from the previous year, these are the ones I’d choose:

1.  The Day the Light Overtakes Me

light3

Last October, WordPress surprised me by selecting this personal essay for its Freshly Pressed lineup.  No one ever told me that this (very personal) post would be hitting the big-time; all I knew was that, one afternoon, my stats spiked like never before, and a quiet little blog that had previously seen a few thousand readers per year was now attracting about a gazillion readers per day.

(Clearly, gazillion is an exact number.) 

All kidding aside:  the unexpected attention completely freaked me out.  I felt exposed and vulnerable in ways I hadn’t before … but in the end, it was good for me.

I’m enjoying a return to normalcy these days, but the five minutes of fame (sort-of) was a solid exercise in self-confidence and stamina in the spotlight, and I’m grateful.

2.  Oh, God, give me the words

locusts1

I’m still a little startled by how deeply people connected with this little poem, which I composed in about ten minutes of tinkering in front of the screen.  I received some truly touching e-mails from readers after posting it, and it’s my pleasure to share it again.

3.  On Shadow & Light, Sunshine & Silhouettes… & Seeing My Own Magic

shadow

Sometimes, it’s the little moments…  This post is small, but it’s important.

4.  Sleepless, Under Shooting Stars

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I circle back to this diary entry once in awhile, if only to let its magic rub off on me all over again.  Here’s to sparkle, spirit, and everyday wonder… Raise a glass of stardust with me, friends.

5.  When Eating a Peach is an Act of Transcendence 

peach

I won’t say another word.  Just read.

*

And last but not least: If you’re a woman and you’ve ever struggled with insecurity and negative self-image, please, please, please, check out my photography series Same Body, Second Glance:  A Body-Image Project.  The forty days I spent compiling these images changed my life, in deep and profound ways… And then, when I shared them on my blog last spring, they changed my life all over again.

Who knows?  Maybe they’ll change you, too.

day2

*

Thank you — sincerely — to all the sweet loyal readers who helped make my 2015 so beautiful in the midst of the hardship. I’m believing we all have some very special days ahead. ❤    

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Final Flashback: Just a Long Trail & My Tangled Thoughts …

Today marks the final post of my Flashback series — a collection of my favorite throwback posts, in celebration of Alpha // Whiskey // Foxtrot’s one-year anniversary.

And this one I’ve been saving.  

The words are lonely, and it shows.  A different kind of person would want to hide that from you — want to pretend that the lonely season didn’t happen, didn’t exist.  But I’m sharing anyway.  Because let’s be honest:  loneliness happens to everybody, and when you’re in it, it feels like it’s going to last forever.

Can I tell you something?  It’s not going to last forever…  I promise. 

Almost exactly a year has passed since I first hit the little blue “Publish” button on this post, and in that messy and imperfect year, my life has filled up and brimmed over with some of the best people I’ve met.  

I feel at home in my little town…

At home with my people…

At home in my own body, and in my soul.

And really, I couldn’t ask for more.

So.  If you’re feeling a little bit marooned today, please know:  being lonely doesn’t make you alone — It just makes your heart wide-open to love.

And that’s a beautiful thing. 

///

October 29, 2014 

I have a mind that moves in fits and starts:

It surges forward.

Ricochets.

Retreats.

Sometimes I joke that, behind my tailored exterior, there’s a rat’s nest in my skull.  But something about a mountain trail untangles all the knots in my neural pathways.  Which is yet another reason why I love this place.  Southwestern Virginia is crisscrossed by hundreds of trails, most of them climaxing at a high peak with a hundred-mile view.

It is a good place to think deeply, if you’re not afraid to do so.  And if you’re willing to take the time.

*

What is happening here is going to take some time.

*

I’ve been thinking about Georgia O’Keeffe a lot lately.

Something about her aesthetic appeals to me right now:  her close-cropped view of the world.  I came across this snippet of her words the other day, in which she speaks of her formative years as an artist.  It kicked around inside my ribcage and just wouldn’t leave:

“I decided to start anew — to strip away what I had been taught — to accept as true my own thinking.  This was one of the best times of my life.  There was no one around to look at what I was doing, no one interested, no one to say anything about it one way or another.  I was alone and singularly free, working into my own, unknown — no one to satisfy but myself. I began with charcoal and paper and decided not to use any color until it was impossible to do what I wanted to do in black and white.  I believe it was June before I needed the color blue.”

*

On Sunday, Thomas, a friend and I hiked the Roaring Run trail out past Eagle Rock.  It’s an easy path through the woods, a slow climb that hugs the stream and culminates at a lacy cascade. 

parissa

We spent our journey snapping photographs.  My beautiful friend had a fancy DSLR with a chromed-out filter that set the fall foliage on fire.  I had my trusty iPhone 4S, its little camera set to my favorite black-and-white.

I followed behind her, watching the way she stalked her shots, the way her eyes searched the canopy for color.  The way she spent time on the grander vistas:  the overlook where you could see the mountaintops.  The waterfall with its wild roar over rocks.

Meanwhile, I was in a different place, looking for different things.  The jagged edge of a fern frond.  Drops of water beading and falling over stone.  I spent a lot of time on my knees, my face pushed right up to the subjects.

This is where I am now — I cannot bear to shoot the loud loveliness of a waterfall.  I am overwhelmed by the chrome colors of the canopy when it’s full of light.  My eyes are always searching for spare lines.  The smallest, simplest things.

 fence

*

I began photographing things for the first time this summer — my own body, mostly, trying to see it differently.  To love it anew.  I photographed the sun cupped in the hollow of my clavicle, or splashing down the angle of my jaw.  It was a brave subject, that.  And maybe someday I’ll show you a little of my work from that time.

But I was also trying to learn this thing, photography, in a broader sense, albeit without any serious aspirations.  The thing is, I didn’t want to just go to a class and learn how to use a camera.  I wanted to learn to *see* the world thoughtfully – light and shadow and line, and also, something deeper than that.  I wanted to train my eye and my heart, not just gain a technological skill.

So I limited myself to black and white, and I began with my iPhone, not the DSLR that sits on my closet shelf.  I resolved not to use any technological tool until I absolutely needed it, to take every shot as if it would never be cropped, and to edit nothing.

It was June when I began with the simple shapes of my own form.  The light falling in clear, perfect bars through the blinds.  It was September before I could bear the visual cacophony of the woods, the wild frenzy of fluttering leaves.

It is almost November now, and I am just beginning to yearn for my bigger camera, its depth of focus.

Just beginning to hunger for color.

*

In the two and a half years since I moved to the Star City, this place has felt spare to me.  I have walked around hungry for certain kinds of relationships I can’t seem to find, certain kinds of cultures and experiences that elude me.  These things have been missing from my life for a long, long time now, and there are days when I feel the absence like a presence, an emptiness with heft and weight.

And yet, in this spare season, my soul has grown sensitive.  I am soft enough to notice the small things — to be moved by spiderwebs and bits of broken glass.

And this is a blessing.

Even when it’s a burden.

Because it is a burden — it is.  

Sometimes I feel it’s been so long since I lived in a place where I fit, it’s like I’ve been walking a hundred miles in the tundra, the whole world a wash of white, and if someone crested the next snowdrift wearing a crimson parka, I swear, the color would explode through my chest like a gunshot. And that’s a sensitivity I can use, even when it hurts.  

I can, and I will.

*

A year from now, I hope my life is fuller and richer and thicker than the one I have now.  I hope I’m more rooted, more sure of my place in this town.  I hope I see my city with loving eyes.

But I also hope I don’t lose this, this sensitivity.  This love for the small and the simple.  The shadow and the light.

I’ll leave you with one more thought from Georgia O’Keeffe, just to show you what I mean:

“Nobody sees a flower — really — it is so small — we haven’t time — and to see takes time, like to have a friend takes time…  So I said to myself — I’ll paint what I see — but I’ll paint it big and they will be surprised into taking time to look at it.”

Here’s hoping we both go and look at the world around us low and slow and close and patient, today.  ❤

water

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Flashback: When a Bridge is a Roadside Cathedral & There’s Water Underneath …

As the month of October draws to a close, so does my little anniversary series, Flashback.

All month long, I’ve been interspersing my current work with some of my favorite throwback posts — all in celebration of alpha // whiskey // foxtrot’s one-year anniversary.  This is one of two last posts I’ll be sharing with you from a//w//f’s inception.  It’s a special one – brimming ideas that still challenge me twelve months later.

Enjoy — and let’s go hunting for a little redemption together. ❤

/// 

bridge2

Yesterday, I went down to the river to think.

Rivers are good for thinking, like trails are good for thinking.  But while a trail, with its steady upward climb, always seems to lead me toward something — a revelation, a sense-making moment — rivers are about what’s washing away. 

*

The Roanoke River winds quick and green through this town.  It flows in loops and whorls past parks and greenways, then curls close to kiss the edge of Old Southwest.  From there, it zags east.  Seaward.

If you were following the river just a little ways past the city itself, you’d come to an old dam with what looks like a sand-colored stone house perched atop.  Just a little farther and the river would dip beneath the Blue Ridge Parkway, the bridge of the highway floating high, high above.

Now come to the river from a different angle.  From the parkway itself.  Drive until you reach the bridge, and pull your car over into a narrow slice of parking lot just at the edge of the ravine.

Walk down the trail to the water.

Listen.

It’s a quiet river, but like all rivers, it speaks: 

Let it go.   

*  

Yesterday, I walked down that path as stormclouds gathered above.

I stared up at the bridge looming high and white above me.  In this light, its tall supports reminded me, somehow, of gothic flying buttresses.

It was just an overpass in the woods, but for a moment it felt like a roadside cathedral.

*

I climbed down the rocks where water rested in pools, like tiny mirrors full of sky.  I sat down at the river’s edge.  Watched its greenness furl past. 

Water under the bridge. 

And I thought about how the water passes under the bridge and flows away.  Flows away, but it does not disappear.

The water surges toward the sea.  Freezes into ice.  Sublimates into cloud, settles as frost, as dew.  

And maybe this is what redemption means:  not an erasure, but a transfiguration.

The water that once nearly drowned us falls later as rain, and greens the earth.

We walk out into the rainstorm with faces and palms upturned, and drink.

*

I waited by the water until my heart begin to release what it needed to release.  

I waited until a wind kicked up, coming through the trees.  Until the clouds opened.

Back inside my car, I watched the rain run down my windshield, silver and gleaming.  And I began to believe that the water under the bridge could be transformed into something beautiful.  That I might make it beautiful.

Which is what a river does.

And what Art does.

And what the Divine does.

*

I went home, and I wrote. 

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