May 2, 2014

July Stars

The baby is sleeping. Ahh--you see what I did there? That little untruth? Because he is not a baby, Miss Emily B. Remember all the ways that he is now a boy:

Pointed finger, wearer of shoes, hall-runner, door-slammer, hahahahahahaha laugher, tantrum-thrower, always-hungry-carrot-monster, the "balls," the "birds," the "dars" (cars), the on-the-lips-kisses, the too-long hair, the long and lingering and serious gazes, the mischief-twinkling-father's-son stares, the charging-full-speed-into-mama's-arms-and-tipping-us-both-over-from-the-force kind of hugs, the lengthening of  legs, the sculpting of shoulders.

Which is to say, time is passing. All week here it has rained and rained, sheets of it so thick that puddles widened into ponds that ducks sat in, soaking. We watched it. Heard it against the windows at night. Heard thunder, too. Felt the winter recede with the rest of the snow into the rivers, which are now over the banks, gobbling up mud and old branches, moving the earth.

Tonight, I kissed my boy sweet dreams, hugged him fiercely in a way that's been new, now he's sturdier, and felt all these clangs in my chest as I did so. Goodnight, goodnight, goodnight, goodnight, the world, your neck, goodnight. And when I set him down, he turned on his stomach and sighed, like the blessed.

And though I've so rarely had the time or energy to write these past (almost) fifteen months, I closed his door to pink and orange light pouring through the northwest windows, and I will tell you that something in this last month has changed for me. Time is passing. Spring is coming. My child is growing. And I am quietly but suddenly quite sure that I am coming back to myself. That there is enough of me to go out to the world and to my family and still come back to myself.

Earlier this evening I was looking out at the grove, the trees still humble shades of brown and gray, and, "Oh!" I said out loud. Because though I've been watching for it for weeks now, waiting for it just as I have since I was too young to know why even grown women would do such things, I didn't see it there right away. It snuck up on me--the promise, the arrival of life returning--the bright green buds shooting out of one small tree, like July stars.


Sweet dreams, friends.

12 comments:

  1. Oh, Emily, you are such a wonderful writer. I loved every word of this beautiful piece.

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    1. Oh, so glad. Thank you, dear Teresa.

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  2. Emily:

    I wish all families with children the age of Elliott could be reading your posts. Your writing has that personal feel that is so difficult to capture. I especially liked when you set down your dear boy, and he turned on his stomach and sighed like the blessed. He is. You are.

    Richard

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    1. Thanks, Richard. That was a beautiful moment, it's true, and I certainly feel blessed.

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  3. You capture the passage of time, the growing of the child in such an eloquent way that sings with poetry and love. Lovely, Emily.

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    1. Poetry and love: both things I feel daily (right next to the exhaustion. Who knows, maybe the poetry slips in BECAUSE of the exhaustion? I see the world all slightly askew? It's an interesting notion, anyway.) Thanks for the comment, Audrey!

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  4. I loved the pacing of this piece, and that it took a direction I didn't expect with these two lovely lines tucked somewhere in the middle paragraphs: And I am quietly but suddenly quite sure that I am coming back to myself. That there is enough of me to go out to the world and to my family and still come back to myself. Welcome back, and thanks for sharing some of your return journey with us. :)

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  5. So beautifully done -- and especially the phrase that rings like a bell throughout. "Time is passing..."
    What you've so wonderfully captured, I think, is the natural, easy, comfortable passage of time, the time that we neither mark nor command. It's the time that changes a babe to a boy, and brings the July stars to life.

    And in a sense, you've pointed beyond the comfortable blessedness of your time to another kind of time I think Mary Oliver captured in her poem, "The Journey."

    Just wonderful.

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    1. Thanks for pointing me towards "The Journey," Linda. What a beautiful poem. I know I've read it before, but it strikes me just right this morning.

      And you're right about neither marking or certainly commanding time. What a lesson that's been for me--someone with a natural tendency to mark things and wish for more or less of certain hours. The most authentic moments of our lives, most likely, are when we forget time exists at all.

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  6. Dear Emily, you recently came to my blog and left a comment--for which I was grateful. Only now, several weeks later, am I getting to you blog, which is written so evocatively. I especially liked this line: "And when I set him down, he turned on his stomach and sighed, like the blessed." That could be the beginning of a novel or a poem or short story. I can see a world beyond the words. Thank you. Peace.

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    1. Thanks for stopping over, Dee. I love that line, too: it seemed to float out of me from the space of sleep and dreams, like many of my favorite lines do. I like the idea of exploring it more, also, seeing where it leads; I just might give that a try tonight. :)

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