reverse threading

the path back is the path forward


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ungrounded.

me&poppofour years ago today my daddy died. while in some ways this feels like yesterday, there are so many ways that this feels like eons ago. my sweet momma pined for him for the next three years. their marriage had been a lifetime of almost 69 years together. it’s hard for me to imagine that amount of time; i’m not even that age yet.

and now there are times i pine for both of them, her gentle but insistently positive and kind spirit, her chatty stories, her “hi, my sweet potato” or “good morning, sunshine”, his quiet pondering, quick norwegian temper, the tears in his eyes when it was time for leave from a visit, his “goodnight, brat” or “i love you, kook.” i wish they weren’t gone.

i find that today is not the hard day. it’s the days preceding today. it was like that for my momma too. it was the days preceding the anniversary of her dying that i was off-balance, out-of-sorts, crabby, ungrounded. anticipatory grief strikes hard, even after ‘real’ grief. anticipation of all the remembering. anticipation of The Day. anticipation of how it will feel…this time. anticipatory grief. ‘real’ grief. what’s the difference anyway…

he said, ‘we need to love more on these days.’ instead, we tangle some. this kind of ungroundedness is hard to explain. it’s raw. painful. one day in a note from lori, she wrote that she just wanted me to know that there is a different kind of grief that happens when both of your parents are gone and, having that experience, she would be happy to talk about it. i should probably take her up on that. sharing experiences with someone who can totally empathize –not sympathize- is a good thing.

we were walking yesterday, arm in arm, dogdog at our side. someone came out of her house, water bottle in hand, sneakers on, ready to take a walk. she said, “i have been trying to get my husband to take a walk with me. i tell him that we should walk together sometime before we croak. i don’t know how much more pressure i can put on him. i tell him all the time about the husband and wife who walk. i tell him they look so peaceful. i love seeing you two walk….”

i felt anything but peaceful yesterday. but there must be something. something that makes ‘loving more’ obvious. even if we can’t see it at the moment. even if we can’t feel it at the moment. even if i am ungrounded.

take a walk. hold hands. love more. every day.

hands

 

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first after the deer

the snow had fallen and there were several inches of what my colorado mountain girl calls ‘fresh powder’ on the ground. many hours of desk-work inched us over the line of whether or not to take advantage of the snow. we’re kind of easy that way, though – the outside calls to us. both of us are kinesthetic and think better on a hike or a walk, moving, moving….

the woods were quiet. the sky was azure. the grasses were golden, standing proudly above photothe snow, having survived the wind and driving snow. vivid color. in heavy boots, bulky coats, long underwear, double gloves and earmuffs we set out. we weren’t far into our hike when we realized that we were the first out on the trail since the snow. first after the deer. first after the rabbits and tiny birds that had hopped across the path. first after whatever animal it was that made enormous tracks in the snow. longer than his boot, these tracks kept us company for a long way, meandering in and out of the brush, in and out of the woods. we wondered aloud what it was. we quietly pondered that these woods were not ours. they are home to beautiful creatures, big and small. creatures that depend on the turning of the seasons, the sun, the warmth, the snow, the rain, the ecologic responsibility of those of us who are out there, for a bit of time, with them.

photo-4mostly, i was bowled over by the fact that we were the first people to walk out there since it had snowed. the trail through the prairie glittered in the sun and in the woods, the trees reflected majesty on the snowy path. we were first; we weren’t first. but to make the first people-tracks in the snow…to know that in at least the last 36 hours or so, no one else had walked there…something about that was humbling. hugely grateful for the universe in all its goodness, in that place of quiet-quiet, that space of pristine clear that single digit temperatures make possible, the smell of sun in our hair, i was struck by our smallness. four footprints in the snow, walking together, side by side. hand in hand. on trails. through the woods. in life. that’s really it – four footprints. each set of prints count. each stride counts. each breathless moment that we get to breathe counts. now counts.  now is the only thing that really counts, the only thing that really is.

we are first; we aren’t first. we are living.photo-1