There are invisible lines
connecting everything together,
and I am particularly fond of
the one that connects me to you.
Pick a date and do the thing. There is no rule that says you have to feel ready before you say yes to your dreams.
Nothing More (remix)
If there is any secret to this life I live, this is it: the sound of what cannot be seen sings within everything that can. & there is nothing more to it than that.
Listening Well (for Erik) (fem)
She had the gift of stopping time & listening well so that it was easy to hear who we could become & that was the future she held safe for each of us in her great heart & you may ask, what now? & I hope you understand when we speak softly among ourselves & do not answer just yet for our future is no longer the same without her.
My grandma used to plant tomato seedlings in tin cans from tomato sauce & puree & crushed tomatoes she got from the Italian restaurant by her house, but she always soaked the labels off first.
I don’t want them to be anxious about the future, she said. It’s not healthy.
I wish you could have been there for the sun & the rain & the long, hard hills. For the sound of a thousand conversations scattered along the road. For the people laughing & crying & remembering at the end. But, mainly, I wish you could have been there.
They’re like pets who shed clothes instead of hair, she said, & they talk back & want a lot of stuff. But at least they don’t pee on the carpet anymore, she added.
You see me better than I am, she said & I’m worried what’ll happen when your vision changes
Value of a Nickel
I buried a nickel under the porch when I was 8, she said, but one day my grandma died & they sold the house & I never got to go back for it. A nickel used to mean something, I said. She nodded. It still does, she said & then she started to cry.
I think we should make all the flags in the parade out of long underwear, he said, because then only the really fun people will come.
Don’t you hear it? she asked & I shook my head no & then she started to dance & suddenly there was music everywhere & it went on for a very long time & when I finally found words all I could say was thank you.
Don’t you dare be rational at a time like this, she told me, or I’ll be forced to admit I wasted all these years with you.
When my great-uncle August was in his twenties, he left Iowa & went to study cake decorating at the National Baking Institute in Chicago. He learned everything from spun sugar decorations to ice sculpture. He went to school for 2 years & when he finished, he went back to Iowa & worked in the family bakery. Except for the odd wedding cake, he never used the fancy stuff he learned. He was in charge of yeast breads & cinnamon rolls. Just after the end of WW II, the Valley Dairy Farmer’s Association had the first of the now famous Milk & Honey Festivals. August made a model of the Statue of Liberty out of 250 pounds of white cheddar cheese, surrounded by American Beauty roses of spun sugar, especially for the occasion. He showed me the page from Life magazine he kept folded up in his wallet, one summer when we visited. On it was a picture of a much younger man, smiling next to a 4 foot tall Liberty. He told me he had 6 proposals of marriage from that photo, one from the East Coast even & he smiled & I saw him grow 30 years younger & I knew in our hearts we never get old.
They came to sit & dangle their feet off the edge of the world & after awhile they forgot everything but the good & true things they would do someday.
There is no one who comes here that does not know this is a true map of the world, with you there in the center, making home for us all.
The most important thing you leave behind is the stuff that turns into treasures when children find it.
Too Much Beauty
I have heard too much beauty to ever go back, he said & in that moment, I knew there was no way the children of our world would fail.
Too Many Words
Does Santa get to do as much PlayStation as he wants? he said & I said nobody gets to do as much of anything as they want, or the economy would grind to a halt & he looked at me & said, That was a simple yes or no question, Dad.
You seem very calm for a woman who’s getting married, I said & she nodded. It’s on my to-do list, she said, so there’s no point in agonizing about it
There are moments when I’m completely at peace, but it’s usually before my children wake up & they’ll have none of that.