Sun on Your Face

A lifetime of stored images and associations rearrange and reassemble, feeding you an ever-changing slideshow of your past and future, a streaming reconfiguration of puzzle pieces, moments, feelings, pictures, faces, smells, wounds, joy, tenderness, agony, what you ate for breakfast that day, how you spotted a woodpecker in the backyard and pointed it out to someone else’ s child, the way the mud caked around the sole of your boots, the dim light in the pub where you first heard the terrible news, the time you lifted something empty thinking it was going to be heavy and it flew right out of your hands.

Flipping channels now, new job, new house, new dishwasher, new haircut, new salary, new school, new stamina, new relationship, new patience, new trips you will take, new savings accounts, new certainty, new settledness, new and improved, this future–or on the other hand, dire and anxiety-riddled, provoking panic attacks near the old train tracks by the water.

The future will not be televised, except in the mind, no matter how hard you may will it into being. Ditto for the past, damnit, no matter how the pictures and feelings flood your chest, seize your breath. So you can either keep running–away from or towards–or you can sit on the back steps, stop worrying about the fact that this isn’t your house and you don’t know where you are going to land, stop asking how you’re going to do it, any of it, life. Because this is you doing it. This is you living. Breathing. Sitting still, feeling the sun on your face. The sun on your face. The sun on your face.

Image: Elisabeth Linn, “The Back Steps”

4 thoughts on “Sun on Your Face

  1. Beth Patterson says:

    When it shines on my face, on my face, I invite it into my interior most intimate spaces, so that I can see my blood flowing in stark relief. Sheer relief. As well as amazement. From that space the pictures recede and all that is left is a sense of warmth, the scent of warmed roses.

    Lovely, Jena–


  2. GailNHB says:

    I love those last lines: this is you doing it, living, sitting still, letting the sun shine on my face and into my soul.

    Learning to just let life happen, to do it, to live it, to be – that is perhaps the toughest lesson to learn. Not being televised. Not being broadcast. Not being followed by paparrazzi. Just doing it.

    Let it be, dear Jena, dear Gail, dear Lord, let it be.


  3. hollybackgirl says:

    needed to hear this from you today. a gift, as always. now pretending to be on said back porch with you, my arm around your neck like we were a couple of nine-year old girls plotting our next move . . . xo.



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