A Moment on the Porch

Sirens, birds, rain, cars. The keys clicking under my fast-moving hands. These are the sounds.

Clove, peppermint, coffee, lilacs. These are the smells.

I see a purple porch, big screened-in windows, fog, an orange and white cat, trees now a summer green.

Sitting wide-legged in yoga pants, I spot one blue tack high up on the molding and wonder who put it there.

I’m a little hungry.

Shower curtains and towels and Tom and Jerry t-shirts in the dryer, a single candle burning on the kitchen counter.

Not knowing what the day will bring–could be a phone call, good news, bad news, no news.

Aviva called two nights ago, breathlessly telling me the story of how her hamster got lost in the house, and they found her after two hours of sobbing and searching near Greg’s dresser.

She is going to write a comic about it called “The Adventures of Mocha” this week at school.

I am thinking of the runners this morning, soaked to the bone after months of training.

I ran today, a mere two and a half miles on quiet Sunday morning streets, uphill, downhill, home again.

A new kind of honesty has settled over me. It feels like the quilt I have from my mother, ragged and comforting, something from another life that covers the impermanence of so many changes.

A lot can happen in a year.

A year ago, my sister and her family came up to Burlington for the long weekend. We rode bikes to the Farmers’ Market, grilled and ate on the back deck. We all agreed, it was the best visit we’d ever had here. We felt the fullness of our lives here–so many friends, our sweet little neighborhood heaven for kids on two-wheelers and scooters and swingsets.

A year ago, a trickle became a torrent, washing away life as we knew it, as we thought it was.

Two hundred miles away, my mother is sitting on her porch drinking tea.

Two thousand miles away, a butterfly is flapping its wings. I feel the tickle on my cheek, a whisper of connectedness.

A quiet, the heavy sky, has come.

Next door, an old man rocks on his front porch, colorful buoys hanging in a row. We could be by the ocean, socked in by the rain.

Gratitude spreads to fingertips, toes, the top of my head tingling.

I wait patiently for the words, a hint of blue, a sudden brightening that requires attention, a light touch, a baby’s fluttering hands.

The man’s wife comes out to join him, sits down in the other rocker.

I fell off my rocker and found myself splayed on the dusty porch floor one morning, staring up at the ceiling, the world spinning. Fiction beckons.

Attachment leads to suffering–I see.

We speak of creating space, when the space is already there, the very marrow of creation itself, at once full and void.

The blue expands, rain lightening.

Humor, joy, tears, a stiff drink, a mouth, a shared moment. Fear, memory, missing, wanting. A moment.

Letting go, giving over, coming out, letting in, being. A moment.

A ladybug on the sill.

Water dripping from the gutters.

A woman in the gutter, give her a dollar, a hand, an ear. Give her her stories. Her dignity. Her birthright. Her future.

How is it we become deaf and blind to each other’s suffering? May I learn to listen well. Open my hands. Open heart, open mind.

A moment.
A nest in the eaves.

Beauty all around. You are the beauty. The messenger. The resting pulse.

What do you see?
What do you hear?
What do you smell?
What do you give?
What do you receive?
Where can you soften?

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