If it is one thing it will be breakfast; if it is two, dinner. Three and four and five are lunch and chickens scratching and compost turning; six and seven and eight are reading, writing, sewing. Nine and ten, clean kitchen counter, well-swept floor.
In this decade of newness, I begin again. I gather up the corners of myself and hold aloft, as I sweep in mess and disappointments and spoiled peaches and deep, clefting hurts and unwritten words and unspoken loves and tomatoes left on their vines and carefully-drawn plans, never referred to again. I sweep in these sentiments: no, I will not type them, they are in there and I will carry this bundle to the highest peak, the undead volcano perhaps, and I will open up my arms and let the corners go. There! My hands are brushing together, satisfied; I open my mouth and close it, letting tension flow from the muscles between ear, lip, rain off our steep roof. Splish splash pitter schweeep.
I had gone to bed early, New Year's Eve, suffering from a headache that probably stemmed from indulgences in sugar, or argument. And so I was almost all asleep when the new decade struck, and as it did the fireworks began. At first it was just a pop-POPPOP! to the west and then another, south, and then all around me, popPOPpop-SHPEEEEEE-popPOPOPpop, near and not so near, as if the entire world was celebrating in one grande finale that was also an issuance, an embarkation. I had been feeling quiet, introspective, becalmed and with this aural consecration I rejoiced and gave thanks. I fell back into my sleep, full of hope. Despite it all.
In our home, there is a presence, a cloud, that much though I swipe palm against palm, much though I practice with deep breaths and prayers and promises to stay calm, spurn anger, I cannot whish (wish) away. It hangs, dark and often pierced with thunder, lightning, maelstroms and hailstorms. I have no power over it; it is not mine.
It is this which grips me: despite all our best ideas and identifications, simply knowing of what a loved one suffers is ineffectual, useless. I can name this, but I cannot mend it. I offer up cool and rational ideas, diagnoses, alternatives, perspectives; I give him his choices. In some moments, I am met with another rational adult. In others, I am only launching myself, arms akimbo, into the whirlpool. I grasp anything I can.
And so, I wish to begin, again. Each day is new, a grey mystery of an opportunity to practice enough so it becomes both rote and referent, example and exercise. I wish I was going to church with my family each Sunday; I wish I had breakfast on the table every morning when the boys awoke; I wish I could go to bed each night with a clean kitchen, toys put away, knitting quietly folded by my cozy chair, bookmark progressed through a work worthy of my quiet time. I am grasping at this, getting a little at a time. I am working toward the goal.
But while I work, it will be the briefest of quiet times, prayerful states: each morning, I look out the window and open my eyes to the sky, really see; and later, as I pour my French press pot of coffee into a mug, I inhale the aroma deeply, and I give thanks. I thank God for creating these berries; I thank him for the farmers and the buyers and the roasters; I thank him that, at least, I have this day to start anew.