Shrines and Saying Nothing

Saying nothing over and over.

A 4 a.m. nightmare shatters any remaining sleep. Before everyone wakes I build a fire, fry bacon and eggs and cut up a fruit bowl. Somewhere between roasting vegetables for the week and reboiling coffee, B drifts into the kitchen to give hugs and to ferry a few pieces of bacon back to his room. I tell him the sad story of a spider that dropped from the ceiling into hot bacon grease before I could save it. The spider sizzled on contact, making my stomach lurch. L is home from college for a few days before heading off to Indianapolis for performances. Her life as a musician is grueling. She puts in 16 hour days on top of performances, tests, homework and travel. My heart bursts with equal measure of pride and worry.

Another round of arctic air surfs through the area. With a high temperature of 5°F, the greenhouse will add another layer of sanctuary tomorrow. There is a certain sense of gifting and joy when growing plants for others. Sometimes I feel like an elf in the North Pole preparing toys for Christmas morning. Will they smile and love and care for these treasures? This and other myths we build into our lives.

Being in the moment means not building a shrine to the longing. And yet, the longing arrives — for sweaty summer nights or the smell of fallen apples in October's orchard. In the now, wind bounces pine boughs into a dance. And the biting air curls azalea leaves tighter and tighter until they look like short, worn down pencils.

Winter secrets held tightly. Now and not-now at hand. When the rind of night gives way I see spring burnishing the tree line for a few moments. It is true that I wait on the renewal – the resumption of living – the melt. But even waiting is the awareness of now. Please write, even to say nothing, over and over.