Today I had a delightful luncheon and visit with a dear friend who I have not seen in a few months because she and I have been coming and going in different directions. We sat at an outdoor cafe in the hills and as we talked I saw once then twice then three times a flock of geese flying over a river that was hidden to me by tall grasses. I wondered then and I wonder now, where are they going and what is working inside them lifting and turning them as a unit, first one way and then another?
The light is changing, the air is growing cooler, our spirits are lighter, yet as we talked we lingered longer than I would have expected because we did not want to move on. We wanted to stay in the moment, reconnecting and reluctant to go our separate ways.
Later in the day after she had packed up and headed with her little camper back to Vermont I stood stock still at my kitchen window gazing again; this time out to the field behind the church yard. I saw a man I know coming and going across the field. His head was bent low. He carried a golf club over his shoulder. He walked in and out of my field of vision, searching for balls maybe, or following his own inner compass. This way. That way. The sun was setting and he was not ready to give in to evening.
We come and go all the time. Sometimes we are aware of our destination and our pacing. Other times we wake up and find that we are in a new location; in time, in space or emotion or sensibility. How did we get here? What is next on the horizon? What or who is pulling us onward? Can we trust the urge to move on? Can we stop wandering for a while and look out, wondering without knowing; thoroughly enjoying our creature state?
I have been thinking about all the fairy godmothers who are allowed to give just one blessing to their godchildren. Each gift is powerful in a different way. A word. A bit of magic. A skill. A talisman. One small blessing. Not enough yet plenty.
That is what we offer our grandchildren. Time away. Our attention. The peace of the island. A new skill. Affirmation. Recognition. Memories. Deep love. Our faith.
It will not protect them yet it will accompanying and fortify them.
These will be pocketed like a stone or a shell or a blessing written on a heart.
We are nearing the end of the day and we are now on the back side of our vacation on the little island in Maine in the little cabin with our grandchildren. It has been, as all times – out – time with the grands tend to be, both glorious and tremulous.
Are they safe in the boat and in the sea and on the always slippery rocks? Can we answer with assurance their questions about the death of their beloved pet? Will we ever have such a time as this again?
Today the moon eclipsed the sun. Somewhere the day fell into the night. Here it is all more gentle, yet my Nana heart shudders with the changes and all I can do is pray for more light, more hope, and more trust that this day is the Grace that will strengthen me for tomorrow.
God told me today – Take a break for Heaven’s sake
To loosen my grip, to step back and see
Free from myopic over-sight.
God said – Let Go and Let Me
Do what I do best
Shake ‘um up
Upset the apple cart
Turn over the temple table.
God said – Leave the premises girl
I’m taking your keys for two weeks.
Time off – back off
All is already well.
cool air frisky walk
dog and I play hide and seek
our days are numbered
This morning my granddaughter and I climbed a tower named after the local 19th century poet Frederick Goddard Tuckerman who was known for his habit of taking solitary walks and immersing himself in nature. Poet’s Seat tower rises out of the woods and gives those who don’t mind heights a wonderful view of the town below and the hills beyond. I happen to mind heights but we climbed anyhow because that is what you do when you are spending a week with an 8 year old granddaughter.
When we climbed back down (thank you) we walked the trail and found a bench where we sat. Looking out at a still distant horizon we composed poems in our two voices – each calling out a line that inspired the other. The words were all about how good and beautiful the world was and how happy we were to be together and even if sometimes people also get angry with their families we always love them and the world that we can see way down below and even beyond the hills.
It was a sweet moment before heading off to summer camp. A moment that is already gone by, as each moment with her speeds by, and I cannot for the life of me catch it, or catch her, and hold them both down.
Later this morning my wife and I drove up another windy road in search of ripe juicy peaches.
The road took us higher and higher until we reached the apex where we stood and scanned the hills to see way over there, in a great distance, the poet’s tower. “I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come?”
I know that by now our granddaughter will be all caught up in camp life and not likely to be thinking about towers or poetry or fleeting moments or views that stretch across hills and connect her to us.
Unless, and this is very possible, she is hungry for lunch now and is thinking about summer juicy peaches and how soon we will pick her up at camp and maybe we will bring a peach for her to bite into. “Nana,” she might say, “It is really really good.”
Sometimes I need to empty out so I can make room for what is spiritually filling. I do that in a big way every time that we head out to the little house on the island.
Island life helps me unpack the luggage that I always carry over on the boat – the physical stuff that I really do not need and the emotional stuff that I couldn’t leave at home. Island life gives me the permission to let some of that stuff go the way that stuff always goes on the island – back to the earth, back to the sea, back to where God can more easily dispose of it without me grabbing on to it.
The silence, broken only by lobster boats and the shriek of eagles and seagulls. The tides that fill up the cove and then turn around and empty out. The wind that lifts the fog. The people who care deeply about each other. Island life seeps in so that I can seep out.
Leaving the island today I looked back as we got into the little motor boat.
I thanked my brother and sister-in-law, and I thanked God and every other good thing that held me this week and I was fine seeing that hammock waving in the breeze. Empty yet full.