In the aftermath of childhood, the rebellion is small. For most people, a walk down a different street, a few too many drinks in college.

And then, the path converts to familiar trails – suburban avenues and wide residential streets, ploughed for snow in winter and in the summer, peppered with the clarion calls of children in sun-lit afternoons, the sounds of easy seasons echoing among the leafy trees.

For others, the path demands definition. Like spokes of a wheel, so many directions to go and which to choose?

A thousand metaphors speak in the dawn of spring. A door closes, a window opens. Sometimes what seems like a tragedy actually signals good things around the corner. You don’t know what tomorrow brings.

Once, I sipped wine on the carpet in a Virginia farmhouse. We were scattered around a low-ceilinged room, papers open on our laps and books bent back to save favorite pages. In full-on night, the darkness cloaking the small house whose eaves creaked and cats sat on windowsills watching, we read our words like drops of our own blood.

Mornings there, the coffee was sweet and rich, made as it was with river water. The foothills arched up from the valley in which the house sat and the sun rose over their shoulders.

With peaked knees, we sat on the balcony deck outside the kitchen and drank in the sun.

The cows moved aside as we walked up the hills to the cresting arches and sat under leafy trees to put our thoughts into words. They were beautiful times, the words a secret language between people from disparate stories.

Every spring, I think about trucking the children across state lines back to Peg’s farm. It would be different, I know. Maybe the hills would seem smaller or the words less significant or maybe, in the midst of children needing their mother, there would be no words except for the simplest ones.

I used to take the turns of curving roads so fast, leaning into the music on my radio. When I drove there at night, I raced the screaming train.

Now, when the waters are pressing mightily, wrote Yehuda Amichai.

It’s just one week of eating different foods to remember a time we never lived. Just a week of difference and we ache in its midst.

Today, the sun is shining and it promises to be warm. The children are waking slowly. A last day together with nothing pressing against the doorframes. Tomorrow, life as usual.

the watches that stopped telling time,
and how much breath,
a whirlwind of breath,
to sing the small song of spring.
(
Yehuda Amichai)


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