June 8, 2017. Every family has drama episodes. And while the family of my childhood was not much like the family observed in this poem – I wrote this encounter because I so identified with the little girl’s spirit flattened by a simple mishap and the repercussions thus triggered. I’ve included an image of me at age 8 – a bit more cheerful than the girl in the poem. Someone must have told me to smile. (In Mrs. Camp’s 3rd grade classroom, I was not a happy camper!) Looking at the collage, I notice I’ve put myself on a pedestal – not the sort one dreams of – but appropriate given the skittery nature of being young, being trapped in your family’s dramas.
January 27, 2016. Yesterday morning, driving along a familiar freeway, attentive to motions of other vehicles, exit signs, all the usual stimuli – suddenly James McMurtry’s voice singing “I only want to talk to you” leapt out of memory and song context to put me in Mother’s kitchen, desperate to talk to her. She’s been gone since this month, 1990. Her kitchen is not an option.
I went instead to my journal. Among other insights, this poem emerged.
The image is from the dining area at Red Corral Ranch, a retreat center I visit several times a year, near Wimberley, Texas. The shadows were moving as the breeze stirred the curtains. Not unlike thoughts changing partners for the next round in a square dance.
May 19, 2015. I have been on the verge of starting this blog for some time now. On Mother’s Day, a touching exchange with my adult son spawned a poem that stirred me into action. The poem, as poems do, waited patiently. And now I offer it belated (or perhaps very early for Mother’s Day 2016). My son shaped my inexperienced heart into that of a mother, his journey traipsing over and over and over my heart. He’s still at it! My daughter, three years younger, contributes her steps, too, but my heart was well “mothered” when she began.
The image is of a delightfully hefty little labyrinth heart created by Whitney Krueger (Enchanted Living Arts, 360-450-3788). I keep it close, a touchstone.