Thursday, December 29, 2016

these winter rains

Today, the temperature is cold enough to chill, just warm enough to keep things from freezing. It is raining. From where I sit in my parents' den, I can hear car tires sloshing water aside as they drive by, drops dancing on the box air conditioner that chills this room in the summer. Out the window behind me, everything is shades of gray and brown. Tree branches are silhouettes against the barely-lit sky. It is the kind of day that makes you want to hide under a heavy blanket.

They say home is where the heart is, and I guess they are right. I am always looking for ways to get back here, to the place where the roads swerve between old farm houses and trees sprouted up long ago beside tiny creeks. Like veins in the hand, these roads could tell you about my life: how I got from there to here, the places I traveled, they way my life was formed. And yet, once here, I find my heart is still restless. My heart isn't really here; this isn't really home anymore. Or, it is home, but this isn't what I'm really searching for. Because it is also where my heart grew around hurt. I imagine the roots of those same trees, thirsty for water, cut short when the roads were paved years ago. Necessary to keep life moving, but without regard for some of the precious growth still happening beneath the surface.

Still, the trees are rooted. Their trunks grow thick. They shoot leaves and bear their fruit. Grace.

I have been trying to figure this out, the way my heart yearns for family. Then, once I am here, I remember, even in my body, the old ways we all learned to accommodate or ignore or just get by. I slip into these old moves we learned together and feel unfamiliar to myself. Not that I have turned every old leaf into something new, but there is a dullness that comes over me, a decision to just let things be. That is how we learn to survive, and maybe that is fitting for some seasons. And yet. I am learning to ask, seek and knock, still learning to turn and live, so this settling feels unnatural. This, too, is grace. 

Spring is a long way off still, but the nights are getting shorter. These winter rains are watering the ready ground and making way for what has died to feed new life. May it be so.

(photo: childhood home backyard, old maple tree in a season without its leaves)

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