“Do you know," Peter asked, "why swallows build in the eaves of houses? It is to listen to the stories.” ~ J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan

10.20.2013

with grace and contentment, age and joy


sometimes there are no words.

i can't quite tell you why i moved this once almost healthy bench, no sag or droop yet belying its age, into the back yard.  for years it sat beneath my kitchen window, sheltered on the back porch, a space for a cat to sprawl in the afternoon sun, a place to prop jasmine plants so the smell would wander into my house.  i can tell you that the porch is small and my mother's table needed room to breathe, that this bench had nails that would snag you when you weren't looking, and those would be truths.  i could tell you it was a hard decision to make, the move from porch to yard, but that would be false.  true that the table needed a space, but for years i'd envisioned the bench somewhere in the yard, had listened to people tell me it wouldn't last, and nodded yes, i understood, but . . . when it rained, only its left side got wet, and sometimes wasps built nests between its back and the wall of the house, and it just seemed . . . trapped.

i usually don't say this kind of stuff out loud to people, not in real life, which is where words on the page come in handy, a place to write down all the heart stuff, the hard stuff, but even then there are sometimes struggles.  words are not enough.  sometimes a picture will do instead, but sometimes neither.  sometimes both are needed.

so, the bench.  my mother's table took its place and i moved the bench to a spot i could see from the kitchen window, where i could watch its decline, try to catch its movements, movements that are too slow to see, but quicker than expected.  one morning the right side was lower than the left and then suddenly lower.  wild leaves creep in and out.  some mornings it is full of cardinals, some mornings squirrels, sometimes snowflakes.  when autumn truly arrives, and leaves begin to finally fall, it's a landing place for many.  when it rains it gets wet all over.  in the spring there are robins.  and sometimes, still and always, a cat.  it is exactly what i'd hoped for and couldn't explain.  i watch its slow crumble back into the earth and know its happiness.

it explains to my heart all those broken moments i still carry.
a slow letting go.
i expect to see it open wide its arms any day.

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9 comments:

  1. oh my. these words are so beautiful and true and heart opening.

    and i have to tell you, I have a bench that looks almost exactly like this, in a place in my garden where no one ever sits, and if anyone does go near it i warn them not to trust it... but every so often, i go and sit there myself, watch the sun set, listen to the birds tell stories, and somehow, it holds me.

    i love that you let this bench go.

    xoxo

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  2. i think we may all have "benches" like this ....i always enjoy my visits here

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  3. there are parts of my past like that bench, they've taken a less prominent space in my psyche and I see them there slowly and beautifully dissolving and intergrating into the fertile soil of my mind to come out later in stories and poems. Beautiful post.

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  4. often these days, tears are floating just behind my contact lens, but still able to control them.
    your bench... could not hold them. i have a bench as yours, but never stopped to put it into words
    WHY it is like yours. now i know the reason.

    it explains to my heart all those broken moments i still carry.
    a slow letting go.
    in my fondest. tilda

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  5. so beautiful and I like how you can see from the kitchen window as is slowly is swallowed up by nature. My mother passed away in 1998 and I still miss her-I see bits of her in my daughter and sometimes I come across a note that she wrote and it becomes a treasure.

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  6. Always glad that I stopped by.

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  7. My grandfather made siesta on an identical bench and I like this photograph

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  8. i love that bench and i see remnants of you....well, remnants of your favorite color at least :)

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