Wednesday, March 4, 2015

How We Do It: Part LIII



So, it's Women's History Month, I think, or something like that. I'm not one for the holiday marker on a day. It's enough sometimes, just to get through them, much less mark them. This is also the last week that Sophie is in her teen years. She'll be twenty years old on Sunday. I used to have muscle memory of each year that passed. I remember the sixth was a particularly difficult one. The Husband a few years before had said confidently, I think she'll be talking at six. Even before that, though, some magazine like Time had a picture of a window on the cover of an issue about brains, and somewhere inside some scientist stated that the window slammed shut at three years old. Those years are blurry to me, now, except when they're not. The muscles have atrophied. I might be making up the cover of the magazine, but I'm not making up the window. I heard it slamming for years before They (it's always They, isn't it?) discovered it actually stays open well into Old Agedom. I think the tenth year was another one where the muscles ached. Sophie was sick then, so sick. I didn't think she'd live. There might have been some muscle aching at twelve and maybe some temporary paralysis at fifteen, and every year in between and afterward seemed a cause for celebration. There was incredulity for each one, though, and not a small amount of gratitude. My muscles don't seem to have memory now like they used to. I've always hated to exercise. So, Sophie will be twenty years old on Sunday. The window is open, and it looks beautiful outside.


The Weighing

The heart’s reasons
seen clearly,
even the hardest
will carry
its whip-marks and sadness
and must be forgiven.
As the drought-starved
eland forgives
the drought-starved lion
who finally takes her,
enters willingly then
the life she cannot refuse,
and is lion, is fed,
and does not remember the other.
So few grains of happiness
measured against all the dark
and still the scales balance.
The world asks of us
only the strength we have and we give it.
Then it asks more, and we give it.
Jane Hirshfield

27 comments:

  1. Also my brother's birthday. Oh this poem, this poem. I love you.

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    1. Radish King -- I love you right back.

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  2. Perhaps those muscles have found another focal point for now. In any case, the older I get, the more I'm convinced that there is just absolutely no way to predict what is in store for us and the only antidote to that lack of insight is continual wonder of what is. I love that the window is open and I love that the sun is shining. That picture is absolutely gorgeous, too.

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    1. kario -- You always say such thoughtful things -- so kind and give me, always, something more to think about. Just so you know (and I'm sure you do), I actually do a lot of slamming windows!

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    2. I'm with you. I'm a window-slammer of the first degree. Sometimes it's all too much.

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  3. You not only give strength, Elizabeth. You give beauty. You radiate it.
    I hope that you can see the light which floods through your open windows. We surely can.

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    1. Ms. Moon -- I will look harder and allow myself to bathe in the light reflected off of YOU!

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  4. We give and we give, and we get so much. We are fatigued, we are desolate, we lose our way.

    Still Here by Langston Hughes

    been scared and battered.
    My hopes the wind done scattered.
    Snow has friz me,
    Sun has baked me,

    Looks like between 'em they done
    Tried to make me

    Stop laughin', stop lovin', stop livin'--
    But I don't care!
    I'm still here!


    And, yes, you are, and yes, she is. Amazing that she will be twenty. xo

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    1. Tara Crowley -- That Langston Hughes had it ALL going on.

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  5. Well, you've made some history yourself, haven't you? And there will be more coming, thank god. Better, worse, different.

    There really is something that shifts with the turning from teenager to womanhood. You cannot say that at 20 one is not a woman yet. This will be a good day and a hard day and it will be different after this. I'll be thinking of you on Sunday.

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    1. liv -- You are right. Sophie IS a young woman. It's hard not to think of her, though, as the baby that made me a mother.

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  6. Oh, the poem indeed. With any child of great fragility, probably with any child but that's the one I know, to celebrate another birthday is an uppercase event. Happy day to you both, to all there, to the open window. xo

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    1. Marylinn Kelly -- Thank you for your kind and perceptive words.

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  7. Wow. Two decades. Unbelievable... Carlie will be turning 20 too, but not until May.

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    1. Alicia D -- You're only a few months behind me, and how grateful I am that we've been doing this "together" for so many years here online.

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  8. A happy birthday to Sophie. It startles me to realize I was reading that poem to Miel when she was a young twenty, so long ago. Now she's the age I was when she was born.

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    1. A -- That is very strange! That exact poem?

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  9. What a lovely poem and happy birthday to beautiful Sophie.

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    1. Thank you, lily cedar. I know you know what two decades mean!

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  10. Blessings on all of you for Sophie's 20th birthday.

    XX Beth

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    1. beth coyote -- Thank you. I feel them.

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  11. What a poem. What a post. You stun me.

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  12. There is something about the poem that is haunting and your words are beautiful. The love and care you have given Sophie all these many years has sustained her and contributed greatly to the beautiful young woman she is becoming. I can only imagine what it has taken to finally see the window opening. May it remain wide open forever.

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  13. You are so extraordinary. So is Sophie. Sending love.

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  14. Thank goodness for the open windows! And the beauty of the unanticipated.

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  15. Birthday wishes for Sophie. May she enjoy continued improvement from the cannabis.

    My C. turns twenty too - on April 27th. I haven't celebrated her birthday for years now. I always explain: "What's there to celebrate?"

    I just loved the last lines of that poem - so, so true.

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  16. Happy Birthday sweet Sophie. Beautiful poem and another heart wrenching blog. 💜

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