Whenever I have trouble getting the woodstove going, I think about that family when I was a girl in Colorado.
Why did that fire, unwanted, burn so easily?
And then I think of other things, like pregnancy. A single spring at the bloom of 16, one terrifying conception after the other, while a decade later, an entire year of yearning, followed by one heartbreaking miscarriage and then another.
And what about gardens? We work so hard to grow things, while other things grow no matter how hard we labor against them.
Criticism is like that. Sticky.
People take their lives while others fight to hang on, leaving behind lovers or life’s work or little children and the span of light-filled years expected to unfold…
I don’t like puzzles much, except for the edges. I like the edges of brownies and cookies too. Movies and storybooks run along the edges–the crispy, chewy stuff–without all the soft middles of indigestion & weeding & building the fire & making appointments.
When we do die, I wonder if all the pieces of the puzzle fall into place and look beautiful.
I wonder if we look back and wish for more middles.
From later & later nights to mornings languishing in bed, to lavish brunches and afternoon slumps lifted by sugar & flour & butter & caffeine, to evenings brightened with spirits & cheese, to hearts melted by music & magic & merry-making—to the lean wintry months ahead—Christmas, I’m gonna miss you when you’re gone—and still, it’s time for you to go, and in the hush of your departure, I’ll exhale, soberly facing the sparse, simplicity of beginning again.