Today was a beautiful spring day. The sun gave everything the glow of highly polished gold, reflecting the beautiful blue of the sky. The wind kept the sun’s rays from being too warm. The day started off just cool enough to make me appreciate the warmth from the rays this afternoon.
Lunch with my sister and her family, an impromptu and entertaining visit with my cousin over at Mama’s. The joy of being with family, folks who know what lies behind the smiles and laughters and make no demands that it be any different. Just comfortable. Understood.
And yet, in the midst of the good moments, I found myself laying on the floor in the middle of the hallway at Mama’s. I lay there and closed my eyes. I could hear the past, Mama calling us for supper, Daddy calling my name to come help with something, or his patience as he helped me prepare for the state spelling bees, our whispers and giggles after lights out, all four of us piling into one bed early on Christmas morning, waiting until we could wake Mama and Daddy up. I could see the sun shining through the windows at my favorite time of day. 4:30 p.m. Usually I had homework done by then, Daddy was almost home, and it was too early to prepare the table for supper. A peaceful and sometimes quiet time in our home. I could smell the brownies or chewy bars or peanut butter bars Mama had made for our afternoon snacks, which would welcome us as we came in the back door home from school. I could feel the heat from the baseboard heaters against my back in the middle of a cold winter evening. I remembered the way the attic fan would draw the refreshing night air in through the open windows on hot summer nights, billowing curtains cheering the coolness on. I saw Daddy’s coats hanging on the wooden hooks in the hall. I opened my eyes and stared at the ceiling. And listened to the echoes of the past and then…..the quiet. How could it all be so close but I cannot reach out and grab it and keep it close to me? This. This is the thin place where I live.
I walked barefooted outside in the yard. I have a wise cousin who would say this helps ground me. It does. Being at the place that has been home for over 35 years also grounds me. It brings me joy and peace. And it also brings me tears and longing. For all the pieces to be back together. Today the ground was damp under my feet as I walked across the grass showing off with its new green sprigs popping up. Tonight my cheeks are as well. The longing for the people who made this home, for truly it is only the people who ever could, that longing–the reason for the unanticipated, uncontrollable sobbing when I found myself in that rare moment alone. The moment when it all hits me how suddenly and unexpectedly it was all taken away. Broken.
There is beauty in this day and there is sorrow. And the two cannot be untangled, as it was the beauty that brought the memories that led to the surfacing of the sorrow. I do dearly despise platitudes as I told my cousin today. And he said, “Well pretty much all that can be said is, it will be different. Nothing will ever be the same again.” For those words, for the absence of the need to fix things with his words, I am thankful.
And I am thankful for the moments that are thin–when for a brief period of time, it is the same. For just a few minutes today, memory was real and all was whole again. There is beauty in that.