Wednesday, July 7, 2010


I'm in a chaotically profound mood tonight, thoughts pinging around in my head without structure or reason.   I want to grab the feelings and slam them onto the page, but graceful words elude me.

And so, I'll simply write.

We're still out at our beach camp.   The house is still - my children are sleeping safely in their beds, the dog is snoring at my feet.   My husband is somewhere out on the point, fishing.    I'm sitting out on our deck, enjoying the cool ocean breeze and marveling at the stars.   Out here, where there is no electricity, the stars shine impossibly bright.

I'm thinking about time.   How moments can grab you and rattle you to your core, only to slip seamlessly on to the next thing.    Those minutes, hours or days that feel like they are going to last a lifetime? 

They don't.

A week ago today I was gripped with fear as I whispered desperate words of what I hoped were encouragement and strength to someone struggling with the worst the disease of alcoholism has to offer.   I thought she wouldn't make it to the end of the day.  

Then I was hit with the flu and spent three days shivering under my covers while outside the thermometer read eighty degrees.    It was the kind of sickness where you can't believe you'll ever feel better again.

The weekend brought a break in the fever, and a renewed feeling of strength and purpose.   We spent long days at the beach, quiet evenings laughing, playing games, talking.

I watched in awe as my kids had their turn being young and free out here, smiling with something like disbelief as they played endless games of tag, hide and seek and capture-the-flag with the children of the people who were my running mates years ago.

Somehow over thirty years have passed with the blink of an eye, and it's my turn to be the Mom.

I snuggled with Greta on the beach as we watched fireworks burst over our heads.   She gave me a private smile and whispered in my ear, "I have a tiny, little crush on Patrick, Momma."     Patrick is the son of the guy who, just yesterday it seems, was sixteen and throwing pebbles at my bedroom window out here at the camp, wanting to know if I would come outside and talk.  

Today, forty miles out to sea on a whale watch, the kids and I squealed in delight as we saw an enormous humpback crest the waves, jump majestically in the air, barrel roll and splash back into the depths.   

In the past seven days I have witnessed little miracles, as the person I thought wouldn't make it woke up the next morning to fight another day.   

I watched as my kids splashed in the ocean, giggling madly as they tumbled over and over.     Just yesterday, it seems, I walked them inch by inch towards the water, their feet on my feet and their little fists over their heads as they gripped my hands.

I felt my heart swell as my Mom dug in the sand with Greta and my Dad hunted minnows with Finn, just like they used to do with me.

In the past seven days moments have slipped effortlessly from joyful to fearful, redemptive to mundane, sublime to ridiculous.

We have had temper tantrums, hugs, tears, skinned knees, angry words and raucous laughter.   

As I was sitting on the porch looking up at the stars, I was thinking:  it has been quite a week

But has it really?   It has just been, well, a week.  Seven days, all full of their own miracles, sorrows and surprises.   Time marches on with its own agenda, thoughtlessly buffeting me about in ways I can't predict.
When my family sleeps, when I have a quiet moment, I tend to try and compartmentalize the day - find a nice, neatly labeled box to put it in.   ScaryBoring.   Fun.   AnnoyingProductive.  

What those are, though, are moments.

Moments that tick by with impossible speed, adding layer upon invisible layer to life.

I want to pluck each moment out of the air, capture it in a jar like a firefly, so I can examine it to my heart's content.

But I can't.  So, I'll simply write.


  1. Are you kidding? These words are incredibly graceful and beautiful. I'm glad you're finding ways to enjoy your moments!

  2. This is a beautiful post. I don't comment often, but I read everything you write. Your words have helped me get through many difficult moments. Thank you for sharing your struggles and your successes.

  3. So have you started writing a book yet? No? Why not? Do I have to hunt you down and kick your butt? Yes? Consider it done.

    Seriously, you have a gift. Your descriptions and grasp on life's moments are incredible.