I heard the train whistle; lone and insistent.
The key had just turned in the lock between the cold morning of crisp stars and a clear moon.
Today’s was a solo jaunt through this town I love. Lonely, but not without hope and knowledge that soon we’ll groggily meet for our next bright morning walk.
Lonely, but not sad.
When you walk or run alone, the world seems a little closer.
Footfalls of another runner.
Wind through trees.
Even the air brakes on the rumbling trucks sound sharper.
I become even more vigilant
Thinking ahead – though still too often wrapped in my own thoughts.
There is the young librarian with her giant pup.
A runner with the gait of one who has traveled hard and has an injury to overcome
The mail truck
Raccoons watching me as I give them – and their musky entrance to the waterways – a wide berth
My thoughts eddied about a prayer I prayed as a young young believer, “Lord, make me Everyman.”
I have despaired that prayer since.
Was it compassion? Hubris? Naiveté?
I remember that I had recently learned of my brother’s cancer and – after our growing up years – felt like we had finally hit the very worst suffering of what could be consumed in a life.
My heart was true as I prayed
I wanted to be useful; compassionate, proactive, and …accepted.
Now, I know that my best Type-A driven efforts will never garner the acceptance that brings life among my family, friends, and good people.
All that striving.
None of it steered suffering away from us
Nor did we flow with great wisdom thereafter.
He died and I kept striving
Plowing hard ground to make it grow life.
It didn’t grow life as I expected or sought.
I became tired trying to please people.
Too much work and giving; not enough resting
Not enough saying “cut that crap out” when situation demanded.
Instead, I – like most – grew as a blunted tree
Grafted with great sweetness
And bitter fruit.
Spring fires burned.
We are still here.
Those I love are still growing
Beautiful and strong
Quirky and sheltering
With cuts and burs of their own.
Being “here” means there is still time
To live well, forgive, and capture imagination as we count our stars.
This morning, I heard the train whistle; lone and insistent.
And realized that I am among everyman – every woman
child, vintage, wounded, rising, setting soul.
Spring fires have come.
And we are still here as winter whispers its
Still searching for the North Star.