On the Passage of Time, Friendship, and Marriage

Mountain Love

Rocky Mountain Sunset

This past weekend I spent in the Rockies, celebrating the wedding of the beautiful, silly, dear, sassy, fabulous, Whatever Girl, formerly known as Miss Mayer!

Waking up each morning at 9,000 feet, unable to breathe in the gorgeous mountain air, grateful every scale up and down the bunk bed ladder, through the lower hills of the upper mountains, a kaleidoscope and a thunderstorm dare, white jean jacket fance in case of weather, and a knot tied in laughter and love, the way the hands hold tightly to newly married faces when they kiss.

There is no better dance than the one you choose with your best friend, the one who also chooses you.

Through union, what transpires is a passage, a change in time, a bond that is fruitful, lifting, and if you’re lucky, true.

What I return home to, after travel, after Love’s Oven ginger snaps on the mountain, so much joy in faces, is a heart that is bigger than it was before, refreshed and awakened by celebration, friendship, a dare not to get stuck in the places of daily life that sour, and an encouragement to honor the places that rejuvenate us most.

For all of my cynicism, marriage is a reminder that there is space to connect with the ground that makes a person home. That the life we work on building will someday be a life for others.

Through the union of friendship, the warmth and bond and silliness of old friends resurfaces, and places where conversations never skip a beat find their place again, and places where fondness once grew bitter, grow fond again, and safety with new friends begins anew.

The sun is nearly set in Chicago on this humid July evening, and it may be just climbing under the mountains in Colorado, but what I know, and what I take with me, is that the heart is always playful and always rejoices in its light.

To my two friends who were married this weekend. Thank you for sharing your light and thank you for the sun being so warm at high altitude that I have my first ever farmer’s tan.

I have photos, and I’ll post them to the appropriate social mediums, but I didn’t want to lose my words to pictures if I had them.

A small glimpse into the joy you bring others, may that joy follow you.

Love.

Love.

The Belle of Belfast City

Arms wrapped around fall, a tumultuous summer, the wounds of travel, transition, death, grief. Grim worlds of wakes in Irish settings, Irish flags in fresh ground, the foundation of a family strong and crumpling and molding together beds of grass and my grandmother’s marble funeral urn turquoise, a color she chose, so beautiful on an August morning.

Her gift to me a clock that always keeps time, royal purple of a queen who knew best the last year of her life, histories before. In a community hall, in an apartment she called her own, coffee sipped every day, all day black and there was still never enough time. Never enough time for sleepovers under quilted blankets, conversations over breakfast and so many hard candies, baskets full.

My heart broke the hardest six days after my 31st birthday. A woman who kept tabs on obituaries, of elder people in town dying off as if it were just another thing, as if she would never be next. That blue house on the hill, a place where love lives, the wood stove, the fire place, the dogs around our feet.

What I wouldn’t give for all of those hours watching the snow fall. Warmth is a place that lives in the heart of the people we lose. When they laugh, we can hear them for generations. Listen.

From Mars, Post Chicago Blues

The biggest hearts break in December. I am sitting in a poet’s house on the Northwest side of Chicago with two beautiful dogs as my companions. I am dog-sitting and have the quiet of books and the coldest days of winter by my side. The first days of winter by my side. It is sunny and not quite snowy and I am in my pajamas and drinking too much coffee again. Black.

I have been in a lot of pain since November. A roaring monster intestinal reproductive knot to the lower right side of my pelvic bone/abdomen/hip/muscle (undefined). The pulsing has subsided thanks to acupuncture, rest, and hot tubs, but I don’t trust it to bicycle or run. I don’t trust it to the care of others or the wreckage it’s caused.

As I approach the saddest months of the year, I cannot exercise and I move to Massachusetts in two weeks. The anticipation of the most joyous hearts upon my arrival. Maybe that’s why I am moving back. That dark underbelly of my history and the goodness of shadowy ferns tucked deep within damp soil and rolling hills of grit and a younger girl’s wanderlust.

It occurs to me there will be birch trees again.

Poetry and journaling have replaced endorphins as I simplify my life. It’s a funny thing, writing. This afternoon I can’t imagine the poetic because I’m stuck somewhere in the middle of a place, a transience that’s difficult to map. Maybe I will become sassier again. Maybe I will stick up for myself more. Maybe I will find a love that flows freely in both directions. Maybe I will hibernate. 

Maybe I will find the calm of the Connecticut under the Northampton footbridge. The summer things that are not Chicago summer things. Trips to New York City. Trips to Maine. Trips to my mother’s grave I am never quite comfortable with. I still have not found a way in such close proximity.

But I will find a way.

There is a poem by Matthew Rohrer called “From Mars.” It is published in his collection Destroyer and Preserver. It is terribly sad but it is terribly true. We do think of each other.

Somewhere.

On January 30th I will see Kishi Bashi in concert in the same place I saw the books many years ago. With friends I have known for even more years ago.

Be good to them always.