2. On the dock by the riverbank
3. Letting things go
4. A walk on the river
5. A supportive friend
7. Alan brought us lobsters and clams when he returned from vacation;we watered his plants while he and family were gone.
8. Successful summer for Hannah. David too.
10. And/or blessings plus one
2. Visiting my mother and father and bringing them basil and tomatoes and zucchini from our garden. They are always so appreciative. I appreciate them. My father says I have a green thumb like his father but I always appreciated the tomatoes he grew and the lettuce and basil he brought us when he tended a garden.
3. My father’s memory is no longer so good. I know it frustrates him, not being able to recall the names of people, places, and things, sometimes. You’ll experience it one day too, he told me. It’s humbling to hear this.
4. My mother is quite cheerful and I know it’s hard for her to manage my dad as well as things for herself. His stubbornness, which I think served him well at different times in life, makes it hard. Only occasionally have I tried to imagine myself in his shoes or in her shoes.
5. I try to cherish each visit and give them my full attention and as much time as I can. My mother offers me lemonade and then ice cream. She shouldn’t wait on me. Maybe it pleases her. It’s her house. She’s working tomorrow at the library, which she does one Saturday a month. It seems to please her also but often tires her. Otherwise, she manages their doctors’ appointments, calls in people to fix things, and keeps the house running. They don’t ask much from me even though I would implore them to. My mother asks me to look at the computer and I try what I can to fix it, and she’s pretty savvy about that too, except I think she has trouble seeing the little icons and “x”s and such.
6. I don’t know how many more visits I will have with them. Each one matters, but I cannot ask for perfection from any of us. They are in their eighties and healthy and strong. Tomorrow is not guaranteed to me either.
7. As I approached the house along the sharp incline from the drive way, spread before me was the vast green lawn (which I used to tear up playing baseball with my friends,) the surrounding pine trees, the flowers my father planted which I had sent to him monthly, and those parts of the yard with the sunlight on them. I could enjoy this, I thought, sitting out here, even once.
2. Night sky full of clouds
3. Sunflowers in three varieties
4. Tomatoes beginning to ripen
5. Gift of breath
6. A sense of where I am
7. It changes, it changes
8. Asking what would I change
9. Receptive to another person’s battle
10. Buildings that rise and fly
11. “bread that ate my flesh”
“The communion with God is simple, so we will not be dazzled; so we can eat and drink His love and still go about our lives; so our souls will burn slowly rather than blaze.” – Andre Dubus, “Communion,” in Meditations from a Movable Chair
2. Setting my own pace
3. Verbena and lantana, and Virginia pointing out the differences to me
5. Zinnias bright red and purple and pink
6. the yellow finches
7. Lantana’s run around time
8. Pegasus coming home
9. Startled by the hydrangeas
2. An empathetic listener
3. Helping one another
4. Receiving silence
5. Visit from Hannah and David
6. Giving flowers (also lots of empty jars for them)
7. Distant noises
8. Sunflowers dancing in the wind
9. Pegasus drinking water
10. Even on a half cloudy day
2. I went to a funeral the other day. I didn’t know the departed, but I know her sister-in-law, who works with me, and who was in Scotland with her husband when they received the tragic news.
3. I took time to look around this church, unknown to me, the intricate colorful stained glass honoring the saints, the pillars, the rafters, the distant pews, sparsely populated at first but eventually filled, and sitting in and breathing with the silence.
4. Listening to stories from the dead woman’s relatives, how she became a court clerk, then an immigration lawyer, and a lifelong Red Sox fan.
5. The bishop said she came to mass every Sunday and considered it a privilege and lived the gospel, especially through her professional life and helping so many people, and also with a kind word for each person she met there.
6. I didn’t know the woman and learning a little caused me to wish I had, and then I thought of those known to me doing good work and serving others whom I may not recognize or fully appreciate.
7. Conducting the rituals and telling the stories.
8. Maybe if only for a moment remembering the dead who are saying “finish our work.”
9. And for those who do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with their God.
2. Flowers in time
3. The visitors
4. People giving their time
5. Short Fridays
6. The man with plans stopping by to explain
7. A life well lived
8. Blue strings
9. Open door in the morning letting in cool air
10. Symmetrical cat and dog
2. Feet on the floor
3. Collected in a chair
5. Not minding
6. The speaker’s words coming from the speaker’s mouth
7. Which dreamed it
“At Mass, my mind wanders about like a released small child. It does this wherever I am; it is not mine to hold, and I can either concentrate and so contain it or wait for it to return.” – Andre Dubus, “Love in the Morning,” in Meditations from a Movable Chair
2. Eileen and how she is approaching loss
3. Friends like Terri, who comes to tell us, I’ve never been afraid for my health and now I am
4. Breakfast and meeting new people
5. Circuit breakers
6. Hanging plants with brilliant colors
7. Flowers in bottles
8. Dinner with Hannah
9. An abundance of zucchini so zucchini muffins for David
2. Talking around the campfire, telling stories
3. The endless Maine coastline
4. Cats letting us know how much we missed them
5. Hannah for taking care of the cats, the garden, and the house while we were away
6. A reliable car
7. A where and when
8. A comfortable cottage with all needs met
9. Generous hosts patient with us and with Lantana