It sounds like a cliche but I blink and the last eighteen years flew out the door. My son is graduating from high school in less than one month. My daughter is three quarters into her Sophomore year in college. Soon, she will be in her twenties, and he will be out of the house. I look around and still see the traces of their childhood in the house. Every step, every door handle, every corner of the wall, every piece of carpet, every hollow space holds their sounds, their essence, their imprints.
It’s so easy to look back into the past because it has already happened. I can see every dot that was placed, and could connect them without looking. It’s so hard to look forward into the future. This unknowingness nips at my legs, the way my cat Emmie nips at my toes when I am trying to write a poem. Where would we be in five years, ten years, twenty years? Where would I be? My father had his heart attack at the age of fifty-five, and dead within ten years. How many dreams were buried when he went?
Am I making too many mistakes along the way? How many things will remain undone or done in the most wronged way? Always, fear marches in and I am practicing my mindfulness with so much difficulty.
This life flies. I could almost hear the whooshing sound it makes as it runs at full sprint. Tonight, this poem by Jane Hirshfield speaks to me. Every word makes a powerful impact. Every word forces me to pay attention. (Plus I love the title).
By Jane Hirshfield
So many things
you’d not have thought of
until they were given.
Even the simple–
a cottage cheese sandwich,
a heron’s contractible neck.
You eat. You look.
Then you look back and it’s over.
This life. This flood–
unbargained for as lasting love was–
of lasting oddness.