Stringing It Together

“We can see it from the cemetery. This house that we think may be our next home.

As an albatross flies, it’s about a mile and a half away from us. We stand beside hundred-year-old lava rock grave stone markers, in a simple cemetery just down the street from where we currently reside. Between us and the peeking A-line rooftop of our dream house, lie grassy meadows, one steep valley, and several property lines with fences. Of the house, we can see nothing but windows…

It feels good to look out over green pastures at the only roofline in sight, imagining ourselves lighting up that house with warm, golden hues from the inside.”

The above passage is pulled from the “Lamp Lighting” post I wrote here on the Archives on September 30, 2013.

More than once, the Bohemian and I would walk down our country road to the cemetery and gaze out across the field at the windows of the home we dared to dream about. It felt possible, but uncertain. So close, and yet, so far.

Like any creation, perhaps, it begins with a desire, a dream, a vision. And then there is the doing. Your two hands, your mind, your action, that begins to herd atoms into some organized system shaped to resemble your wishes made real in 3D.

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For a jewelry maker, it’s bead by bead on the string until some masterpiece can grace a neckline. For a spider, it’s filament cast, row by spiraling row. Always, there are unseen forces at work, elements beyond the control of the creator. But, ultimately, the doing is left to the dreamer.

We humans, busy with all this manifestation business, sometimes fix our vision on the steps at hand, not realizing the greater view.

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And so it’s been for my family, elbow-deep in boxes. Loading and unloading them. Thoroughly cleaning cupboards. Trouble shooting water wells. Clearing rain gutters and gray water drains. Where? In that A-frame house we gazed longingly upon from the cemetery, only so many months ago.

Yes, February 1st we moved in, and it’s been shelf by shelf, room by room, of living this dream-come-true.

But last night we paused the chores. Jeb was at his father’s house, and the Bohemian and I had sunset to ourselves. We moved upstairs to the big window that looks out to a range of mountains, where the sun was an egg yolk breaking in golden ooze behind a hill. We sat quietly with the clouds that moved in mauves, ever slowly, past our view. All was quiet but for bird songs and the occasional trumpeting of a strutting rooster.

Looking out across the treetops, I could see the outline of Norfolk pines, markers of the cemetery where we used to visit.

“Do you see the pines in the cemetery?” I asked the Bohemian.

“Yep. I see them.”

“Remember standing beneath them and looking at this window from over there?”

“Yes. And we said we wanted to see the window all lit up with light from the inside.”

“I know…and now, look. Here we are on the inside of that window, looking back at where we used to stand. We’re here.”

The Bohemian rose and walked to the lamp at my desk.

“Then let’s turn on a light.”

Tuning to Here

Ben Harper asks me to sit beside him onstage at an outdoor concert. I hold the guitar on my lap while he’s got the neck, tuning and plucking strings like a master.

He tells the audience that the first time he met me was at one of his shows, where I was backstage and he was just arriving.

He explains that he was a bit late, I had noticed the time, and my first words to him upon meeting were, “You’re not here yet.”

He laughs in his recounting, keeps sounding stings while looking at me, and says, “So I thought to myself, ‘well, then, I want to get here.'”

Morphing, as dreams do, into mirage-like segues that fade one into the next, Ben Harper leaves the stage into the crowd and I’m left to sit with his guitar.

And then, my husband appears offering a bouquet of flowers. Gifting them for “Jessica” not for “my wife.” Which is somehow understood by both of us that sometimes the title matters. Newlyweds may enjoy trying new ones on, but it’s important to remember the first name of your spouse.

As if on cue, just this rousing side of dreamland, my son garbles “Jessica” (not “Mom”) in a sleepy call from his bedroom.

In the waking world I may be an artist still tuning the instrument, looking toward the masters of the craft.

I am a wife. A mother. Both of these, still learning.

And time, it’s an illusion, fooling, but ever-present.

Jessica is still not fully here yet. But trying to tune in.

photo courtesy of Evan Mitchell
photo courtesy of Evan Mitchell