Maybe it’s the cold, moving in like an unwanted neighbor, that has we me curling inward with my thoughts. Maybe it’s the family transition we are watching — a second marriage, more letting go, and leaning into the Lord to learn that kind of love. Maybe it’s this season of soft October light, leaf-littered lawns and vines reddening on the chimney.
I cut down my perennials, haul out the withered tomato plants, and all of it has me missing my Mother, reaching for her.
So this morning I pulled out a book of poems. Poems she collected throughout her life and copied into a linen-covered notebook. Written in her smooth, familiar script, I read the inset: “Over the years these poems, thoughts, and scriptures have touched my heart.”
I leaf through them. Some are funny. Like this one she used to repeat with good humor when she got a head cold.
by Dorothy Aldis
It doesn’t breathe;
It doesn’t smell;
It doesn’t feel
so very well.
I am discouraged
With my nose.
The only thing it
does is blows.
Many poems are about nature and growing things. Poems for Spring, Poems for Winter, Poems for Fall. One little couplet was written by my Dad. And handfuls of poems are about motherhood.
This one, although I’m long past seventeen and in a few short years will have my own seventeen-year old daughter, feels like a forgotten treasure, a love note she didn’t want me to miss, a reciprocal reaching to remind me she is not so far away.
To A Daughter
By Dawn Baker Brimley
Now that you are seventeen
An important age,
You sweep by me
In your hurry to get places.
Sometimes I would like to follow
But your world is yours alone
I think of you as a second hand
On a clock — and I,
I am the minute hand,
Not too far behind
Glad for the moments
When we make brief contact,
Yet knowing your revolutions
Will always outdistance me
In your haste, please remember
I am here… not too far behind you
When you want us to make contact
Tell me so
And I will run
Breaking all the laws of nature
Like a minute hand gone wild
I will run
To catch up with you
In my haste, in my hurry, and even in my hurt, I have not made the time to simply ask.
“Tell me so” she whispers. “Tell me when you need me. I’m not too far behind you. Or ahead of you. Tell me you need me and I will break the laws of nature, of time, of space. To run to you.”
Arms flung wide, you came today, Mom. I felt your revolution around my life, your presence, your knowing that everything will be alright. That I will be alright.
We march on, the two of us in our overlapping spheres, counting minutes and seconds, seasons and snows, until there are no more hours separating us.
Someday I will catch up to you.