She never thought in all her life that she would be a widow. It is a word delivered home in a flag-draped box let gently down from a plane as if the moving any faster might wake up whatever was inside.
Whatever was inside was her husband, what remained of him, what she cannot bear to behold, nor will they allow it. So she thinks of him asleep inside, a deserved nap after so long a flight.
She might tell him later that one of their daughters made a coming home picture for him, a plane blazing across a lemon- drop sun, coming from some place with a long funny name, jetting toward a heart laid out in favorite colors on the ground.
The two men who came up the walk only days before never got to see that picture. They saw only its borders, the nubbed crayons scattered on a table they sat across a wife from, a wife who would unwillingly trade one W word for another.
These are the tales of flags and boxes, presidents who can’t be there themselves, grateful nations who might pause along a road waving stars and stripes before returning to the skirmish of living every day, the endless war of enduring it all.
These years later, I can’t imagine what we might have talked about on the road through Tuolumne. We rose up and up from a night in Lee Vining, the little motel we scratched a small make of love in, the morning shower we made fogged-glass faces that enjoyed mining ribs just the night before.
Yes, we talked, we made love, as if the war might erase it all before we were through leaving ourselves to whatever history might make of us, the war of brevity, the war of vanishing days that take from us everything we fail to keep through long relentless nights that scrub it all down to the next bare dawn.
I may well have pointed out some peak or other, your eye tracing along emerald mountain meadows cut through by black brooks bled from stubborn crags still summered with snow. Tales of westward pioneers, the bloodbound recount of the Donners, your questions tendered softly has if speaking too loud might rouse them down from high couloirs unseen from here.
What remains from all of that is a lingered scent of morning light on bedsheets, dreamspun curls of gold that held your nape and shoulders like rings of baysmoke uncoiling over low coastal hills, sourdough breadbowls of chowder we shared as we walked between a din of gull and Pier 39 seals. That, and my forgetting of it all, my terrible forgetting.
wisdom is worth all we lose to attain it. ~aucassin verdé
i wonder if the artist ever lives his life-—he is so busy recreating it. only as i write do i realize myself. i don't know what that does to life. ~anne sexton
you must acquire the trick of ignoring those who do not like you. in my experience, those who do not like you fall into two categories: the stupid and the envious. the stupid will like you in five years time. the envious, never.~john wilmot, 2nd earl of rochester
art arises when the secret vision of the artist and the manifestation of nature agree to find new shapes. ~kahlil gibran
creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. art is knowing which ones to keep. ~scott adams
those who don't know how to weep with their whole heart, don't know how to laugh either. ~golda meir
i said to my soul, be still,
and wait without hope,
for hope would be hope
for the wrong thing.
wait without love,
for love would be love
of the wrong thing.
there is yet faith;
but the faith and the love
and the hope are all
in the waiting.
wait without thought,
for you are not ready for thought.
so the darkness shall be the light,
and the stillness the dancing.