22 July 2011

Into My Own

~Robert Frost
ONE of my wishes is that those dark trees,
So old and firm they scarcely show the breeze,
Were not, as ’twere, the merest mask of gloom,
But stretched away unto the edge of doom.
I should not be withheld but that some day       
Into their vastness I should steal away,
Fearless of ever finding open land,
Or highway where the slow wheel pours the sand.

I do not see why I should e’er turn back,
Or those should not set forth upon my track       
To overtake me, who should miss me here
And long to know if still I held them dear.

They would not find me changed from him they knew—
Only more sure of all I thought was true.

Dear Mom,

Many words in these posts are about dad, perhaps not always overtly so, but you recognize the ebb and flow of my words.  Sometimes the most difficult aspect of a relationship is the lack of closure following its end.  I seem to be always searching for the period at the end of the sentence, or the epilogue that comes at the fading of the book.  It is true that dad provided much of the fuel for my maddening fight.  Sometimes it was much like gasoline.  Ultimately though, the story of me is about survival.  For that fire, I can be grateful to dad despite everything.

The heart of a mother is a deep abyss at the bottom of which you will always find forgiveness. ~Honore de Balzac, author

Still, I wonder if you can forgive me...for always looking back at the sadness, for struggling to channel the anger, for trying to assimilate it all, somehow, into my life today.  What I want you to know is that I have not forgotten:  I am not only his daughter.  I am yours as well.  No matter how old a mother is, she watches her middle-aged children for signs of improvement. ~Florida Scott-Maxwell  It is your calm, your smile, the seeds that you have sown. ~ These are anchors that hold me steady when my heart is adrift. You are, as you always have been, a safe harbor.

What I want you to know is that where I have been may have a lot to do with dad, but where I am going has everything to do with you.  How could you have known so many years ago that those alphabet flashcards (still in my cabinet) and journals and stories ~ shared because you believed literacy mattered ~ could have such an impact? Most mothers are instinctive philosophers. ~Harriet Beecher Stowe  More importantly, I watched (and am still watching) you read.  You taught by example. That best academy, a mother's knee. ~James Russell Lowell  And so today, as I contemplate research that will perhaps impact the lives of others, I return to those memories of us...a mother and her young child, reading and learning and falling in love with words. I only hope that every child might be so blessedWhatever I do in this educational journey that is good, it is you to whom I am indebted foremost.  Love, S. xo

As is the mother, so is her daughter.~Ezekiel 16:4  
Lord, let it be so.

Patriotism, belated, is still timely...

O' beautiful for spacious skies

This is America ... a brilliant diversity spread like stars, like a thousand points of light in a broad and peaceful sky. ~GEORGE H.W. BUSH, RNC acceptance speech, August 18, 1988

God bless America, land that I love. Stand beside her, and guide her, through the night with a light from above.

Young man, there is America -- which at this day serves for little more than to amuse you with stories of savage men, and uncouth manners; yet shall, before you taste of death, show itself equal to the whole of that commerce which now attracts the envy of the world. ~EDMUND BURKE, speech on conciliation with America, 1775

 God shed His grace on Thee

No People can be bound to acknowledge and adore the invisible hand, which conducts the Affairs of men more than the People of the United States. Every step, by which they have advanced to the character of an independent nation, seems to have been distinguished by some token of providential agency.
~GEORGE WASHINGTON, first inaugural address, Apr. 30, 1789

O' say does that star spangled banner yet wave, o'er the Land of the Free, and the Home of the Brave?

France was a land, England was a people, but America, having about it still that quality of the idea, was harder to utter—it was the graves at Shiloh and the tired, drawn, nervous faces of its great men, and the country boys dying in the Argonne for a phrase that was empty before their bodies withered. It was a willingness of the heart.
F. SCOTT FITZGERALD, "The Swimmers," Saturday Evening Post, Oct. 19, 1929

The God who gave us life, gave us liberty at the same time. 
~Thomas Jefferson

03 July 2011

Hello, again.

I am a bit sad today.  I realized how busy I've become and until this morning, I hadn't even thought of this blog for a week or two.  It is summer, true, and that involves camp and vacation and swimming lessons and and and...and summer school for me so, yes, my schedule is packed.  I am learning much in my current classes, thanks to an incredible amount of reading.  The latest assignment, though ~ an article for which I must provide an annotation for my peers ~ is excruciating.  It was written by a feminist and although I champion the female cause, the bias of her position is ugh.  And so I am here instead, writing, because I happen to like my voice better than hers at the present time.
On a completely random note, I found these photos on Pinterest and was reminded of some childhood happiness.  When I was but a few years old, my mom made me a butterfly cake for my birthday.  It had sky blue frosting, just like on these cupcakes shown.  She found the design in a cookbook (which she still has on a bookshelf somewhere).  The cakes in that book were fabulous to me, and I'd sit and look at the pictures often.  And the turkeys ~ the ones my mom made weren't quite like these.  They were not edible but looked similar.  I remember the bodies were made from small paper cups (to hold nuts or candies), and the feathers were cut from construction paper.  I believe they were used as party favors.  The leftover supplies from the craft were stored in a desk drawer, and I used them often for my own projects until, alas, they were finally gone.

  As for childhood, my daughters are keeping me in smiles.  My youngest sat near me, 'reading' the Bible the other evening.  She was sharing the story of Mary's journey to Bethlehem.  What I did not know, until then, is that Mary's last name was Jefferson, and during her travels she also visited Africa, Illinois and California.  That particular lesson will surely prove beneficial for some New Testament trivia at some point.  My child has also developed a gift for writing songs.  She played her piece before swimming lessons today.  She indicated it is a love song.  (Um, she's five years old.)  She let me read the lyrics.  Truly, truly, this is a mother's love song.
As I race to complete this post, I anticipate but one more before my summer fades into a classroom, one in which I am again the student.   Tomorrow my family will travel to the magical town of Spring Garden and I will include a bit of it here.  It has been awhile since I've visited there...my mother's childhood home, my grandmother's house when she was well.  I have so many Fourth of July memories stored there and it will be a nice return.  The old white house.  The church bell.  The one-room school house.  Lilac bushes and honeysuckle.  Reminders of family dinners in the yard.  The cherry tree.  Gravel roads.  Lightning bugs.  Barbecue.  Homemade ice cream.  Watermelon.  Chocolate pie.  Singing "America the Beautiful" with cousins atop the doghouse.  My grandmother's echo: "I love you too, kid."  I miss those words.  Tomorrow, maybe tomorrow, I can conjure their sound...if not in my ears, then in my heart.
xo, ~S.