Captured by stillness

The winds have stilled. The branches of the old evergreen towering outside my bedroom window rest quietly amidst the dancing of snowflakes. They fall lightly and few so that it takes moments to register their presence.

My mind drifts to morning duty at school only days before. A wet sloppy snow fell that day and the children ran and jumped trying to catch the flakes on mitts and tongues. In laughing frustration their game of catch often ended in disappointment as the flakes seem to run from their open welcome.

I go to the window to watch the lightly dancing flakes. The evergreen, in its stillness, has done what the children could not do. Held quietly in its branches a small flake of snow rests among the needles.

The snow doesn’t yet hide the ground from view. Perhaps today will be the day. I know the geese have been gathering for their long trip south. The time of change crawls forward.

Yesterday I visited via phone with my mom at the transition home where she strengthens and waits for the next changing season of her life. She has had a stroke, far less serious then what could have been yet enough to weaken her and change the equilibrium with which she moves through the world. She will need someone even closer to her around the clock. The busy home of her grandson’s family with two growing children does not come equipped with the nursing care she will now need available. My sister can do that for her but it takes time to set up the new living situation. In the meantime, she stays where the care is available day and night. At least her room looks out onto a garden.

IMG_2221Only a few short years ago, she faced another changing season. The man she had left home and other dreams behind for was leaving. Cancer had taken hold in his life coupled with a dementia that wove his memories into a snarl of moments of togetherness and moments of an angry specter of a person from his own past.

Travelling the miles to share in that hospice care, I heard memories that had not been shared with me before woven into a fabric of dreams changed and hopes gathered as the threads of their lives merged so many years before.

I witnessed and lived my own pain through the wild currents of changes as pain and this strange unknown that melted his form affected the personality of this man she had shared her life with for longer than she had ever lived alone. We held out our hands for each fleeting moment her husband my father would be the man we both loved in our own ways. I left feeling failure at not being able to better weather those stormy winds after having been away from my parents so long.

The winds have brought another changing season and again I stand at this distance across a border the distance of her country away from her. I hold still, my branches held out to the softly falling flakes of memory circling down around me. And I send my love out dancing on the winds blowing south.


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