Between Here and Always

Monday Morning Musings:

The Oracle gave me this poem over the weekend.

 

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Between here and always

is light–

vivid soul-blossoms living wild,

secret garden from dark night,

world was and is

 

In February, this month of birthdays,

time moves backward and forward,

fluid

here and always

what was, what is, and what will be

 

even the weather seems confused,

time and season changing from day to day

light and dark

warm and cold

flowers bloom,

secret gardens amidst leaves

covered as snow falls

 

here

always

 

We celebrate my husband’s birthday with Pakistani food,

the owner remembers him and my son-in-law

they picked up food there on the day my daughter and son-in-law

moved into their house,

yes, they looked tired that day, the man says,

(he is pleased we’ve returned)

the food is delicious,

we eat flaky samosas with yogurt sauce and green chili sauce

then our various entries—slow cooked beef, lamb, chicken,

and vegetarian dishes of eggplant and moong dal with palek,

the chef comes out to meet us,

we tell them we’ll come back

here

 

We have wine and cheesecake afterward at my daughter’s house,

 

 

the house crackles and creaks a bit as the heat of the gas fire warms the room,

ghost sounds,

my daughter-in-law mentions a John McCain poster figure

her father used to hide it around their house to startle people,

I recall the mannequin my sister and a roommate had in their apartment

they used to dress her for different events,

one daughter says she saw a woman on the T carrying the arm of a mannequin–

silence,

there must be a story,

then, other daughter asks, “are you sure it was a mannequin’s arm?”

 

here and always,

food, love, and stories.

 

Later, I pull out tablecloths

they’ve been buried at the bottom of a cedar chest

almost two decades now,

once a special part of our daughters’ birthday parties

years of drawings and comments,

words written by children

now grown

scribbled messages,

ghosts of the past,

each daughter takes a tablecloth

Happy Birthday, I say.

They are always in my heart.

 

 

I make a photo/memory album for my mother-in-law

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I have an assistant.

 

born in 1937,

the middle of the Great Depression,

1937,

Amelia Earhart disappeared, Japan invaded China, the Nanking massacre took place, the Hindenburg exploded,  the Golden Gate Bridge opened,

Walt Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarves premiered, and Of Mice and Men was published–

my husband says, yes but the most important thing is that my mother was born

and of course, to her, to him, and to me, it is

without that,

he would not be here

and our children would not be

perhaps there is another timeline,

perhaps there is another always,

ghosts that flicker

just out of sight

another story

but not here

 

We celebrate her 80th birthday

at our house

 

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a friend of hers stops by,

an eightieth birthday party surprise

(“I won’t stay long,” the friend says,

“I’ve just had a heart attack,”

a story I could not make up)

daughters and I have made enough food

to feed twice as many people,

 

 

enough for more surprise people,

or any strangers who might wander in,

we eat and talk

and memories flow–

what was, what is–

my mother-in-law’s wish–

to see my nephew, her grandson, grow up

What will he be?

(What will be?)

At some point, we will look back

at this moment

in snapshots

time frozen

what is now will be then

this warm sunny day,

filled with light,

here and always

our souls blossom

with love

here

always

 

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Banana Chocolate Chip Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

 

If you are in the Sicklerville, NJ area, I highly recommend Mera Khana restaurant. It’s a small, unassuming restaurant in a strip mall–but such delicious food and wonderful people.

 

Simple Pleasures: Sun and Clouds

Monday Morning Musings

“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”

–Albert Einstein

“Never put off till tomorrow what may be done day after tomorrow just as well.”
― Mark Twain

Today is stormy; yesterday was bright and sunny. Such is life.

I had intended to write about another topic today, but sometimes I need to remind myself how fortunate I am. Sometimes I feel like I should pause. Freeze. Stop. Bookmark this day on a site in my brain. It’s just an ordinary day of simple pleasures, and one of many, but one I would like to take out of a memory box to reexamine someday.

My husband and I took a walk yesterday morning. We went to the park in our town. I left my phone at home. We were living in the moment. We walked on a path and gazed out at the Delaware River. Yup, Philadelphia is still there. The sun was shining, the river lapped the shore, and a steady breeze kept the heat down. It was beautiful. A grandfather taught his young grandchildren how to fish from the stony beach. Mothers wheeled their babies in carriages. A little girl carried a bunch of colorful balloons. A church group held a service in a pavilion. My husband and I walked and talked. He watched while I did an occasional sprint and ran up the stairs to the battlefield site and did tricep dips on a park bench. We saw a friend who was getting her exercise in, and we stopped to chat for a few minutes. I told my husband we must do this again because we are lucky to have such a place nearby. I am fortunate because my husband agreed to stop what he was doing to walk with me in the park. He is a good man.

After the park, we both worked and did household chores. My husband took a nap. Our daughter and her fiancé stopped by late in the afternoon to tell us about a house they thought they were going to rent. We drank coffee, and my daughter ate a piece of the banana chocolate chip cake I had made the day before. (“See, this is why I won’t fit into my wedding gown,” she said laughingly to her boyfriend. She does not have to worry. She has youth on her side.) We laughed at the antics of one of the cats who positioned himself on the table.

After they left, my husband and I ate homemade pizza for dinner. I had some wine. We watched Orphan Black. I did not do all the work I intended to do. But there’s today, right?

The day got cloudy. My daughter texted me to say the landlord had changed his mind and would not allow pets. So now they must find a new place to rent, and quickly. I feel for them. In fact, I was nearly as upset as my daughter was. I’m hoping they will be able to find someplace that is better. It is difficult to find a rental house that permits pets.

We had thunderstorms during the night.

Yesterday was an ordinary day. It was bright and sunny; it got grey and stormy. But somehow it was special.