Every step we take
Is a dot on a map.
Connecting the dots
Leads to where we are.
The next dot just might
Point us in a new direction.
...the Notebooks. Journals. Lesson plans. Ideas. Musings. Articles. Christmas letters. Notes to and from my children. Correspondence to and from my students. Words of encouragement to parents. Dedication pages. Prose. Bits of poetry. This and that.
Embraced by my own words. My words scribbled down on shreds of paper, in the margins, on Post Its. I took each piece of my literary puzzle, reading for hours, sorting, smiling, remembering. I was a visitor in my own library. Felt the rush of discovering a new author. An author who knew me quite well. Knew my heart.
That moment was, and remains to this day, a poignant pause, meeting myself on the pages of my personal history. My hand on my pen on my paper weaving words together. I felt as though I was reading over my own shoulder. At a distance somehow. The words before me were comforting and funny and sweet and fiery. More than a curriculum vitae, rather, a movement from a point to a ray. An arrow pointing in my direction. Or, perhaps, a line, each end extending to infinity.
The next step. The garden.
Outside, papers, words, and notes crumpled in my pockets, the smell of damp earth drew me back to the smell of my father's wool coat as he stepped out of the rain, where I buried my face in his lapel and reached into his pocket for his hand.
Secure in the memory of his love, I wrote to him.
My father had one suit. His pants were shiny from being ironed everyday. One morning, he bent to kiss me goodbye, and the pants split at the knee. Our eyes met. I ached for him, but he turned his face away. My mother took needle and thread, then patched the tear. My father headed for the door, raised his eyes to mine, and winked. Everything, his eyes said to me, everything, can be mended. His step was sure. Steady. There was work to be done.
Here in the garden, with his memory lingering still, I would take my next step. I needed mending. The garden needed tending.
"Where I go to remind myself
that there is in the earth,
and in life...hope."
August 2004, the birth of garden pages.
August 2004, I found my voice in the garden.