Late August in the garden.
The end of a long hot summer. Watering thirsty plants with their withered leaves and wilted stems. Trees dropping leaves, little golden flutters landing at my feet. It is as if everything around me is pausing to take a breath. A moment to reflect. To sit in my adirondack chair, put my feet up and hear the school bus on the corner, picking up precious cargo carrying new backpacks and unopened boxes of crayons.
One season ends and a new season peeks around the corner.
Still. Here in my yard, it is still.
The long Labor Day weekend looms large. Summer lingers in wisps of skittish clouds scattered across the sky. But nightfall has begun to creep in sooner with each day, and I know that there is work yet to be done. There is a touch of sadness in the air, of spent blossoms and the lock on the neighborhood pool clanking shut.
Another season comes to a close.
For each of us, a seasonal change serves as a reminder that some of our dreams may never come true. That some dreams will forever be out of reach, truly impossible to achieve and piling up like little golden wishes around our feet.
Throughout my life, from a very early age, I had a dream, a wish, a hope, to stand on a stage in a large theater in front of an even larger audience and to sing my heart out. To have the kind of voice that catches people off guard, silences the whispers and calms shuffling feet. I wanted to garner complete and utter attention.
I wanted to sing from a place inside me where the music rose gradually, filling me completely, until there was nothing I could do except to sing purely to the final note. I rehearsed in my head. I practiced in those tender moments between eyes closed and sleep.
My repertoire, one of three songs.
The Impossible Dream
You'll Never Walk Alone
If I Loved You...from the movie Carousel
On this particular day in August, just shy of Labor Day, I sit here, feet up, sun on my face, and know in my heart that this dream, this lovely little dream to take the stage as a solo artist, will never be mine.
But as I think on it,
my own personal history rises up to find fault with my assumptions.
I have sung.
On many stages, and throughout the many stages of my life.
With my high school choir and hundreds of other choirs at Soldier's Field in Chicago on a brilliant sky blue morning.
Thousands of voices lifted up together as one.
With my newly wed husband, early days, he on the guitar and I cross legged on the floor,
harmonizing to songs from the Beatles White Album, Pure Prairie League and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young.
With my two little boys, tucked in twin beds, singing lullabies.
With my students, sotto voce,
hands singing in the air in American Sign Language.
With my son's second grade class, singing and signing "Somewhere Over the Rainbow", for the back-to-school Talent Show.
With my family and friends, on Christmas Eve, accompanied by guitars, oboes and pizzacato violins.
And best of all, in my car,
with the radio on,
and my windows rolled up.
I am there.
On the stage.
And if this is as good as it gets, it just might be enough.
You can be.
That voice in the wilderness.
No dream is impossible.
Just pull someone close.
If you sing your babies to sleep,
in the future,
they will send you those songs via email
when they are too mad to talk to you,
too proud to apologize,
or best of all,