February 8, 2014

You, Outside


In the weeks before you were born, the temperatures dipped colder than they had in 1400 days or nights. Wind chills barreled in at -35'. People did not move about much. But you. Warm inside me, more perfectly comfortable than perhaps you will ever be again, you shifted and rolled and trembled and swayed. I sat on a Saturday morning with my feet up and my hands pressed against the sides of my stomach, contemplating the millimeters of skin, space, and time that separated us, for now. You were coming soon, any day or night. Barefoot and short sleeved, I did not care about the cold, thought only of the way I would come to know your familiar weight in a different place, hot and milky in my arms.

Now you are a year old.

This has been the coldest winter in twenty years, let alone 1400 days: wind chills at -45', school called off en masse, the outside world a frozen pane of white and gray and blue. I am not wearing short-sleeve shirts or going barefoot. The rings on my fingers slip, hang loose, and often when I am alone, driving here or walking there, I am so thoroughly chilled that I shake. I stuff my hands into my coat pockets, and sometimes, when the wind stops for just a moment, I notice how I've pressed my palms against my stomach, like I used to.

Because you are a year old now, a full outside-world-year.

It is cold out, baby. It is bitterly, bitterly cold. And this kind of cold will certainly come again in your lifetime. But we are northern people. The wind is music. We read poetry in ice crystals. We see white, and think: peace. We walk among the frost-covered blades of last year's grass, under a sky that is all breath, and it is a kind of baptism, I think, a kind of bone-deep purification. I come in from that place of being blown clean. I walk through the front door, through miles and millimeters of space and time. And just as my body warmed you for those months, those years of you waiting to be, I am the one waiting now, reaching. And you are the one, gathering me up, pressing your warm cheek to mine.



Thank you, Elliot, for choosing me. A life changing-year, and such joy.

14 comments:

  1. As the time goes by, we experience each moment. May all be well and in the moment. Experiencing all as it comes. With love, Japanseries.com

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  2. the cold will pass. All will pass. As it passes by, may we witness it. Often I judge it. may I learn to be a witness. Sharing and caring. Dan O'Brien

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  3. Landing on Cloudy Waters. Your words are encouraging.Thank you for sharing. Metta. Dan

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    1. Thank you, Dan. I agree about being a witness to life, as well as a participant. Sometimes we can learn so much by just being still and looking out. Best to you!

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  4. Poetry, pure poetry. This has made my day. Thank you

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    1. Thanks for reading, Ian. I've so enjoyed your e-book! Such warm words on these cold days.

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  5. Emily:

    This is a superb (sepia, B & W) photograph. You are on a fascinating adventure of exploration and astonishment as you grow your beautiful family.

    I love your words: "The wind is music. We read poetry in ice crystals".

    Richard

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    1. Thanks, Richard. I always appreciate your encouragement. And yes, astonishment is about right.

      Best!

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  6. Your prose is so pure, so lovely...like a breath taken in those -35 temps and first thing when you step out the door....gulp! You're alive, you're reminded. That's how your words make me feel . And happy Year in the World to Elliot. You're making his a beautiful one.

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    1. This is a lovely comment, Erin, and it means a lot to me. I often think of this entire year as one big gulp of air, one big reminder of LIFE. So much to learn on this journey. :)

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  7. I watch with amazement your adventure in life. How gracefully you absorb the twists and turns, the anticipation of what lies around the next corner, and your awe of all that happens both to you and the world around you. And that you can deliver concise visions of all of this to your readers is merely unfathomable. You are, indeed, an excellent writer while also being a wonderful Mom and teacher. I love your zest for life Emily. I think it is people like you that makes me have faith in our future.

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    1. Thank you so much, Bill. I hope, for Elliot's sake, that the future is full of people like you, too.

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  8. That a month should have passed between the time I first read this and today only confirms what you tell us again and again, in so many ways. Time does indeed pass, and we must attend to that which surrounds us, lest it be lost.

    Your words are beautiful, but the photograph is both heart and soul of this post. Elliott himself tells us what we need in this life - directness, openness, receptivity to the strangeness and the wonder that surrounds us. Our little children do, indeed, lead us.

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    1. Oh, yes. And I wouldn't have it any other way. He looks and looks and looks. He takes it all in. And then runs into the newness with an abandon fueled by unfettered optimism. That's how I want to experience life, too. I'm lucky he's one of my many teachers.

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