the dance

The only thing that my husband and I argue about is money. How much I spend, what I prioritize, how little I take the thinness of our bank account seriously. Tonight we were half-shouting across the garage and Aspen starting dancing between us, singing happy birthday (to who, I'm still not entirely sure). She took one of my hands in hers and one of his in the other and asked us to dance. "Please," she said. "Mama, daddy, dance with me."

It's funny how children do that, isn't it? They are absolutely spilling over with light. And we are often too hazy to see it, or to pay any mind. She's asleep now, after an hour of trying to dance the dust of our struggle off the garage floor. And all I want to do is lay beside her and breathe her in. I am sorry for the strangeness of the life she's been given. I am sorry for the uncertainty of things. I am grateful that she doesn't mind.

Both he & I are wildly reaching for anything, anything, anything. Tipping our chins, struggling to stay above the surface of the water we jumped into, eight months ago. Sometimes it's difficult not to tug the other beneath the waves as we try to save our own body from downing. When we first dipped toes into our small business, we nodded and made the decision to sacrifice any sense of normalcy, any steady source of income, since KC would now be working and navigating and pouring heart into the shop all day, seven days a week. It is his full time job, though it doesn't pay. We thought I would be able to pick up the slack with design and writing. We were wrong. We are reaching for another answer. We are hopeful.

There must be a word to define the feeling of almost there. Almost on the other side. Reaching, stretching tired fingertips, and you can feel just the edge of it, broad and warm and certain, whatever it is. I can almost hear the answer to all of our struggles hopping from rib to rib, but I can't slow it down enough to listen. 

I'm here, I'm here, I'm here.

I'm feeling this sense of almost with our finances, and with my own personal business, too, which isn't a surprise, as these two things have always been so tightly tangled. Sometimes I find that I'm hungry for something that I cannot name. And this is the thing that will save us. Not writing, not storytelling, not designing, not illustration. At least not alone, or as they are now. It's like I'm just on the edge of figuring out what I'm meant to do with my fire. Everyone is given a fistful of smoldering embers from the start, I think, and if they're lucky, sometime during their life they'll discover the thing that blows sweetly upon them, that turns ember to crackle to roar. 

I have only ever been half-lit. What is it that will set my soul on fire?

I've surely changed and unfolded and shed skin since becoming a mother, and now becoming a mother over again, I feel like I need to check in with my heart and dig deeper, peeling layers, reaching. Reaching.  

Almost. Almost.

everything is golden

The last two days have balanced the perfect amount of light and space and breath between autumn palms. I have felt very much like writing poetry, and like admiring forgotten things, and like drinking something spiced and sweet, and like doing nothing at all, too, in the best kind of way. Laced with contentment. The world breathes out and the leaves rain along the sidewalk and the morning sun takes its time. There is gold pouring over everything. The treetops sing in shades of red. We wake and we unfold another day and we sleep again at night, if we're lucky, and everything is going well, even when it's not.

In the evening, after Aspen has fallen asleep in the cot beside our bed, I light the last solid piece of a eucalyptus candle and fold myself into the sheets. He and I speak softly about the future - about how nice it will be to have a home of our own, sound walls and windows and doors that close. To be rooted again. To have enough to ease our worries. To watch our children grow. We toss about words and times like tomorrow, and this weekend, and next year.

But it's been hard to focus on anything but the moment. I write and I scheme and I pin pretty pictures and I write wide letters in the margins of my calendar. But my plans are often fogged over, like a whisper on morning glass. I am distracted by the present, and that's a fine problem to have, I think. There is too much that is fleeting, that is rushing, that will never be just as it is again. I hold the heat of my palm agains the cool of her cheek and wait, smiling.

 

to the bones

Today is the first of October, and I want to begin again.

All around me the world is molting, the colors melting, shaking free from old bones like leaves turning yellow and red and brown. They fall to nourish the soil, to heal the wear of the season from the husk of the tree. 

I welcome this transition. I think that we all deserve to die and cleanse and come back to life, too, the same as the tree.

There is a babe rolling lazily beneath my breast and another laying her head against my shoulder and a mother who haunts me and a husband who holds me and I don't want to write about them any longer. I don’t want to spread their life and their secrets like butter between my palms. I feel sick about the stories I’ve already shared. I didn’t ask you, I didn’t ask her, or him, and for that I am sorry. I feel the words that cannot be unpublished pressing against my lungs and knocking around my teeth each night as I try to sleep. 

They are louder than the sound
of my own breath. And I want
to silence them.
 

I am moving away from the external. I no longer want to tell loudly. I want to show - with gentle hands, with quiet truth, with honest stories. I no longer want to write about them. I want to write about the ones I don't know and cannot touch. About the hum. About the collective stories that surround us, quietly, gently, honestly. 

Without name. Without blame. 

At midnight last week, I woke consumed with a fever that felt like an urgent burning of the world from deep within my gut. It was the beginning. The first layer was flayed and as it fell to the ground before my feet I  heard it promise to nourish me. I turned gold and then orange and then crimson. Something set on fire. From the roots, to the crown. Breathing into me. Exhaling softly.

So, here I am. On the first of October. It’s cooler today than it was yesterday, and it will be cooler tomorrow still. The things that live and breathe loudly during the summertime are folding inward. And I am happy. And I am growing. And I want to grow quietly, softly, honestly, humbly.

I am inviting you back into my bones, differently this time. Uncurling my fingers. Reaching, reaching.

Welcome, sweet love. Thank you for being so kind to me.


WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT TO SEE HERE, NOW:
+ weekly fiction, first and foremost
+ flash fiction, too. under 200 words
+ a day in photos
+ food stories & other musings
+ postpartum advice & stories
+ journal entires entirely about me, not relating to my family

I am not afraid.

After I'm sure that she is sleeping, she lifts her tired head and lays it on my belly. She traces circles in the hollow where the sides of my ribcage meet. "Baby brother," she says, and she kisses the stretching skin that rests temporarily between them. "Ni-Night, baby brother." Her hair still smells like campfire smoke and dusty pine. I inhale her. I am not afraid.