This day another of my beloveds arrived with his family. There is no better looking than into the eyes of someone you love more than you love yourself, more than life herself; someone you would give your own life for without a second thought, without hesitation. The voice I hear on the phone is familiar, yes, its timbre, tone and inflection, but seeing is believing, because a voice can hide the truth. Eyes cannot. I check. He is feeling fine and so is she. Both are working through any pain together and that happies me. I can feel my gut quieting, my heart turning over in bed for a catchup snooze. I may not know what either deal with, but I can feel a confidence in their collective strength.
Now for play. And we do. There are about 50 cousins and two siblings with wives up the track all bursting with excitement at the thought of this connection for just 24 hours. They will make the most of it, for sure. I know my feral family. Every second is precious and play is ‘it’ and always has been. And I am able to join in or to observe, whatever I choose. They know me. They know my heart. They know that I only ever want them to be happy inside each and every moment and when unhappiness hits, I have mama arms and a silent voice because they are more than adult now, more than able to sort their own stuff out. They will have their tidal flow, their own seasons, their own cold, their own warm. When they all left the nest it took me about 15 years to remember this, to let go. I am mama. I am the one who soothed, warmed, held and encouraged after all. But now my needness is a different thing altogether. It is there, always there, but I am not the one to turn it on. My role is to keep my frocks on, my boots at the door, my torch charged, my heart full of fire and my sense of fun at the ready.
It is all in the looking. All in what I choose to see and how I value what I see in the moment. Walking today whilst they all cavorted with little ones, I moved into the trees. Hallo my friends. How much you teach me, even bare and sung out, even with cold bark and mossed up roots. You are in your winter dress, much like me and you are beautiful in such apparent scarcity. But you don’t feel scarce at all, no, for I can see how you still honour yourselves, bowing to the seasonal flow yet standing tall and strong. I crane my neck to see how high you grow, how the symbiosis of the wood works. Pines tallest, Larch next, Beech, the mother tree, ah, the mother tree. I see you hazels growing in impossible places, your roots like an afro hair style over than ancient rock and on down for water and strength. I see the Birches, a guddle of them, holding together and doing the purple winter thing. Are you all watching me as I watch you? I ask this out loud and I see them smile back. I am glad I have learned Winter eyes. Longing for Spring means we miss out on months of beauty, even in faces, rosy cheeks, cold lines beneath colourful hats, smiles that might crack lips, all beautiful, all Winter. There is loss, there is pain, there is death but there is also life. One day, I hope, we humans will learn to accept endings along with beginnings, cold along with warmth, death along with life for it is the very best way to live out our time on this goodly earth. Accepting that our roles change, accepting that transition, however painful, is essential for growth and will be our freedom.
Like the woods, we will be able to accept the seasons without this crazy need for life to be warmly perfect. Life is sharp. Life is tough. But we are born to both. And we are strong, sharp, tough and together, are we not?