Tag Archives: noticing

when time sticks together

the-base-of-the-tree

He stood closely to the base of the towering tree, him at about three and a half feet tall. His father was on the phone in the front yard for some privacy, but just called him over to see. After hurling my luggage into the trunk of their car so they could deliver me to the airport, I walked over to see what had caught the attention of both boys, now studying the bark.

All three of our faces now––nearly pressing into the tree’s trunk––were studying the creatures. At first glance, it was the same old bark towering up into the leaves as I had likely stood staring at over twenty-five years ago in that same yard. My mysterious and celebrated great, great-aunts likely then inside the house speaking poetry or reading Spanish and cooking spaghetti sauce. The one gracefully and quietly grinning as the other loudly laughed, the elastic waistline of her skirt bouncing up and down even with her navel where it rested.

Leaning in closer, the bark was a layer of cicadas woven golden-brown into a pattern mimicking wood chips. I’ve heard them for days now outside, but had not registered the source until this very moment. I flashed back to my own front yard over twenty-five years ago. Standing with my brother and another neighbor on the wooden ledges that formed the flower box squaring out the trunk of a towering oak just outside my bedroom window. We were filling a gallon-sized glass jar with cicadas that morning. I don’t know if we finished or what was done with our collection, but I remember that moment all those years ago as crisply as I remember this morning in my own front yard under the shadows of my great, great-aunts’ tree.

One white cicada stood in the middle of all the other golden brown creatures climbing around the curved sides of the tree. It stood out now boldly, or was now finally noticed to be standing out boldly.

The father is now back across the yard for his phone call, the son is now being directed by his mother back into his carseat rather than the road, and I’m now scanning through a mental list of things not to be forgotten before weeks away from home.

For a moment there, though, decades worth of time stuck together and I was reminded to look and see.

djordan
London

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burnt burger buns

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They are a large part of what made me so grateful for the evening.

It was also fun that the three-year old kept asking about the “toast” in the oven. It’s not fun when the car breaks down, when questions linger in the air about bills and responsibilities and logistics. It’s not fun when things feel like they are spinning faster and faster and if one thing goes they’ll all go most likely. And normally a day like today closing out with burning burger buns would not be fun at all. But burnt burger buns and a three-year old asking about toast while the “adults” spill out their own worries and concerns and forget to notice the toast in the oven that will soon sandwich the burger beams helpful.

The laughs oozing from simultaneous exhaustion and relief over the dinner table are also part of what made me grateful for the evening. They were present not because it’s all figured out, not because things are resolved, not because the car is fixed, the bills are paid and the plates are stacked rather than spinning. But fun instead because after a three-year old prays, his tiny, waited-for and prayed-for face now here in the room with us hovering over those burnt burger buns he tried to tell us about, there are people sitting around the table eating, laughing, worrying and living forward. And doing it together in one way or another. It makes the day worth a toast again.

The burgers were delicious, by the way.
But it was the burnt buns that will make me remember to give thanks and pause for good moments and great friends.

djordan
Pine Tree

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