My daughter refuses to allow my sorrows to overwhelm me. I have a distinct memory of us sitting in a bath, my tears flowing and her smiling with her little hand outstretched wiping them away. “It feels better when you cry about it right mommy? The bath is so nice when you feel sad.” Her matter of fact reassurance deftly changed my tears of sorrow to those of joy. Such is the genius of children, and that natural joy is so incredibly beautiful, however fleeting. As we all know growth brings responsibility and forgets the reckless happiness of youth. If only we could figure out a way to hold on to that knowledge of the necessity of joy. That without JOY life is essentially meaningless. It’s not about figuring out HOW to be happy. It’s about choosing happiness itself. Laughing at the sound of a fart despite the smell. We must stop editing ourselves, stop deciding what is and is not joy. When the shower goes suddenly cold and one jumps out, relishing the exhilaration. Feeling soothed by the sound of grandpa sitting down in his chair at the same time each day. The beauty of a flock of birds lifting from a tree suddenly and then soaring across the sky in a delicate arrow.
I love the sound of the neighborhood rooster. He crows periodically reminding all of us on this street that he is here, that he is fiercely alive. I think to myself we should all live our lives with such vigor. My daughter is a vigorous creature. She bounds through her life excited for whatever comes her way. At times I am forced to reign her in like a wild horse just to protect her. I have to remind myself to give her time to run free as she was created to do. Then I realize I too was once a wild thing and she is still a part of me that I don’t let breathe enough. So I throw off the chains of my own perceived failings and losses and run free alongside her. Together we are beautiful, ourselves and immersed in a nameless necessary JOY.
There were birds in my mouth that day.
Little birds with tiny beating wings threatening the walls of my mouth yet I felt only a flutter…
They were my prisoners.
My little birds of many colors blind in my mouth, their beaks opening and closing desperate for air.
Purple birds with red wings,
Green and gold birds
Flying up from my chest through my throat and diving back down again finding no way out.
My refusal to open my mouth so you could see them fly…
My birds were my words. And the pattern they would one day make across the sky the lucid and tranquil poetry of my heart. No longer broken.