Sunday, December 18, 2011
A raw early November day, my birthday. I enjoy the day as much as I've enjoyed anything in the last year. Which means I'm as fully present as possible around the grieving that's taken up residence in my body since last December. As we walked toward the restaurant on the Tacoma waterfront, where I anticipated a wonderful evening with family, the sky caught my eye. I gasped gratitude, both at the incredible beauty, and for the flare of joy the view ignited.
It was as though I hadn't seen the sky in months. And it's not that I didn't look. I love the sky in ways I love little else in my life. It's where I meet God, find answers, see birds. It's what lifts my heart and stirs my spirit. It is both constantly changing and constant. Even when I can't see it, which is often in the Pacific Northwest, I know it's there waiting for me.
Sky has been there every single day for the last year, yet it has seemed beyond reach in some way. Muted, veiled, distant.
When it spoke to me on my birthday I accepted it as one more gift of the day, and then forgot about it. Although the picture I took stayed with me, pushing itself into my consciousness at odd and random moments.
Then a couple of weeks later I was up at my regular predawn hour, doing my usual morning tasks, when a faint glow caught my eye. I looked east to see the palest infant pink behind the half-century-old douglas fir sentinels that surround our place. It's a common sight for me, one I almost take for granted. One I've seen and turned away from without praying gratitude for the last year. On this day, however, that tender light found its way through a crack of my broken heart, and something new stirred.
Since then the sky has showered me with gifts, as though to strengthen our renewed connection: A full lunar eclipse viewed alone in holy stillness. A young bald eagle flying directly overhead. My owl perched on the flagpole for the first time in months. Bright blinding sunshine filling an afternoon with gold. A whiskey-throated raven flying up the river, then back again, offering some message I can't quite grasp, but don't seem to mind missing.
On this first anniversary of her death I am able to imagine my daughter held in the arms of the sky, freed from gravity in all its forms. I long to grow wings and search for her among the stars, to bring her home. Yet I accept Sky's timing and the grace of its wisdom. I look upward to stars made brighter through my tears, and breathe gratitude.
It's been weeks since I've been around to visit my virtual friends, and I want you to know I miss you. Walt is recovering from shoulder replacement surgery. Work has been insane. Christmas is at our house this year. I'll be back to a routine after the holidays, both as a blog friend and as a blogger. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all of your lovely wishes, your prayers and your understanding. It helps more than I can say.