Lean On Me

{Joining Amber at The Run A Muck for her concrete word prompt writing series on Monday’s. Today we are writing on the word, rock. Join me at Amber’s where a wonderful community is gathering around the abstract.}

When the air is hot, steamy humid southern summer style, trademarked by its moist heat, they hold the cold.

They bear relief.

Stone cold stares of people I have known, revealed again in the smooth strength of boulders. Unwavering. Unflinching. Heavy, solid mountain variety.

Slate grey’s and shale ash, cool their colors. Relief found in the sight of them.

And on that mountain porch, the one on the front of that house built in 1908, we tip back on green chairs. In a line like the Rockettes we rock back and forth to the rhythm of the crickets. Music from the valley calms the night. Black night air blows in cool from over the rock laden mountains, bringing relief from the heat of the day.

He tips back and forth, stares straight out with the calm cool stare, the mountain stare, all worry and anxiety gets left down in the lowlands. This place offers relief. He puts his cares on ice. Once his bags are packed and the altitude changes to something well above the sea level life we live, he chills.

Twenty-fifth anniversary looming ,the rock of all these ages of my life still bears up the burden of the four of us. We lean hard on him.

The chip off the old block, first born is gone. He learned of life from the rock at the mothership, how to anchor a life on hard work. How to avoid running aground, steering clear of the rocky coast lines.  And one day soon there will be someone leaning hard on him. And they will lean on Him.

The getting up and rolling out on four wheels in the morning to support a trio of kids, growing, going, gone. One gone and another one’s on the way out. Rolling out and on to college in a few more months. I lean in hard and bear all my weight on his strength.

Those green chairs on that porch wait for him to prop up and cool down and stare again into the valley. The flinty stares into the fog help clear the mind of the rock on which I lean. More of a boulder really on most days.

 But we stand on Him together. And when our footing gets slippery, like the sliding rock we go down with the children to the pool of moutain water waiting at the bottom, we stand again, straighter, taller leaning on Him and standing on His rock.

And now some days he rocks, or sort of sways and it looks child-like. Self-calming, a slow and steady back and forth.

The worries fall, like an avalanche, off of men and man.

We’d crumble, crack, roll down the mountain if it weren’t for this firmament, the foundation He gave and gives, in the new of every day. I can see the days of the way ahead in the now. Rocking off into the sunset of our years.

His words a lullabye to the weary. We rocked those babies endlessly at night, noon and morning. And it soothed us too. Calmed the mother and father of the babies as we fell asleep with them on our laps. Rocking away the cares of a day. While rocking a baby or two to sleep at night.

This man who put a white rock on my left hand nurtures babies like a woman. He brings home the bacon, cracks the eggs, rocks babies and cooks the bacon too.

We stumble, we fall, we roll Humpty Dumpty off the wall of this life, but unbreakable is he.

On solid rock we stand.

With the soundtrack of our life playing The Reverend Al Green, always.

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Joining Laura at The Wellspring and Jen.

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On The First Day The Tree Went Up The Memories Flooded In

We snip. We cut. We add we subtract. And we upgrade, downgrade, go outside, inside. Evolving and changing our traditions a little more, a little less, a little different every year.

But there is always a tree. And some years two.

Its as if she were the archivist for our very lives. She, an archeologist on a dig into the very soil of our living. She,the record keeper and documentarian of family and the unfurling of the days of our lives.

And she asks for so very little. Just water to keep her from dropping needles, just water to sustain her for a season.

We have picked up, boxed up and moved out of houses and homes. Like salting soup, who measures, counts, it adds taste and flavor and you just keep shaking the shaker until its right. You don’t count and I am not counting now. But it feels like a nice big number.

I remember the trees always, some how, some way, some size, there is always a tree to hold up the recording of child’s art or First Christmas married ornaments  bought to fill the tree. And in the upside down paradox of the tree’s economy, the construction paper ones are more precious than the sterling silver ornaments from stores with names which are hallmarks of fine gifts.

And in the paradox of the tree, the ones hanging by a thread and hanging with yarn are finer, much more valuable than the big glass ones which break, by twos and by two dozens it seems, every year.

As with the paradox held in her limbs, so too in life — the meek shall inherit the earth and he who is last will be first. Simple is sweetest and the primitive ones hold memories like facets in a diamond, the year, the child, the size of hand. The growing life held on the steadfast trees.

There are strange stories that she could tell, this historian of the home. The silver ornaments found in the yard saved just in the nick of time from the trash heap or recycler. And months later in the back of the car, a favorite retrieved, saved thankfully from being lost and tossed.

When I was a child, a big child, I curled up under the tree with my favorite cat. And it smelled and looked and felt like the most wonderful hiding place in all the world. She provided a magical whimsical escape from the world.

She knows and sees such intimate moments of a life. There, shining and majestic, very  large and looming this particular year, as if a foreshadowing of a life-event which changes a family forever. The phone rang, I sat and stared at her green beauty and my tears puddled, my eyes blurred, I couldn’t see through the wet joy.

A baby had been born.

And he was coming into our family. A son, adopted. Lives changed forever. And the tree was up early that year. So a bassinet and a baby boy are rolled under her long limbs, evergreen protectors like a mother’s arms, for first pictures. A baby at home on December 2. Prayers answered. And the tree sees the lives transformed.

There were late sleepless nights when she was a cool calm friend. Walking the floors in the wee hours from worry or stress or menopause, and a lit tree calmed like a hot bath. The tree and I. And a  quiet sleeping house.

Her fragrance, her evergreen beauty and regal stature whether she is grand or charliebrowntreeesque (this  word is not in the Scrabble dictionary, but it needs to be) are barometers of family life. You can read down and up and out and back, as a record book of family details and milestones.

What would we do without her.

So I would offend her,  as any mother would be, if I chose a favorite ornament. It would be almost like singling out a child from the nest as the favorite. Mom’s heart holds equal love for each one of her babies.   But you can bet that more often than not, it’s the meek, the humble, the rudimentary that take up the most space in the heart.

The ornament that is made in love, with love, pointing to love , witnessing love, and marking love, through the years, through the Christmases.

And through the trees.

What new stories will she gather up with her branches and hold fast in her evergreen arms.

What love will she witness, what new life will she bury in the quiet recesses of her archives.

Ripe with living, ripe with love.

Green and growing, families through the years.

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Joining Amber and a great group of writers at The Run A Muck for Amber’s concrete word prompts. Today it is Ornament.

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And I am joining Laura for Playdates At The Wellspring.

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