Love Listens ( My GraceTable February Post)

Join me at GraceTable. I saved a seat for you at the table.

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When I was a small child, my mother made certain I called my godmother to thank her for the gifts she gave me. Aunt Francis always gave me a piece of my silver pattern, her generous gifts a bit lost on me at the time. My stomach tightened up like a rubber band ball as I picked up the phone to call her each and every July, after the birthday gift arrived. I stalled and delayed, until Mother prompted me one final time to make that call.

Aunt Francis had a severe speech impediment. It manifested itself with long periods of silence between words. (Join me at GraceTable for the rest of my post.)

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What Will You Always Remember

What Will You Always Remember

There are no mahogany framed sepia photographs
Laced in chipped gold gilt, hanging by a thread of rust
Lining a narrow hallway by the newel post worn down
By palm and fist

No black and white, grey and tan or faded Kodak prints
With the look of Nashville filters on Instagram
We are not shown together much

Paired, twinning, con-joined or wrapped arm in arm
Serpentine limbs like Cherry Willow tree’s
Threaded through each other
In an overtly visible way

Not after those early years when
Nascent you
Held
Nascent me

But I will always remember
Tracing your blue-green bulging veins, pumping  crimson blood to the beat of  Onward Christian Soldier
(Or was it some other one penned by Wesley for the choir)
Running like rivulets down your pale underarm
The color of the underbelly of a flounder
Yours was smooth as the red velvet church pew in that
Methodist church
Where I did the tracing
You may have smelled of Jergens
And I may have smelled of intrigue

I closed my pre-mascara-heavy eyes
While your fingers played the piano up my arm
When your dangling digits like participles
Reached the bend
I was to tell you

Whisper that you were in the valley of the arm
While the preacher preached
And I wriggled in my seat

You may not recall at all
Perhaps you only remember the smell of Methodism
And the lingering scent of my wanting to know you more

 

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Have I Told You Lately…that I love this book

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You can love someone without ever touching their skin, seeing the whites of their eyes (as my grandmother would say), or sharing tea, coffee or wine in the corner of your favorite cafe. And you can grow to respect and care deeply for someone whom you have never had the pleasure of “meeting in the flesh.”

You can long after a place you’ve never been or seen. Dream of a one day or a right now. Long for a place called home that you know in your soul can exist, does exist and more importantly will be embraced. In time. At the “just right time”. And dream that love and life will thrive and grow. When tended and nourished through every season of a year. This is the power of hope.

Christie and I have never met. At least not yet. And yet I call her friend. We share a love of words and of old homes, good food, chickens, gardens and of family. We both have the honor of contributing as monthly writers at GraceTable.Org. A community that fosters the friendships of its writers.

Here are the words I used  in my Amazon review to describe “Roots and Sky”, her soulful book just published by Revell Books:

From the earliest places of this book, through the thoughtful middle and up until the final page, there exists a beautiful and poetic enveloping. Writer of reader. Loosely held was I, within every page and every line. A masterful and authentic storyteller, Purifoy covers us with her rich lyrical prose. With artful subtlety and nuance, she is at once gifted as a story-teller and as a contemplative writer. Purifoy achieves a gathering up of the reader to herself with this memoir. We are held tenderly as we listen. And somehow we discover our own stories as she tells her own. Purifoy’s writing bares her individual journey and yet touches on universal themes that draw us in. The rhythms of life, love and of seeking God in every crack and crevice of Maplehurst are unveiled with a richness that rings authentic and poetically throughout.

Upon my completion of “Roots and Sky,” I was hungry to go back and read through again. Pen in hand. Ready again for the exquisite voice of Purifoy. (And I wanted to go dig in the dirt of my own old Victorian home. To explore and grow. Uncover and plant.) Purifoy’s passions of place and for home and family are contagious, indeed. And now I eagerly await her second book.

 

Since this review, I have spent additional time within the pages of “Roots and Sky.” I’ve revisited some of my favorite lines. Flipped around and stumbled on new gems from Christie. I have read lines aloud on Instagram (@graceappears). And now I am sharing here. Sharing the goodness of “Roots and Sky” because I believe this is a book that seeps into the soul. Lyrically and honestly.

And, truly, what more can we ask from a book than to be authentic, honest, lovely and real.

One day I know I will have tea with Christie. But if this certainty of mine never comes to pass, I know her well through her writing. And what more can we ask from a writer but to reveal the honest places of her life, her very soul. Her triumphs, her tragedies and her dreams. This is the beauty of “Roots and Sky.”

While following Christie through four seasons at her beloved Maplehurst, we are invited to dream and hope, always hope, as we discover the beauty of simplicity and the joy of finding our place in the world.

This weekend I will be giving a couple of copies away over at my other writing home “A Quiet Place For Words.” Once weekly-ish I mail a little letter to subscribers. Join me there?

I hope you win. I wish I had a box the size of all outdoors to give to all my people. I love this book that much.

peace and grace,

e

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Living Out The Prequel

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Living Out The Prequel

If I am a story
Or a story is me
And we are turning pages
There is this unfolding
My breath is held and
I may forget to breathe

But living does not rest on whether
I remember
Or I forget

It is the mystery of baited breath
God grants me this until the end
And did God feel this way
On the days, one and two
Knowing what he knew of all that lay ahead
Knowing all he knew
About the peonies in shades of flesh and rose and the oyster with its hidden pearl
The sound of rain and rainy drops
Slowly tickling the backs
Of a parched and desert dry cracked earth

Do I know I know not what is to come

But breathing deep and breathing fast
Swallowed up by the fog of a heaviness
Expectant in the coming next
I know as any mother knows
To hold the baby to her breast and sit back
Long and languid, rest in waiting
Love

I know as the salt marsh tide knows
When to ebb and
When to flow
And in its knower
Knows that it will never stop

I know that I am walking
Through the days of prequel joy
Pregnant in expectancy
Of splitting hairs of heavy wait
Of counting stars and counting dreams
Of wondering how much joy a soul can hold

All the while entangled
In a mystery of how will it all end
And when
In the days left in the waning
Of the remaining

Until healing comes to all

Again

And the prequel gives way
To what He has in store

So I will turn the page
Savoring every word
That was
And will to come

Be still
And hear

the prequel

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