Homebound: From Mersea To Maplehurst With Love, March 9

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Christie and I are homebound. I, a writer of poetry and prose, am bound to Mersea, a simple white Victorian, nestled in the historic district of a southern shrimping village. She is bound to Maplehurst, a red-brick farmhouse build by Pennsylvania Quakers in 1880. We are both writers, wives, and mothers, but nearly twenty years and hundreds of miles lie between us.

This season, as winter turns toward spring and Lent leans toward Easter, Christie and I are writing letters, she beneath the hemlocks and maples and I beneath the pines and pecans. We reflect together on our homebound journeys. We will explore the bonds of love and faithfulness that tie us, and not always easily, to these particular places and to the people sheltered within them.

Please join us for an epistolary exploration of love, loss and restoration.

Welcome to my third letter in the series. To read Christie’s previous letters and more of her beautiful words go to her web site, found here. To read all the letters in the Homebound Collection, visit the tab at the top of my home page, entitled The Homebound Letters.

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March 9, 2017

(From home after being away)

Dear Christie:

The brown leather sofa in the parlor is holding me with a familiar leather scented embrace. A cool night has left the house chilled, but I am warmed by both blanket and puppy. What an apt name my husband has given our sweet English Cocker whose name is Sweet. She chooses to stay by my side as I write, apparently my absence was noticed as she leans in especially close this sunny morning. Perhaps she missed me, as I missed all things familiar, all things home.

Christie, as you know I accompanied my friend to Boston for a trip to Mass General Hospital. We left on a Tuesday, returned on a Wednesday and I am back to my beloved writing on a Thursday. I am viewing home now with the lens of leaving. Leaving and returning bring many gifts, one is a newly framed perspective. I like the frame. It focuses me, like the European silver with a bit of patina that I chose to frame my son’s portrait here at Mersea.

Perhaps leaving reawakens all the senses and plants tiny seeds from the experiences within us. What seeds have I brought back which I will need to tend to and water? How will I grow because of where I have gone?

I imagine we are all being renewed daily. During this Lenten season perhaps I am more keenly aware of renewal. It feels more present and sacred this year. I long for it more deeply, and am even slowly chasing after it. Somehow I feel we are beginning to meet, change and I. She is gentle. And she is patient and willing to wait for me even as I must wait on the minute radish seeds in our garden to grow into edible radishes. I must wait for the natural process of seeds transforming into bulbous red radishes.

But it is worth the wait. For I will slice the radish thinly, place it on a thick slice of grain toast with avocado, arugula and fried egg like the one I sampled in Boston. And it will be good. A simple good that comes along as gift. Why is it that I want to slice the radish thinly so that it becomes translucent, nearly transparent? Are we called too to be transparent like the cut radish?

When I was in Boston, I tried to make it my temporary home. To be rooted there for but a blink. Graciously Boston gave good gifts. The signs along Charles Street provided a curated display of simple art. Each one, uniquely designed and hung with care outside of the shops spoke to pride of place. I walked at a snail’s pace along the bumpy and worn brick sidewalk, looking up and studying the design of each shop keeper’s home.

Rich conversation was a by product of this long journey for a bittersweet visit. The seventh floor of Mass General held both sorrow and joy. During one of our talks, my wise friend reminded me that joy and sorrow can and do coexist. We can celebrate the miracle, slivers and slices and servings of joy even while grief, sorrow and sadness are present. What mystery there is in celebrating what they each bring.

Flying looks like a metaphor for our lives. The experience felt new as I hadn’t flown in a long forever. I have lost my wanderlust. Maybe I have found other things to replace it and it is not therefore a true loss. My desire to go faraway anymore has been mostly snuffed out.

But this was an invitation to go. I wonder about all I would have missed if I had said no. What a place of honor to travel as a companion and co-traveler with my beloved friend on her journey. I call her teacher too. We have much to learn from each other about loss, love and restoration. Christie, oh how I am enjoying your letters! And you too are teaching me about important things.

On this micro-journey, as in life, we experienced delay, turbulence and frustration. But there was joy too in seeing the unparalleled aesthetic beauty of the clouds. Their shape, color and mysterious movements, viewed from a plane window are spectacular. Childlike wonder sat with me. I thought I knew how to press into looking up at the clouds from my earthbound, rooted place. But glimpsing the cotton white masses moving against an azure blue backdrop at eye level reminded me there are new ways to see everything.

And there was joy in being, just being with a friend and meeting kind souls along the way, such as the world’s coolest Uber driver. The news was good in Boston and so we are full of rejoicing. Is this a preview of what is to come at Easter-time?  We are moving in that direction, the place of newness. I hope I am ready and that I am changed.

Today I will go to the tiny post office here in the village to mail some thank you notes. I wish I could box up and mail you a package of springtime. It would contain color and hope, buds and seeds, pieces of me and Mersea. My hope for you is that it will not delay, this true and fully fledged spring.

In time we will both celebrate its arrival. Spring will come for all of us. Newness and change are the sweetest of gifts. I hope I unfurl my clutched fists to receive it all. And to allow the gift of change in me.

Peace and grace to you,

Elizabeth
Mersea

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In Which The Moon Talks Back

In Which The Moon Talks Back

So much happens by the moon’s bright light
Radiant beams
Poured holy rays on stables where Christ was born
One dark and sacred night

Entranced, we the people of the Light
Bound by grace
Poured out on moonglow
From heaven down to Earth
Thrown-out
Cast like nets, its light remarkable
When seen upon the sea

And we
Gaze skyward
Spend countless
Hours, living breathing
World without end, amen
A people
Held agasp
Struck by evening’s light
Moonstruck by a blinding power and might

Love has been made
Lovers have swayed
Drunk on the liquid earth-bound light
That drips from way on high

Dreams are dreamt, then
Swept away, by
Every phase
Of our neighbor in the sky
We count our days, wish and
Plan, mark the calendar by the wax and wane
Look out the window panes
To see a world, lit as by an ember’s glow
Mourning and in pain

The tides
A pattern that rules the sea
Rolls at the spoken word
Of that man
Up in the moon, it seems
They
Come and go when they are told

Is it not his turn?

Synchronized by the one
Whose chiseled face
Stares back at us
He’s always been a man
Faintly smiling
Like a profile on Mount Rushmore, carved
A face held hard and fast
His eyes mirroring the stars
Steady, rock of ages suspended
In a galaxy God-created

But why have we not asked him
Does he not have something wise to say
Subject of story, songs and tales
Mentioned early on
In Genesis, I’m just curious

What would he say
If he could speak, write
A story of all he’s seen
Would he whisper
A cautionary tale, did he
To our men who took Apollo there
By the light of his own
Making
Would he dare say what he has seen
Or she
Or it, the one who lit
The world so bright, continues to light us
Night after night
I suppose it is time
For the one-sided conversation of moon and man
To end

Let’s give him a turn

Dare we listen,
For once, hush so he can speak
To what his broken heart has heard
And seen

Could we stand to learn
From one who has seen a million
Sunsets
Preceding his own glowing rising

Does he dare to tell his side
Or is he simply content to spend
His nights
Counting bovine jumping over stars
On their way
Leapfrogging
Child’s play really
All this talk of one who cannot talk

Or even speak to what he sees
Or is it she
Would tear a soul right in two
With words
The beauty and the beast
Of life right here
On planet Earth

Dreams are held
And he won’t tell
The prayers deposited in secret
Under his bright light

The celestial secret keeper
Holds them tight
And let’s us talk of
Wild imagined things
And dream of childish delight

All under a holy holy holy
Radiant
Moon-beamed light

Quiet yourself for a night, or two
And listen, if you dare
To what hush-toned radiant moonspeak
He’ll whisper in the pitch of night
When the moon talks back to you

Blue Moon HMM

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Joining Laura at Laura Boggess dot com

Holes

wpid-IMG_20130814_180820.jpgOne day
We will look back on all of this
Holy mackerel
Every dog
Has his
One at a time
Daily grind
Deep breathes
In and out
One day soon, in glory
We’ll sing and shout
Without
Worry or fear
We’ll live
Around the corner
Holds a new beginning
Healing souls
Holes in the walls of my heart
Had you known then
What you did not
Know, now
How could you have
Hindsight
It’s easy for you to say
Sheltered by ignorance
Blissfully guarded
Armchair quarterbacking
You could have would have
Bought and sold stock in
Kleenex
What’s next, you
Cried you a river
Stayed way ahead of the pain curve
And in the end you
Start all over again
Mercifully
Saved by grace
Laugh lines
Replacing
Worry lines
And a  softer shade
Of grays
Holes in the knees of my jeans.

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