It’s Even Warm In Winter

I used to love getting lost in big cities. I would set out by foot on a free day and hop subways or buses along the way, exploring until my blood sugar was low and the sky went from blue to orange. Grabbing a cheap non-sweet iced tea and watching / wondering in Central Park; hiking King Arthur in Edinburgh to read a passage by Sir William Scott; taking 45 pictures with my 6.0 megapixels point-and-shoot, of tired boats at the end of the day in Santorini…

In contrast, when I lived in London for a (kind of lonely) year, I would sometimes take random bus rides to their last stops, cross the street, and head back home in time for a late supper, quick call to future-Husband, and then sleep. I got lost a couple times when the route was tricky, or when I didn’t pay good enough attention…and instead of embracing the rush that comes with being lost in a big city, I would let my eyes mist over and eventually ask a stranger for help. My fingers and toes were always cold that year, and my knees seemed to always be tired.

The same activity is hardly ever the same experience, and the fall from whimsical, romantic experiences can be shocking, if not seemingly cruel.

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Allergies aside, most people would say that they love the springtime: flowers! warmth! sundresses! Most people, except maybe T.S. Eliot?

April is the cruellest month, breeding / Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing / Memory and desire, stirring / Dull roots with spring rain.” (Eliot, The Wasteland)

This past April was a complicated month for us. We closed the door on a family vision towards which we had been working for 3+ years. Coming home to Texas was right, and therefore good, but it was complicated. We started again, and we started over. Like soil getting overturned with spring rain – mixed, stirred, and offered a promise to sprout again.

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Winter kept us warm, covering / Earth in forgetful snow, feeding / A little life with dried tubers.” (Eliot)

 My mother-in-law is a Master Gardener who is really skilled at coaxing beautiful growth out of tangled dirt. She recently told me that even her most dependable perennials have only ever lasted three years, and that they have never bloomed the same across their lifetimes.

In the 100 degree heat of this June week, I have loved thinking about how winter keeps those perennials in Mama L’s garden warm, even if it’s for their three years of life. The cold still covers them, and forces them to huddle under the earth as if to regroup before springtime.

Maybe it is like how our time in China was hard, but it was good because it pushed us together as a new family to create huddled memories.

Maybe all things have to end and start again, because we would hold on too tightly to it all – both the beautiful and the bad – if it just went on for forever.

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We planned an outdoor wedding to take place at the end of December. I’m not sure what made us confident enough to take on such a big gamble with Texas weather, but once we set the date, the most that we could do was hope for spring, in winter.

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Photo credit: Jordan Quinn Photography

The day ended up being 70 and sunny without a cloud in the sky. I like it even more, though, that we started our lives as husband and wife in the hope of winter. I like it even more still, that we landed back in Texas in time for our second spring.

Here’s to napping!

M

Professional Napper

My job was once to read books that I signed up to read, and then write papers about them. I made life decisions about how I was going to get a run in before my next class, and whether or not I wanted Bread & Co. or Food & Co. for dinner. Perhaps my more substantial thought life wondered about poetry & faith, the man I would one day marry, and how to be a part of generating and growing real community.

“In a minute there is time / For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse” (T.S. Eliot)

Last March, we moved to China for my job months after my husband and I got married, despite finding out that I had become pregnant with Buddy along the way. There had been years of preparation leading up to our going, and the call seemed mysterious and bigger than what we could see directly in front of us. So we went! – trying to make two start-ups, pregnancy, and settling into a foreign country work. But alas, we never found our level ground. Husband and I looked at each other one evening after 12+ months of trying to arrange and rearrange the variables of our lives in Shanghai to feel like home, and both of us knew that it was time for me to quit my job, and for us to find a context in which we might thrive. We stumbled quietly back to Austin, TX with a few bruises, but nothing substantial enough to count as serious injury.

Traversing across (and back) land and Pacific sea has happened so quickly that some days I feel like I’m just waking from a coma and am having to relearn the facts: I am married to a kind and curious man; I have a babbling Buddy who stretches his limbs at every opportunity to touch something new; I am tired. In this past season, our revised plans have only led us to further revision.

I am writing this first post during Buddy’s unpredictably-long nap, just to start writing again. T.S. Eliot is a friend to me this afternoon, as he writes about thoughtful planning being thrown out of the window at a moment’s notice. My sudden urge to write again, and subsequent five-minute set-up of this blog, comes after a two year hiatus of not having picked up a pen / typing board to consider or create. In part, Buddy’s current profession of drinking milk, playing, and napping has inspired me. While he sleeps, he grows. During his most vulnerable, still, and quiet time of the day, the Maker who made him develops him. This blog is my free-write space, where I have an unplanned and undefined time limit to roll through thoughts on poetry, mama-hood, the home, and what it means to bring life and creativity to it all.

“For I have known them all already, known them all — / Have known the evenings, mornings, afternoons, / I have measured out my life with coffee spoons;”

These little future nap time posts will grow out of the decisions and revisions that take place in normal life, and the minutes that reverse them all.

Here’s to napping–

M