a thousand red birds dancing
I started Halloween Day at 4:30 AM, waking irritated that my sweet baby needed to eat. How sad I am now that I felt that way. At 5:00 AM, Seth sneaks into bed, says, “please tell me we have backup coffee.” I say, “please tell me you didn’t use the last of the coffee without telling me.”
So by 5:15, I was at Walmart. Some days, it all gets on our nerves, but put a little Walmart on it, and you’ve got a full-blown toucheous situation. Some days, I wake up begging to be rewired, like I’d been plugged into the wrong outlet.
My Halloween post was up at another website, and that didn’t go over well. I felt misunderstood. Being Misunderstood and Being Forgotten are the names of two fear monsters that want me in their shadows. I have to plead myself out from under them.
A bag of candy later, I woke to a new day, and I erased the link on my blog to that post for the sake of those who don’t share my faith or sensitivities. New Days are for not mentioning it again and not looking back.
My Mama called me. We really don’t talk that much, and we really never did, though we’ve always been close. I’m the oldest, so we just have a sort of understanding about my independence and how her value lies outside of me. She knows me without all the details, but some days don’t you just need your Mama to call? And some days, no matter how secure she is, doesn’t a Mama feel so proud that she has to call and say it?
I was driving while we talked about the veil between the visible and invisible, how in dreams the ones we’re embittered toward most can be transformed into beautiful children. We talked in that private space, stringing up pearls between us.
My son sat in the back, the one recently baptized. Some moments I ask God, “Was that real?” but earlier in the day, we had cried together about special needs children, how God uses the smallest and weakest, the least, as portals of shekina light. Sometimes the world has to look away, the light is so intensely revealing. Isaac and I didn’t look away. We looked, and we saw God, and it hurt, and it healed.
I waited in line to pick the two middles up from preschool. I was on the phone and Isaac was mumbling in the backseat, all the minivans lined up in the curve of a ginormous American church building.
The sky was blaring blue, demonstrative and still, and suddenly I see Isaac lurch forward to see better. Where the crayola leaves had freshly gathered in the nook of that building, a soft breath lifted them at once, and in the air, the leaves turned into a thousand red birds dancing large or a school of fish in their hovering, darting art.
Everything became an orchestra at once.
My mother, my son, the hair in beautiful faces, what we can’t control, it was art. It was presence. We didn’t say anything but “Look!”
Along the journey, burning bushes dot the way.