Mine Alone

This piece is from a prompt by Poet Jen Harris:
“Happiness is something one can’t explain. You must take my word for it.” – Willa Cather, The Professor’s House
Describe your happiness, and yours alone.

Bare feet press against the ground, one step after another experiencing all the textures of this little plot of earth that I call home. From our spiky front door mat to the bald patches of sandy brown soil where holes were dug in childhood exploration, to what has survived to be cool blades of grass, until the tender part of my foot finds a stray piece of mulch where no doubt a toddler relocated it in chaotic play.

The warm concrete of our driveway separates me from my people, who I am always wanting to move toward. The sun kisses my naked shoulders and when I close my eyes, I can feel her warmth on my lids, too. Sparrows, jays, and cardinals sing their melodies. I could close my eyes and memorize this moment.

Squirrels skitter across tree limbs above my head and my children laugh from other patches of earth around me. Someone suggests a dance party and a deejay is designated, as tunes from my childhood become tunes of theirs. Love of mine wraps his arms around me and we breathe deeply together. I have only been standing, watching, loving them, for a moment… before this, I rested in a swinging hammock imagining worlds in cloud shapes beyond the branches above me with my most treasured belongings within reach: novel, textbook, perfect pens, and weathered journal. It is understood by my people that I am on call for my inner voice – words will come soon and ask me to labor with them to find a place earth side. And with grace, and space, those people who love me will play and smile at me while I press pen to her natural home on page and write what should not be forgotten. 

3 thoughts on “Mine Alone”

  1. Very resonant! I can feel myself there as I read your words; well-chosen, carefully and lovingly strung together like pearls, opals, and coral on braided angel hair.

    One question: “I could close my eyes and memorize this moment.” Why “could?” Not a criticism … just as the reader, I wonder what stopped you just a breath away from “I close my eyes and memorize this moment.” It’s an interesting and curious hesitation … was it deliberate or did your muse put it there?

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    1. Thanks for those kind words, Dad! Great question, I hadn’t thought about it since I typically write so intuitively. Upon reflection, I find that I didn’t want to close my eyes and miss a beat of what was happening in front of me in my mind’s eye. Shadows and echoes of moments I have memorized, ones that might be more cemented if I had taken a moment to close my eyes and memorize them.

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      1. For me, writing creatively is a dance with mystery. The rhythm is set by the heart, the musical score done by the intuitive mind, and finally, the lyrics by stream of consciousness. If we “know what we mean” when we write creatively, we’re strangling the muse and dancing out of step with the song. That’s how it feels to me, anyway.

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