I cannot remember it's start this time, but life is good for me. Times were good, and they were hard . . . I don't remember bad. There's a balance in its memory--playtime joy, fantasy adventure, even heartfelt hurt. I now treasure the hard times, for looking back, they're good.
I do recall at three, or four, or five years old, for sure. We walked the field, my sister and I, in sun, and flowers, and wind on wheat. We followed thistle and grasses wove in the fence--the rust-wire fence that led us post-by-post to the pasture furthest south and east from the house. In these two acres with the three oak trees, and bramble near the corner post outside the gate, the hours slipped by as we were blessed with bachelor button and dandelion--over the hill, down from the barn, by the creek.
We didn't hear Mom calling, or know her frantic search--or know why she shed tears upon our gift bouquets.
Nor did I understand my sobs, when later Mom would read the poem she wrote of this account: Lonely Hours. She read it many times to family and friends, and uncles and aunts. And never in that time, and to the age of reason, did I hear the poem without my heart being wrung and wrenched of tears. I'd often leave the room before its final lines. Or Mom would forewarn the reading, so I could retreat outside. But still within my heart, what was the pain I felt? Even in silence the oft repeated rhyme cried loudly for relief.
This morning I glanced at the portraits of my daughters on the wall. I paused and understood, as tears formed in my eyes. There is no shame in crying--for a mother's love. And no misunderstanding can hide a boy's heart from his mother, or his daughters' from their dad.
I wrote that piece after our daughters had left home already. At times someone would ask, Do you miss them? My answer is always: No. I love them. Same with my mother. I don't miss what lives in my heart.
Our girls are now about the age my mom was when she wrote of the above incident. Here is her poem:
Lonely HoursI have to say, I think mom's rendition is the better one. Another one of her poems can be read in my eulogy for her in August of 2006.
My feet ache, still my heart is glad.
The small ones left; it made me sad.
I scolded them a while before
And all because they slammed the door.
It woke the baby and made him cry
And, oh, for peace so much longed I.
They asked me, then, what should they do?
I paid no heed. Before I knew
A silence rare fell all around --
Those little ones could not be found.
Perhaps they thought of what to do,
But where were they? If I just knew.
Oh, please, God, help and keep them safe
And I'll be good and never chafe
At little things they often do
And noise they make the whole day through.
I called and called -- no answer came.
I ran and ran 'til I was lame.
Down to the creek -- they were not there.
Where could they be, that tiny pair?
I called some more; the plane o'er head
Drowned out my voice. Oh, were they dead?
Up through the lane, top of the hill --
No children there, it was so still.
Hastening on farther away
Next through the field I made my way.
I called and called and called again --
Only the rustling of growing grain
Blown by the wind was all I heard.
Where was Mary? Where was Gerard?
I fear and hope I sped along,
Shies were clouding, the way was long.
Shading my eyes the better to see
Two objects small beneath a tree.
And there they were quite unconcerned,
Those two dear ones for whom I yearned,
Their tiny hands clenched with flowers
Gathered by them these lonely hours.
Thank God they're safe and I must weep.
Oh, happy heart, but aching feet! . . .