Monday, June 22, 2015

a lightness of being ...

Somehow, I ended up booking three trips to three coasts in one month's time. Hence, the travelog nature of these postcards from the edge. While Cowgirl and I jet around, the Husband has been tending the home fires - or rather, the garden and Moose boy - for which I am ever-so-grateful as leaving home is bittersweet for me. I love travel but ... I love the rhythms of homey summer days. Early mornings watering the thirsty plants in my garden boxes, my pots of herbs and flowers needing pruning and deadheading; and then there is the dog who is even more a creature of habit than I am and that is pretty immense.

So recent travels took the girl and I back East to Cape Cod to bring my mother's ashes to be buried with my father's. Things started off comically: do I pack or carry mom on the plane? I packed her and then warned the Delta agent "Don't you lose my mother!" He wasn't quite sure how to respond to me. 


Cape Cod is a place that holds many memories for me. My parents bought a home there when I was in college and it became the summer retreat. Later, when living in Boston, the not-yet-Husband and I would travel out there every weekend to get away from city living and our tiny, one bedroom closet of an apartment. Twenty seven years ago we were married on Cape Cod and when Cowgirl joined our family, it was to the Cape that we took her for the first five years as a family. 

It has been three years since I was last on the Cape and while I have missed it, I hadn't realize just how much it is part of who I am and what I love: the gentle wildness of the landscape; the wide and long beaches; the rough and unruly Atlantic ocean and the icy cold water that shocks and invigorates me; and the wildlife that is visible if you know to slow down, be quiet and pay attention. Seals, otters, turtles, egrets, herons, hawks, fox, coyote, and many vocal and riotous birds.

Traveling to the Cape, I was returning to my heart's home. I love the openness of the prairie but my soul aches for the ocean. And not just any ocean, but the crashing tumble of waves that is the Atlantic. The pulse and rhythm of the earth is most present for me when I stand ankle deep in the frigid waters of Nauset beach, stones and shells tossed unmercifully against my feet and shins, skin turning fish belly white from the cold. The rawness of life apparent in this place of sea, sky and sand.

While I was surprised by these feelings of homecoming, I was even more unprepared for the sensation of weightlessness, an unbearable lightness of being and deep and tender vein of grieving that opened up with what I now understand as the completion of a journey.  This trip back to the Cape was the bookend to the trip made between snowstorms 5 1/2 years ago when I brought my mother West to live near us. Now I was taking her home and, after a lifetime of so many travels and adventures, this was the last trip we would make together. 

Having fulfilled so many daughterly duties over the past few years, the weight of responsibility has been lifted off of me and while yes, there is a sense of relieve and ease, there is also an unfamiliar and disconcerting emptiness or lightness. The space that was held by my mother is now gone. I stand again on a stark edge: there is my life that was - as a daughter, caregiver, friend - and the life that slowly pools around me, the tide turning from emptying of grief towards the filling of what I cannot yet know or name.


  1. "and the life that slowly pools around me, the tide turning from emptying of grief towards the filling of what I cannot yet know or name." so glad the tide is turning my friend. I love you so. xoxo

  2. The places of the heart fill us to the brim and allow us to be free. Sending you hugs and love. xoxo

  3. that last paragraph is pure heart poetry beautiful your words, your truth, your beautiful painful grief
    I bare sacred witness to this new story of your life....this new season...
    in the time we had at ReWilding I came to know your place in your family line and sister, you have walked it all so well, so perfectly, so can be proud...your mom is
    I can hear your voice as you tell the Delta agent not to loose your mother lol...I love your spirit
    It has been a big year, and it is only getting bigger...I love watching from the sidelines as you bloom

    love and light xox