Listening to Graceland

This song said nothing much to me when it first came out. Maybe I didn’t listen carefully — I am perfectly willing to take the blame. But just now it cracked my heart open. I am washing diapers I bought on Craigslist to have here for my grandchildren when they come and I am taken back to the years and years of diapers — my three children were born within 4 years — and how I was always rinsing or hanging them out on the clothes line or folding them into the basket I kept by the table where I changed the babies. My heart forgot, as my hands forgot, the feel of diapers (though to be honest, I’ve changed the grandchildren here, and in their own homes too). But here, in an empty house, with a voice singing of the heart and its capacity for love, I am reminded of all the ways we shape our lives around it. Or shape it around our lives. Which is true? Both?

And I may be obliged to defend
Every love, every ending
Or maybe there’s no obligations now
Maybe I’ve a reason to believe
We all will be received
In Graceland

On Sunday, this photograph of grandson Arthur arrived to wish John a Happy Father’s Dad. There is nothing like a 6-toothed smile to say, Joy! Or nothing like the joyous manspread of an 8-month old infant — something I suppose he will have to unlearn once he’s older.

fathers day.jpg

And this morning, a photograph of Kelly with the little balance bike we sent to her as an early birthday gift. (She will be two next month.) Her dad said, “Kelly won’t get on her bike yet, but likes to stand near it wearing her helmet.” But I bet by the weekend she will be gliding down that quiet lane, heading into the rest of her life.

Kelly's new bike.jpg

Maybe I’ve a reason to believe we will all be received. And will hang out diapers in readiness.


an everywhere (a valentine)

“For love, all love of other sights controls,
And makes one little room an everywhere.”
                                — John Donne, The Good Morrow
I spoke these lines to John when I married him in 1979. Angelica read them at Forrest and Manon’s wedding in 2012. A little room for lovers is a different thing from the little room that contains a family, an expanding family, yet that room is truly everywhere. A continent, a whole world.
I spent some time this morning looking at photographs:
“Let sea-discoverers to new worlds have gone,
Let maps to other, worlds on worlds have shown,
Let us possess one world, each hath one, and is one.”