It is Sunday so the flocks of birds remind me that flocks of humans are gathering in churches all over town to hear sermons about beginnings and second chances.
I just made my weekly telephone call to Daddy. As always, my stepmother answered the phone and while we made our usual small talk about health and weather, I could hear voices in the background. "What's all the noise?" I asked. She said it was my sister and her boyfriend, making their weekly visit. "Oh! OK. I'll try to reach Daddy tomorrow," I offered. "Say hi to Rhodie."
"Do you want me to put her on the phone?" she asked. I chuckled. "Nah. That would be strange..."
"Oh. I didn't know."
"No, it's okay. She doesn't return my calls. Just say 'hi'" I explained and quickly hung up.
This morning, I viewed the familiar awkwardness of our family dynamic with detached clarity. It was like looking at a two-headed kitten through a glass pane. I thought, and so here we are...we're like this....and so it is.
I dialed my brother's number. We haven't spoken since last spring. The phone rang and rang before his voice in the outgoing message apologized for missing my call and invited me to leave a message. He sounded like Daddy and I mentioned that, and a hope that we can talk soon, before wishing him Happy New Year and love and hanging up.
...and so it is.
The hiss and murmur of the rain is interrupted periodically by sharp creaks and cracks, and pings as dead twigs, assaulted by the weight of birds and the cold wind, fall onto the tin roof of the shed. Nature proceeds with its renovations, its plan for the "new year". Trees shed dead wood, new growth pushes through. Under the decaying piles of leaves, Spring is turning, turning in readiness to break ground and emerge.
There may not be enough good writing to constitute a book. We'll see.
It's a painful process: noticing misspelled words that I didn't before, melodramatic non sequitur, boring complaint and feeble attempts at humor. The original idea of showing up here, uncensored and unedited, seems a bad one now. I've been gun-shy of ever posting again until today.
Life goes on. Every new day brings some error and some success. We keep going. Some things stay the same -- and we're grateful; some things stay the same -- and we wonder how we stand the enduring pain of it.
I don't know that reconciliation and joyous intermingling is possible in my family. I don't know if I'll ever become a good writer or publish a book. I know that the trees will shed and the leaves will decay to become nutrition for new grasses and flowers in the Spring. I hear that writing every day makes one a better writer. And I hear there's always hope...