She's fifty-four. She's starting into her 'sunset years', she's in Alaska, has survived the surgery that had her sign her will in the E.R. there, but she's come "undun" and must sell her home and everything in it. She's in her empty house and it is the last night that it is still hers. She's packing up some last personal things, and flipping through photos and yearbooks from her life back in California knowing that she may never see these things again. She's leaving them for safekeeping with a friend, hoping to retrieve them when she's back on her feet again ... and she finds this poem scrawled inside one of the books ...
When days grew dark,
and clouds grew near,
the yard still shined,
with year round cheer,
'cause there you were,
laughing & smiling,
keeping us happy,
stopping all crying.
Thanks Miss Sunshine!
She continues through her keepsakes and finds a faded page that she has kept with her ever since it was first placed into her hands ... decades ago, as an honor student in college, she was allowed the freedom of taking poetry as her alternate English class. All poems were submitted anonymously. Taking full advantage of the sundrenched California days, they often took turns reciting their classmates' words under natural skylight while sitting cross-legged on the stretch of grass just outside their classroom door. Was this particular poem written about her? The answer to that question is now lost in time, but she does know that her classmate's poem had captured her essence. Through the years she moved around and about with this special knowledge of why that was her fate; and she kept the copy of her fellow poet's words, on paper now timeworn and pale, as one of her most valued possessions ...
In a field
I am the absence
This is always the case.
Wherever I am
I am what is missing.
When I walk
I part the air
the air moves in
to fill the spaces
where my body's been.
We all have reasons
to keep things whole.
... Four years later, she's still struggling as a "newly born" poet, and she's been searching for love, her quest ever since she woke up from that surgery. She thought that she had found it but he has gone from her ... and her heart is perfectly torn along the same lines as his. She's packing to move once again and reducing her belongings even more, for when one leaves Alaska the staggering shipping costs keep most things there. She's discarding old files, shredding papers no longer needed, and she finds a copy of the poem that he posted on her wall in cyberspace so long ago that she'd kept with photos he took for her ... of trees, of wispy clouds, of shared moments ...
All around and all inside,
Everywhere I see a beautiful Tree.
When I close my eyes at night,
All I see is a beautiful Tree.
Swaying in the wind and snow,
The lovely white cloaks the beautiful Tree.
When I think of what God made right,
I am pondering that beautiful Tree.
I am here to be a shield of strength,
All to protect that beautiful Tree.
Sometime I get distracted and lost,
For direction I look towards the beautiful tree.
She's the sunshine, she's the trees, she's the wispy clouds in the air ... and she keeps on moving, trying to keep things whole everywhere. Now her question is, to love again, where will she go and how will she know? She's sifting through the single box of memories that represents her entire life, and reading these cherished poems once more ... their words move her yet again, tears form, and love flows like a river that will always be ... and these memories will continue to move her and move along with her, in a single box and in her lifelong heart, wherever she goes.
They say that the eyes are the window of the soul ... and this eye is hers ... still open wide and full of love.