At Dawn

Cabin, January 2022

Here it is still dark. I wake in the early morning before everyone else so I can sit on the couch alone and drink tea that is hot, and steal some time for these words. Perhaps later I will not remember how hard it was to find the mind space to write, perhaps it won’t matter, because what I will remember is how small he is and how that is the biggest thing in my life. I try and make other things feel as important as they once were, but they do not. There is some kind of shame and pride in saying that; like it makes me a good mother but a bad writer.

I tell myself there will always be time to write, even if I have to steal it in the dark, but he will not always be so small. There are some days I feel like I am disappearing. A friend gave me this phrase, and she too is a writer, and I think we share the same kismit in this time. Some days I feel so full of love it actually hurts. Some days I do not shower. Some days I cry. Some days I forget there is a world and I do not mind, not at all, not even a little to spend hours on the floor while he learns to lift his head from that orange pillow I bought long before I knew him.

I do not know what I am trying to say, perhaps just a reminder to myself at a later date. Perhaps I am trying to get close with words to a part of my life that I do not have words for. I do not know how to talk about how consuming this love is, how the edges of who I am and who he is are blurred. I know the exact temperature of his face against mine, I could sense a change to a half degree. I can wake moments before he does, synced even in our dreams. I can read his eyes and sense when the world is too much. I know his breath the second he slips into sleep. I know every inch and look. A love this big is measured in the smallest of ways.

What I do know is that his life and my life are so near right now for this short time, traveling so parallel we are overlapping in our existence, but from here, and always these two lines diverge and sometimes I cannot bear it. Sometimes I do not want to look ahead.

We have been here now for weeks and weeks and we are both different and still the same. Sometimes we stand at the window in the afternoon and watch as the wind blows and knocks the snow from the trees and it drifts down like glitter outside. I give him the words for the world around him. That is snow. Sometimes it’s so dark in the night I cannot see my own body as I navigate around the room, careful not to wake him, aware even of the cracks of bones in my feet as I step.

I have not made my point yet, have not gotten close to this feeling yet. I used to be better at this. The precision in which I could get so close to how I feel, like I could hang it up on the line and watch it change colors as it dries in the sun. Perhaps I’ve been here too long. Perhaps I try to make a home in too many places. I wonder if he will feel that, a lack of permanence as we move around in the world, or if he will marvel at how easy it is to reroot yourself. As soon as I feel stable it’s time to go again.

I am not sure how it is possible to want to hold onto so much. This is nothing new for me. It is almost as if my hands and my heart are just not big enough and so I have to chose what I let go, what I let slip through. And that is the hard part. And maybe that is what I mean.

If I could I would tell my old self, the past few years, that you have more time than you will ever know or ever have again, and that the day is impossibly long. I would tell myself that while the writing is hard it is the only thing you have to do, and this work will pay off. It will give itself back to you when you cannot give yourself to it. You will survive on it and it will carry you through and remind you there is something to come back to when you are ready. The writing will remind you to write.

I took this picture of us in our little world so I might remember how small he is and so that later he might see how young I once was and how hard I tried at being a mother. The sun is starting to show on the other side of the mountains and the outline of the black pine trees is now visible against a deeply blue dawn sky. Everything comes and goes.

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