Around and Around

At this house there is an old key hole in the front door and when I sit on the floor I can see through it and outside. Today he wakes at 5am and this unfamiliar house is still dim. Here, there are thin windows and creaking wood floors and green grass backyards and white rose bushes and covered porches. We will only be here for one week, but still we nest and make a quick home. We walk to get coffee in the morning and to get wine in the evenings and put him to sleep and say things like, isn’t it nice here, and wouldn’t it be nice to live here again.

We are back in Idaho for the summer as this is where we spend every summer. We are staying near where I lived in grad school for the week and I wander around this old neighborhood with my son and tell him about who I was back then and how much I used to write and how complicated and how simple life was. He likes the roses and so do I.

Lately I do not write, and when I do write, I do not write well. What I do well is make up songs about bears and fix bottles one handed and balance him on my hip bone like photographs I used to of women that I was not, but now am.

There is a tragedy near me, that I am not close to but not far from, and I feel a spectator looking through glass as those I love are hurt and staring at the blank walls. I carry my son around and fix snacks because that is how I show love. The whole thing reminds me, as these things do, that life is quick and short and sad and can change in an instant. I pray for their family and a miracle at night even though I do not know from whom I ask this. These are things I know nothing about because I place all my faith in the natural world, and still I pray. I pray the way I used to in the middle of the night when my son wouldn’t sleep and I would ask whoever was listening for a little help. You throw a penny in a well. You tie a string around it and bury it in the backyard.

We buy a house we have never seen on a hill we have never visited with a view from a different life. It is the first time I do not feel heartbroken at the prospect of losing my ocean view. But still change makes my nerves stand on edge and I sit on the porch at night eating olives and talking with an old friend about how life goes around and around. She is moving back east in a few weeks time, going home again. Perhaps we all go back again. Perhaps all we have is what we can hold in our hands. Around and around, looking through key holes as the sun comes up.

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