Moments layered in memory
evolve over time,
forming an emotion hued painting of events.
Like art in a gallery
it’s displayed in our minds.
We can skip down paths to our childhood,
visiting with friends long gone
while avoiding dark woodland paths
knowing a snake waits ahead!
Birthdays of yesterday
merge with today,
all colored with love in different shades!
Shopping in a small town,
coffee shared with mom
who traveled onward years ago
infuses our lunch of today;
new memories made richer
by the poignancy of before.
Lakes and fish stories bring Dad close by,
his long, tall shadow
a silhouette against the setting sun.
Still ready to cast a line
and lure a keeper to the shore.
He’s only a step or two away
when I need him, just a step or two away.
Clinking domino tiles in play,
arms reaching in and out to arrange the next move,
form a camaraderie of family,
linking past to present.
I enter the kitchen and see the coat rack
in its familiar place
but my mind still sees his old, tan windbreaker
and wool cap ready to be worn.
A gesture, a glancing gaze, a stance,
bring echoes of him present
in the generations of him here and now.
Images of his navy stride,
hands clasped behind his back,
walk with me down cracked, cement sidewalks
along green city berms.
He’s a step or two ahead now,
just a step or two away.
Embracing a grandchild warm against my skin,
I remember being held in his strong arms,
secure against the shadowy fears, safe.
Life never ends.
We carry it forward within us,
a gift to share and pass on.
Our loved ones are a blink between heartbeats,
a breath or two away, a step or two away.
A worn, brown plaid cookbook
rests on my kitchen counter,
its pages brittle with age.
Notes in the margin
show Mother’s fine handwriting.
My hand touches the page, touches her,
so we begin the recipe again.
My wooden spoon so used to her movements,
picks up a rhythm as I cream butter and sugar.
Her voice in my ears proudly tells
of her mother, how she never needed a recipe
just a pinch of this and that.
To cook with abandon and verve,
how daring it seems!
It’s taken a lifetime to wean myself
of the need for direction, still listening,
Thick batter waits to be shaped
into cookies that never last long enough!
All too soon they are cooling on wax paper,
samples eaten in quick, hot bites
assuring tradition upheld!
I fold her apron carefully,
its colors slightly dimmed,
ready for our next visit together
when we’ll work our craft in the kitchen,
misted with memories,
dusted with flour.