Friday, March 11, 2016

Bare Handed

Bare handed the man contends with spring...

It's a slow conversion, it's taken maybe 40 years, and the last two, to realize I'm becoming a spring soul, rather than fall. Last year was the first time it really hit.

This year, walking home for lunch with no jacket; warmer temperatures and t-shirt sweat for running; sitting out on the deck for happy hour and reading, after shunning it for the winter. There is both a calm and an energy in the warmer weather, the sun on my face. I've dug into William Carlos Williams's "Spring and All."

Bare handed the man contends with home...

Sharing deep, unscripted conversations with the girls is one of life's profound pleasures.

Home is.... Since July, the girls and I have been fortunate to call a great house in Oxford, "home." They have taken to Oxford. They have taken to the community center in town where I work. Anna and I were talking this week about looking forward to spring and summer in town. Riding bikes, paddleboarding, the Strand (beach), Schooners Landing and the Masthead (dock bars/outdoor restaurants) re-opening, along with the Scottish Highland Creamery (best ice cream on the planet). We got talking about the house, which is our second in two years, and not wanting to/having to move every year. Then we both said the house hasn't felt like "home" yet. That's a curious feeling to both have.

Maybe it's inherent in not knowing if you can put roots down in a house. Maybe it's a part of renter's remorse. Maybe the girls living between two parents and two houses has shifted the notion of what home feels like. Probably it is all of those things. I fully believe that home is a feeling; home is a mindset; home is a community; home can be people. But the physical home of where you put your stuff, where you lie down at night, where you cut grass and eat meals, that has a big role in being "home." Oxford is a place that goes quiet in the winter, especially for 11 and 14 year olds. After moving in last summer, Ava spent a month in a Pittsburgh hospital to end her summer. Hoping the return of spring, of bike rides, swimming, ice cream and sunsets in the Oxford Park; of grilling in the yard, will stoke some homey vibes.

In "Spring and All," Williams writes, "Bare handed the man contends with the sky, without experience of existence seeking to invent and design."

Bare handed the man contends with the sky...

I fully love that, and feel it. We don't have the tools or experience to fully grasp it. We are bare handed, minimally equipped to take it all in. I've had this feeling a few times this week already. Walking down the street to the shore line on the cove with my morning coffee to watch the sunrise. And two nights ago, standing out in the field next to the house, taking in the clear, spring night sky, and seeing two shooting stars in about 15 minutes time. Contending with the sky can overload the soul.

Bare handed the man contends...

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