Footsteps Along the Path
My life has been imbalanced lately in favor of submitting on time a significant project toward my doctoral program, and I am feeling the varied effects of the hours of isolation, the hours sitting at my desk, the hours—unrelieved even in sleep and the liminality of awaking—of rumination and mental composition. I was happy yesterday to enjoy a birthday lunch with my beautiful and charming next-younger sister, in whose honor I’m fairly certain Earth Day was organized; I’m eager this morning to head to the lake with R. for a few-mile walk around it; I’ll be relieved and pleased later today to hit the various upload and send buttons to finalize this stage of academic and artistic development and submissions.
Exactly a year ago, we were gathered and working together as a family and friends in one of the most memorable and consequential and joyful weekends of our shared lives: There was our middle son’s master’s-degree graduation on the 21st; our oldest son’s and daughter-in-law’s 6th wedding anniversary on the 22nd; our youngest son’s and new daughter-in-law’s wedding on the 22nd; and our middle son’s and new daughter-in-law’s wedding on the 23rd, along with all the attending and hosting and lifting of parties and celebratory meals and moving out of apartments that those events entailed. We ran from one delightful occasion to another, from the impersonal enormity of an auditorium to the intimacy of a sparkling dinner party; from cramming into a rented SUV to finding our corners of the four-story townhouse Airbnb; from yellow umbrellas up against chilly rain in a mountain field to faces turned toward spring sunshine in the valley.
Throughout the long, emotional hours and days of commotion and effort, our youngest family members with us—my granddaughter and one of my nephews—were models of cheer and flexibility, of warmly connecting with others and carving out moments of rest, of being along for the wild ride. Their easy grace—along with that of those from whom they inherit it, my oldest son and daughter-in-law, my youngest sister and brother-in-law—inspired and sustained me then and continues to.