Thank you, Jolina Petersheim, for sharing your lovely writing. Through it, you challenge us to stop and consider our hand-printed legacy left in this world.
One o’clock in the morning and even in sleep my daughter hiccuped from the magnitude of her eleven o’clock cries. I nestled her closer – her feet pressing into my stomach like tiny hot stones, her dimpled hands clutching the straps of my nightgown – and re-positioned my elbow to accommodate her sweat-soaked head.
By the TV-like glow of the baby monitor on the nightstand, I glanced across the bed to my husband and saw that he was watching her, watching us.
My eyes filled with tears as he smiled with the relief that I felt, and as I leaned down to softly kiss our daughter, I again wished that for but a moment I could cup the sand slipping through the hourglass of time.
I suppose it is part of my poetic nature to yearn to capture the ephemeral in tangible form, so that when my daughter is grown and gone I can look back and recall the anchor of her head on my collarbone as she turned and huffed sleepy breath against my cheek; her widened hazel eyes as she toppled from her belly to her back for the first time; the aria of her soprano laughter as her father zoomed her around the kitchen, an overgrown hummingbird with a delighted grin and grasping hands.
But even before Adelaide’s birth, I have been mildly obsessed with the hourglass of time. That was why I kept diaries with gold-tipped pages and elfin locks and daily entries with numerical codes that I soon forgot how to crack, and then fat journals with spiral bindings that I filled with true stories that one day I hoped to turn – just like my role model Anne with an ‘e’ — into a book called Jolina of Coldstream; why I climbed onto the roof outside my lavender bedroom and wrote bad poetry in the rain because it just felt right. It is why I pounded the podium in front of my high school and said, “We must make memories!”
Now my journal has become this digital notebook where I reveal my life on the bounds of an HTML page, and throughout the week I try to capture the moments that I loved best: walking down our lane with the rays of the setting sun like a warm hand on my back; my skirt casting swishing shadows across the piebald lane; the straight white trunks of the birch against the backdrop of the summer washed green; the caw of the crows that dive bomb a screeching hawk that spreads its wings and hovers on a current of air so high I will never be able to breathe or touch.
I imagine when I am eighty I will still yearn to capture how light flits through a windowpane and covers my knotted, parchment-skinned hands in gentle watercolor light, and then – then I hope that I will use those hands to pick up a pen or shakily strike keys, so that when I am gone, someone will be able to see the beauty in this world that for but a moment I held before the grains slipped through my arthritic fingers and I too left the hourglass of life behind.
How do you also strive to capture the ephemeral in tangible form?
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