i see my reflection in their eyes
topped with kimchi
my rake scrapes along the sidewalk
my ears crumple in the unpleasantness
cemented in my own madness
thirsty for a dose of Spirit medicine
we forage the leaves
forage the leaves in pleasant contemplation
I try to sleep.
Saturday morning, we've planned for a trek on an unfamiliar trail. My eight-year-old reminds me, I thought you were going to wear your RBG tshirt.
That's right! I change from my "I Am Strong" to RBG and "Never underestimate the power of a girl with a book."
During the drive, our family chats about Dump 2020, and I well up wondering how much my girl will remember of this year. Covid, family deaths, distance learning, Dump, RBG. What else? The year's not over yet. We arrive and immerse ourselves in a woodsbath that also winds along a farm with horses, sheep, goats, pigs, chickens, turkeys, peacocks, a bunny and a cat. I'm in search of the small waterfall that I read about online. Barely anyone on the trail, we run into a South Asian elder and ask where the waterfall might be. He shares that he knows of no waterfall, but a quaint clearing up ahead at the end of the stream.
No waterfall?! Disappointment sets in. Again.
No one else is around. We take off our masks and soak in the sound of the stream, the tree oil, and the crisp morning air.
Deep breaths. It's okay. I'm grateful we're healthy and together on a Saturday morning.
Before I co-teach an afternoon mindfulness session, N. and I watch the RBG documentary. I'm intent on making sure N. knows who RBG is. N. asks, Why are you crying, Mom?
Because RBG was an amazingly smart and strong warrior woman who exuded social justice and had such an impact in our world. Because she is someone you can look up to, N.
This day, every year, I comb through photo albums in search of photos of us, you and me as a young child. Sadly, there aren’t too many, the few blurred pictures that
|St. Joseph's Church|
It was the one time we decided to sleep at our home in need of a short respite as we were on death watch for the past almost three weeks. Early morning, Mom called, Come now. A. and I raced down the turnpike in silence. I’d been doing this drive back and forth between my parents’ and ours for a while now.
Deeply grateful that you chose to die on your own terms. Having stopped all treatment, dying at home and prepared to brave infinite life beyond the stars.
A toast to you, Dad.
Every year, we recount to N. the story of her birth (five weeks early) -- unexpected, frightening, and joyful all at once. Our August back-to-back birthdays are a month-long celebration in our home. A new beginning as we thankfully circle the Sun once again, a time for renewal. This year, a 2020 re-set. It has to be, what with seven deaths in our circles, four of them due to covid. While trying hard not to count, I'm working to also engage in a daily kindness challenge, finding ways to spread the wellness.
Birthday bouquets of flowers gifted to me -- seaside escape, sunflower burst, and summer sweet -- still make my heart sing this week as I am in awe of the connections I have with these special individuals (including my partner!) in my life. They are generous, kind and warmhearted. Not to mention all the loveys who shared their greetings with drop-bys and in real time too. Thank you, Mr. Yuan, for Zoom.
One of the best memories made during birthday month? Swinging in the sprinkler!
Tomorrow, I'll be attending my second celebration of life service via Zoom. This time, the last of my Dad's siblings, Constante B. Cabalda, finally reunited with his sisters (Esperanza, Josefina, Oliva), brothers (Benjamin, Vivencio, Amante), and parents (Emerenciano and Concepcion) beyond the stars.
|L Ross Gallery|
|artwork by B. Giordano|