Sunday, May 7, 2017

In which we pack joy and sorrow in the same box

It's a gift to be annoyed with a squirrel who imagines himself a machine, a chipper, 
decimating pine cone after pine cone on the deck you just swept. 

It's a gift to sweep, and who am I kidding, to even have a broom 
and a place where the broom belongs, 
or used to belong.

It is a gift to leave a place where memories were made, where people will be missed, 
where you found shelter during long dark winters 
and respite from the midnight sun of short blinding summers.

It is a gift to say goodbye, through tear stained cheeks, 
with quads somehow trashed only by walking around an empty house 
and sticking blue tape on the random things that will stay after you go.

It is a gift to go, 
a gift to stay, 
a gift to start over, 
a gift to keep going.

I have lost and won and lost and won a thousand times. 
It's a gift to play the game, a gift to have a team that actually acts like one, 
a gift to struggle, to come out of hiding, a gift to be known,
a gift to raise synchronized fists against the neighborhood squirrel.

The village (and I'm counting the squirrel) is the gift, 
and the leaving of the village is a grievous terrible thing. 
But the leaving is what makes you realize the village is actually there, 
and for all the cliche about it taking one, it's true.

We will soon fly away, 
float off in a cloud of non-hazardous, non-flammable fumes 
(because we had to leave all of the hazardous, flammable stuff at the old place), 
and we will well up with tears and gratitude that could fill the ocean, 
(okay maybe just a really big pond--but still--it's a lot for a family of four).

We will grieve and celebrate in the same sentence, 
pack joy and sorrow in the same box.
We'll also lose all knowledge of where anything is packed, 
as well as, quite possibly, our collective cool.
And we will say thank you, 
chant it, 
shout it from the top of the bald neighborhood mountain, 
for the gift, for this place and these years, 
for the highs and lows, the village,
and yes, 
even for the damn squirrel.