The Rain and The Light

And now it has been two years. One night I dreamed that I was standing on a grassy hilltop with her and one of my girlfriends, our silhouettes framed against a wide blank sky. She looked more as she did in her seventies, long white hair, upright yet surprisingly tiny and tentative, pleased, as always, to see me. I took her hand, introduced her to my friend, and the three of us held hands, forming a circle. My mother had never been to or even seen such a place as this wild, windy hilltop, and she was surprised and proud, maybe delighted, to be there with me. Oh, I was vaguely aware of some worry pressing on me, that old familiar instruction to hurry, but we stood for a moment holding hands in that circle, and she said to me, “I love you” and I said “I love you” and I felt at peace, at least with her, and I was so glad to see her in the great outdoors, experiencing a world she never knew. I wish her life had been bigger, and happier, and I wish I had been a thousand times more present and patient and affectionate, but I am grateful that I was given the duty and the gift to move through our difficult history and get to know the person she became. There is a great deal we can only understand in the aftermath, but if we translate the painful knowing into love and deed, it wasn’t all for naught. On this rainy day, I am remembering my mother with a candle, a prayer, a leap of faith, a promise to be better, and Merwin’s perfect rain light:

All day the stars watch from long ago
my mother said I am going now
when you are alone you will be all right
whether or not you know you will know
look at the old house in the dawn rain
all the flowers are forms of water
the sun reminds them through a white cloud
touches the patchwork spread on the hill
the washed colors of the afterlife
that lived there long before you were born
see how they wake without a question
even though the whole world is burning

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