long walks and talks that never end
the end of the long hard story that was junior year of almost college is that, well, it ends.
ends any hour now, actually.
already is gliding toward close, is pressure cloud lifting, is window for words.
words, for my sweet boy and i, are the long-tested glue that hold us, cement us, keep our hearts in connection.
that boy and i have spent long long hours, over the years, deep in the forest of words.
we’ve climbed down to the side of a brook, watched the light dapple through leaves. savored the joy, pure delight, the swapping of stories. we’ve hiked into the deep, plenty of times, marveled at the heft of the tree trunks, the length of the shadows, the sound of the silence except for our words. once or twice, we’ve found ourselves lost, at the end of a trail. or so it seemed, as we pushed back the brush, searched for the sliver of clearing that would show us the way.
i don’t remember when, really, the long talking started. i do remember a young boy, maybe four at the time, walking in circles, unspooling his thoughts as i stood there and listened. we lived in a house with a square kitchen island, and that was the mooring, it seemed, around which he strode and he thought.
i remember the stairs, the ones that rose as if floating on air, no backs and no sides, just up. or down, with precipitous drop. i remember sitting there, for hours on end, watching the slant of the sun as it fell on his face. i remember the tears. i remember the stories. i remember the questions.
i remember the nook in his room, the slant of the roof right over our heads. i remember the leaves of the trees, brushing up against glass. how his room was a perch. a loft for high thoughts. i remember playing with blocks and towering stories.
as far back as i can remember, the boy and i have lived with our hearts inside out. little to hide. no words not allowed.
i suppose i set out to be the sort of mother who always had the “open for business” sign on the door. and in our house, the telling of story, the landscape of heart, is most serious business.
junior year, though, got in the way.
oh, the stories we started to tell. but then, oops, we cut ourselves off. knew we couldn’t go round that bend. not with math books and junior themes, faulkner and fdr twiddling their thumbs, up on his desk.
so for the last couple of months, too often, we clamped it. tightened the lid of the jar, lest stories begin. lest we get lost on a miles-long hike back to the woods that we love, the woods of the words.
the one short jaunt we’ve allowed, on all of these nights of late-night study, is our walk in the dark. around the “big block,” we call it. a study break. a bedtime preamble, literally. for me that is. for him, there’ve been too many nights with no bed in sight, but that’s over now, almost.
he can sleep all he wants.
and we can talk all we want.
just last night we went for our walk. and when we got to the very last corner, the one that turns us toward home, he pointed left, away from our house, deeper toward story.
i indulged. we kept turning corners, away from our house, for a good extra half hour.
oh, there were stories to fill every step. right up to the end, right up to the stoop in front of the door.
and oh, it felt fine to be back in the business of endlessly tilling our hearts.
my sweet boy and all of his stories are back. the long year is over, is ended.
all i need now, for the summer ahead, is a thick pair of soles for miles and miles of story.
it is a blessing, i know, to march by the side of a boy of 16–nearly 17–who still finds reason to walk with his mama, talk to his mama. sometimes, in the dark, i take his elbow, to keep from tripping over cracks in the sidewalk. the top of my head comes just to his shoulders. we’re quite a walking pair, little mama and her towering lad. oh, what a gift to take on the darkness with a boy of long stride, and long story.
what’s your preferred mode for soaking up stories with the someones you love?
So beautiful, so wonderful, so YOU. How blessed are your boys — all three!
My perferred mode for soaking up stories is at the dinner table. Most evenings we gather there – the five of us. Three teenagers! Many nights I admit there’s not much sharing of stories, but at least once a week the stories do flow. Usually one child starts and then the others chime in. And I sit back and listen and laugh and love!
I have a walker who’s not a talker, and a talker who’s not a walker. Lots of cnversation over the dinner table, though. And, now that the weather is nice, conversation and stories flow when we have dinner on the deck. I enjoyed reading this, BAM Your words moved me to that fragile time toward the end of my boys’ high school days. You and your sons are going to have a wonderful summer!
always it seems, by the fire…the flames lick more than the logs- it’s as though the coating on preoccupation is gently lapped away, it seems as startling as the crackle of the wood when the words burst from silent too long lips. i love that, i am more the quiet one by the fire…other stories are told and i am the deep listener as it seems the words there are never false when circled around a blaze, big or little.and since you asked, i never really thought of it before- but it is the way of my clan to circle around the fire pit, guarding it, feeding it from all sides…
gorgeous, true wonder, gorgeous, “…..feeding it from all sides……”
by the fire…and how often that circle of family includes friends who are like sisters and brothers.true wonder i am so glad we have reconnected. so many times, in another life, we sat around that fire together. i cannot wait to sit around it again and feed it with our laughter, love, memories, and dreams.