we mark time to measure something far deeper than the number of days. we mark time to take stock of our soul. to plumb its depths. to trace across its undulations. to peek into the shadowy places, and bask in the patches of pure illumination.
tomorrow, the twelfth day of the twelfth month, this old chair will once again glide across the stretch of shadow and light on which it began. its ninth circle round the sun. nine years of keeping watch, of perking my ears to the faintest of whispers. the whispers of the heart, yes. but just as certainly the wind rustling the leaves. the blue jay’s squawking. the world holding its breath. the pounding of bare soles against hardwood planks, rushing to the door to welcome love home.
at the break of dawn on december 12, 2006, i tiptoed down the stairs to a little nook of a room where a screen glowed, a screen waiting to be filled with words, with pictures, with postcards from the front — the homefront, in this case. the heart and soul of the homefront.
i had no real idea how all of this would unspool. but i knew that i wanted to carve out a hollow of quiet, a tide pool along the rushing river of life, where you and i might plop our bottoms onto a rock, might dip our finger into the current, might watch the light shifting, listen for the crunch of the forest under the wee padded feet of the creatures who call the woods home.
i knew i wanted a sacred someplace. a place where kindness prevailed. a gentle place, a home for tenderness and telling the truth. a place where we could bring our brokenness, or, just as emphatically, our bold claims of hope.
it would be an enchanted someplace. or at least that’s what i prayed.
i’ve long believed in enchantment. long believed in the possible. and the power of divine imagination. you can, sometimes, if you’re spectacularly lucky and a whole lot blessed, will your way to the landscape of which you dream.
when i was little i spent long hours in the woods across the way from the house where i grew up with a motley crew of four brothers. i plunked sticks into the pond where the ancient turtle basked on a log. i splashed across the rocks in the stream where crawfish bobbed from deep down in the dark.
that’s where i learned to believe in so very much of what still matters — the sanctity of silence, the incandescence of heavenly light, the blessing of being alone, the joy of muddy boots.
and maybe, too, that’s where i learned to believe that, fueled by imagination and spiced with a good dash of faith, i just might carve out a holy place.
and if there’s come to be anything holy about this make-believe table, circled with so many old chairs, it’s thanks to the good grace of your company — your day-after-day, week-after-week, year-upon-year coming by to share a few words, or a story, or kindness or wisdom. and ladles of love.
looking back over the nine blessed years — and thanks to the wizards at wordpress who keep track of these things — i can see at a glance just where these 729 posts have taken us, a bit of a roadmap in reverse, a by-the-numbers snapshot of what’s captured our imagination: 39 posts have considered the angels among us, 16 times i’ve laughed at myself (clearly, no one was counting), stillness has been a subject 22 times, motherhood 101, motherlove 44, mother prayer 17. we turned to cooking — for comfort, for joy — 42 times. blessings have been the subject du jour 64 times, paying attention 51 times, worry 11 (yet another serious under-estimate), wisdom only once (egad!). savoring moments, at 89 posts, is solidly a leitmotif.
and in just the last year here at the chair, we’ve traversed death and grief, awe and hope and hearts that are shattered by the most intimate of devastations or those played out on the world stage. we’ve considered quiet and the eloquence of silence. and this year, blessedly, the trumpets blared at the prodigal homecoming of my firstborn. i’ve written of words and books and harper lee. but if i had to pick three posts that will stick with me forever, it would be the prayer of remembering, the day my little one tried his hand at healing the sick, and, more than any other this year, the magic day at the magic hedge, where my most beloved friend and i pressed each sacred hour against our hearts, knowing, too well, the hours — and she — would soon slip away, a hole in my heart will ache till the end of time.
bless you. and thank you. for every kindness. for every dollop of wisdom. for your patience, your faith, and your blessedness. for the times you make me laugh out loud. and for every time you’ve made me wipe away a tear. from my heart to yours, a never-ending embrace.
may we never give up on the promise to infuse this weary old world with all the love and goodness we can possibly muster.
much love, b.
Congratulations! What a great accomplishment!
xoxo, J & J
and bless your beautiful hearts for a.) tagging along, and b.) applying your magic to every single nook and cranny in this old house of which i so often write, and ever love.
Congratulations on nine (!!!!!!!!!) extraordinary years here at pullupachair.org, a site that has become one of my very most favorite places out here in the ether, a home away from home, a door that’s always open, a place I always feel welcomed. Everything that matters most to me can be found at this gracious table: nature, poetry, family, friendship, kindness, love, all threaded together with a sublime sense of reverence for the divine. How I love this marvelous place, how dearly I treasure the heart and soul of the gentle, generous visionary who tends it: witty, wise, wonderful YOU! ❤️ xoxoxo
YOU, my beautiful friend and kindred spirit, are the treasure. this table would be aching without you. xoxoxo
Many blessings and much thanks to you, BAM, for showing me ways to make sure I count my blessings, for exemplifying that mother love I feel with every breath I take, for articulating the pain of loss, for treasuring silence, solitude, and peace as much as I do! My world is a much better place because I escape here regularly and experience true kindness that is too often missing as I navigate this life! Congratulations on 9 wonderful years!
you, my friend, are the answer to the prayer i pray every time i hit publish: that gentle souls and tender hearts will find their way here, and allow us all to sit in reverent peace and kindness, believing in a world as we know it can be……so help us God! xoxo
thank YOU for being such a deeply loyal friend over all the years….
What Jack said! What Amy said! They said it better than I ever could, with their beautiful words. This is a truly safe haven for all of us at the table, and we are all better for your having invited us to be with you on this journey. Bless your dear, dear heart. Lots of love. xoxoxo
bless you my beloved friend. you are priceless to me. and your heart at the chair is what makes it a beautiful, gentle, hopeful place to be…..xoxoxo
You make Fridays very special,thank you so much…
oh, mom, you are SO welcome. thank YOU!!!!!
I need such a space. Badly
Andrea Lavin Solow
we all do, which is why we’ve all huddled together. giant hugs. xoxoxox
Even though I only discovered you about a year ago, I’ve so enjoyed opening the computer every Friday morning to read your take on the world. Your words truly speak to my spirit.
and thank you so so much for making this a place you come to kick up your feet, and savor the world that surrounds us……
As I sit here with my weekend morning cup and the silent peace settles around me, I am so very very grateful that a certain MB nudged me to “pull up a chair” many years ago. Thank you for showing up so many mornings with words of humor, faith, and hope. With your discipline and heart, you have grown many things in this heart, connected many dots and encouraged me to grow and nurture my own garden of words. Finally, I am so very grateful for the women I have met through pulling up that chair. It is a beautiful fellowship of soulmates! Happy Anniversary! Looking forward to the continued journey even as the tabletop gets sticky and the chairs creak. 🙂
dear mother wisdom (for that IS how i think of you, sweetheart),
and i sit here with my morning cup, my silence (does WQXR, the new york classical station i stream through my tivoli radio app count as animated silence?), i am wrapped in the great afghan of your friendship, so many friendships — real ones — woven here at this uncanny virtual place. i love that what we’ve carved out is quiet, is kind, is gentle and tender. isn’t that a true voice that in this world finds it hard to find space? where there is shouting elsewhere, there is whisper here. and laughter. and tears. thank YOU for making this a place i am pulled to, religiously, come friday morn….
yours is magic table. with room for so many chairs. full and yet never crowded. always a welcome. a space to slip in and savor the quiet, the love. the gratitude, the kindness, the open heart. the words that capture forever the most fleeting of thoughts or the most lingering of feelings. magic.
bless your sweet sweet heart, across the way! i am so touched that you wander by every time you do…..xoxoxo
Wonderful!! Happy nine years!! Thank you!
thank YOU for being here!
I’m so glad you write, Barbara. So glad I found your book and your kind invitation to have a chair at the table.
I frequently find myself so caught up in pondering and feeling my way through your words, that I wander away without commenting. You could probably find me in that garden of gentle, sacred thought.
oh, dear elaine, i love that you wander by, and i LOVE your reason for wandering off in thought. silence is a blessing, and if you find yourself wrapped in silent thought at the end of a “meander” (my name for these posts, since they often meander instead of following a straight line from A to B), i wholly understand. i am always tickled when i find out someone who has been reading. i tend to not realize that some folks wander by without me never knowing it. and my heart gladdens when i find out about tiptoeings around the table….
come any time, in silence, in thought, or in an effusion of typing out thoughts…..