The honking of Canada geese fills the silence in my kitchen and slides up and over the roof of my house as they head west, toward the mountains. There have been so many geese lately I have wondered if something is unusual this year that makes them gather and move in big groups so differently than other years. It’s been an odd weather year here, at times warmer, then colder, then warm and dry again in seeming measured bursts. The sky is very still today, threatening to bring a little snow.
The honking is a beautiful sound that pulls up memories from my childhood. I remember one long-ago morning as I walked to school and looked up into a similarly gray and tentatively stormy sky. The staccato sound was loud but gentle as not just tens but hundreds and hundreds of geese flew overhead. It seemed to go on for minutes as I watched. There was a hint of sadness in my heart as the last of the stragglers flew on and the sky emptied. Recollections like this don’t change with time, I’ve found, but something needs to happen, like the sound of geese, to bring them back so clearly.
Such a thing happened yesterday. A comment came in from my blog, sitting there in my email in-box. I love the things people write. I think it’s the interaction that touches me most. “Oh, someone read what I wrote.” I think. “What was it they felt? Who might this be who comments? How have we engaged?” Every comment is still a fresh experience, even sometimes the things I don’t like. This one was a surprise. It came through the comment path, but it wasn’t a comment. More a personal note.
Hello. A phone number. A name. “Really? Is this happening? Am I seeing this name for real?” A sweet breeze of summer flew across my mind. A friend like no other, for far too short a time. Decades and decades ago, now. My skin remembered the warmth of the sun in July. My eyes locked on that name. A basketball clanked on a chain link fence forty years in the past.
The voice. I remembered the voice that went with that name. Would I recognize it? Would it be the same? Dare I call? “There’s a voice that goes with that name,” I thought. I smiled. I felt like I would cry. “I can’t do this,” I thought. “I can’t open this Pandora’s box.” So I let hours go by. Finally I thought “How could I not? How could I not call?” So I texted. So he called.
I talked to the man that kid had become. Uncountable summers later that voice was the same. Of course I remembered. “That was a sweet time for me,” he said. A sweet time. Oh yes. Almost unbearably sweet, still. I liked the man. I liked the things he said. I liked his curiosity, his wanting to know. I liked the heart and the wisdom he shared, perhaps without knowing, when he talked about his work.
It’s curious to me that this contact comes now. I suppose nothing about the Universe, the mysterious ways of the Lord, should surprise me. I’ve been talking to my Higher Power lately. I’m not so afraid of men anymore. So much has healed. I’ve moved on from a very sad place. I’d like to know who I am now, in a relationship with a man. I’m not looking for another husband. I’m not sure what I’m looking for. Perhaps a reminder that I have a heart, still. A chance to practice and be honest with someone who also happens to be a man.
All this year men have been coming out of the woodwork. Chance encounters. Conversations. Coffee. I must be paying attention. I must be less guarded. I smile. I respond, and talk and laugh. Men at the gym. Men in stores. Younger men. Older men. The men at the workshop I just went to. Okay, I get the hint. Maybe it’s time for me to move forward, with heart. So how do I do that?
And then this. That name. That voice. That time. That soul. Not just a little heart. Full throttle heart. A remembering. An unexpected approach. The Universe tells me not to be afraid. There is nothing to fear. There never was anything to fear, here. Except maybe for love itself. If I talk to him again, so be it. If I don’t, I learned something profoundly important, anyway. My heart is alive and well.
I remember that day my daughter walked into my house and down into my basement with her stuff, to move back in after living in Australia for a year and a half. I remember how I watched her and heard myself say silently, “You better not let yourself love her too much. She’s just going to go away again and break your heart.” As if love is something you control, or should even try. I was surprised I even thought about it. I was surprised I had become so guarded. I loved her anyway. She is my forever precious child.
And so I guess I learned another lesson about love. A phone call from a timeless place reached right to the heart of the matter. I should never limit who I am, just because I am afraid I might get hurt. I should never limit who I am just because someone might not like me, or worse, not love me. I’m not here to live a limited life. No one is. I’m here to live a full-throttle life, now, today. Life never ceases to be full of surprises. Guidance comes in the most unexpected forms.
Thank you, John.