Reporting in: I'm Home
It's where my heart is.
Hello dear friends and all those others who can’t figure out why they’ve signed up for such a sporadic newsletter. It’s been 56 days since my husband, Ed, died, and I’ve finally arrived home. He died in South Carolina, 1400 miles away, and it’s taken me this long to get back to our island, to our home, where everything reminds me of him.
I stayed at my daughter’s until last week, and I think it was the right thing to do. I could slowly ease into living without him in a space where his presence wasn’t everywhere I looked.
My daughter and grandson were here to help me open up the cottage after a long winter away, but I asked them to give me some time alone before they came—just an hour or so. I came in alone and started a fire in the stove. Something he always did and something I’ve always been bad at, but it started almost right away and by the time they got here it was roaring. I felt good here. Through my tears I felt good.
Our home here on Drummond Island is in the northern latitudes and spring comes late. The last ice left the bay just two weeks ago, my neighbor tells me. In southern Michigan only 350 miles away, where my daughter lives, there are flowering trees, daffodils, spirea, even trillium, already blooming. Nothing like that here yet, though the Mergansers and Golden Eyes have arrived and are swimming near shore.
Deer in the yard at dusk. I wish I could fill the bird feeders but that’s an open invitation to bears, awake and hungry after a long winter’s hibernation. We finally learned our lesson about putting food out too early!
This is my second morning alone. Yesterday was the test: how would it feel? I’ve never been here alone. Not once in 27 years. I wandered around the house and yard, looking with new eyes at what was now mine and mine alone—along with all of the responsibilities. I dragged out our old boombox, cleaned it up, and played old tapes I’d nearly forgotten about. All of it my music, my comfort music—harps and lutes and strings, then Windham Hill, then Enya, then Vivaldi, Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff—and it was glorious. Loud and glorious.
Earlier in the morning I wrote a blog for Constant Commoner. A serious blog about the fight for abortion rights, and that felt right, too. No matter what happens in my private life my commitment to a fair and just world will be front and center when it calls for it. Which, nowadays, it often does. I can’t quit now. And Ed wouldn’t want me to.
I think I’m going to be fine here. I have friends who are here for me, but I think I need this alone time, not just to adjust but to grow. To figure out where I go from here. This is my time now, whether I like it or not. I must choose to like it.
So my writing will go on. That will never fail me. I’m excited about new possibilities now that I have the time, but if nothing else happens I’ll be content to spend my free hours doing what I love most.
I found this today. Yes, it’s the rhythm. Rhythm is everything, even in life.
I’ve tried to figure out what good writing is. I know it when I read it in other people’s work or my own. The closest I’ve come is that there’s a rhythm to the writing, in the sentence and the paragraph. When the rhythm’s off, it’s hard to read the thing. It’s a lot like music in that sense; there’s an internal rhythm that does the work of reading for you. It almost reads itself. That’s one of the things that’s hard to teach to people. If you don’t hear music, you’re never going to hear it. That internal rhythm in a sentence or a paragraph, that’s the DNA of writing. That’s what good writing is.
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