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I look out the window from my writing desk. It is a wet spring morning with a streak of sunshine. This morning reminds me of another morning far away when I found my mother, even though it had been more than ten years since she died. It happened on a visit with my younger sister, the last one in the line-up of children, the one who was unexpected, a soothing miracle for my mother’s later life. My sister is ill, seriously ill. My sister holds my mother’s energy in her core, soft, kind, orderly.
People go to places of the past to know themselves, to tie themselves to their roots. I have put roots down elsewhere, the past cannot hold me any longer. And yet, here I was, in a land that hadn’t been mine for a long time. Here I was in my sister’s house, the smell of fresh brewed coffee in my nose, looking out through streak free clean windows, reflecting the sparkling tile on the wall behind me, a tin of cookies on the table to accompany the first round of coffee for the day. This was where I recognized the familiar energy of my mother in my sister, an energy veiled deep inside me.
In my land of old, it is cold, wet. In my new land, I have surrounded myself with motherly warmth. In my new land, the cold only comes in short bursts, it doesn’t seep into the walls, it doesn’t leave its lingering smell of damp mold to tickle my nose. In my land of old, I shiver, my blood no longer thickened to withstand the cold blast around the corner of an old building. In my land of old, I have to move to maintain my energy against the flow of the water, the wind. I get to drink in only occasional sunshine. On my visit I saw groups of young girls bicycling on their way to school, flaunting their good looks against the dark crooked brick of history, against the dark cold glass mirror of modern design. I was once a young girl like that, sturdy, blond. Like them, I carried warmth inside me, a fire, feeding muscles, a rosy face. Like them, I had legs that could run down a dune, kick the water of the sea. Like them, I dressed myself in fashion until a young man plucked me away from the group, and opened a new world for me.
Love took me away to a new home, away from a land of water, wind and insidious moisture.
The sun in my new land lets me live with abandon, lets me find more than an orderly house along an orderly street in a historic town. I found mountains, forests, valleys, rocky cliffs, summers with endless sunshine, winters with a view of the snow. Love made life bigger, gave me a portal to another world.
I go back time and again to taste where I came from. To make the native language come alive in me again, to line my being with the flavors of the past. To find my mother. I carry her with me, every time, to my new land. She is the order in my home, the flavor in my stews, the smell of line dried clothing. She is the giving heart to my children, the white haired woman my grandchildren call Oma. The roaming energy of my father took me away from this land, the energy of my mother gives me a home in a land of my own.
I want there to be a miracle. A miracle for my sister to show me that we can go beyond the known, the scientifically determined statistics. I want to mess with the expected, to throw a beam of light, a laser into the order of things. I want to write my sister into being a miracle.
The unexpected does happen when you think you have reached the end of possibilities. I just found it, by recognizing my mother alive in me on this wet, windy spring morning with a touch of sun breaking through.