01 July 2013

A prayer to the god of new beginnings

True to its deep nature, again this spring the world burst into bloom all around the farmhouse where Dave and I live. A small woods borders our house on two sides. In drear months we see the houses north of us. Come spring, however, the trees begin to green. First, soft yellow-green fuzz and a smattering of sea foam on the woodland floor. Then we go to bed on one night and wake up to windows shuttered with leaves a hundred shades of green. Bye, bye, neighbors. See you in November.

Meanwhile, we feast our eyes on an ever-changing array of color. My retiree husband has a green thumb. (Mine’s flame orange; I manage to kill even cacti.) Dave has fashioned garden spots across our yard, filled each bed with perennials that bloom variously throughout the growing season. Something flowers from early spring to late fall. Weekdays, if the weather is decent, we lunch outside when I come home over the noon hour.

June 6 this year marked the thirtieth anniversary of my wedding a woman, and the start of a long chain of events set in motion by this decision. My mood was somber, my thoughts heavy that Thursday through the egg salad sandwiches, carrot and celery sticks, and chocolate cake Dave had prepared. Our shared meal over, I nosed the car onto the road. A moment later I braked, stopped waving goodbye and instead beckoned for Dave to come look. Smack dab in the middle of the road stood two newborn fawns. Little dinky things, no bigger than a minute. Brown and caramel-colored, their sides dotted with rows of white. Spindly legs, big eyes and ears. Their mother stood at attention on the other side of our farm gate, head held high, ears forward.

I watched a long while, then eased the car forward; I had to get back to work. The twin fawns ran toward the gate. One edged up alongside the fence; the other panicked and stopped in the clear, threw its legs akimbo and tried to bury its nose in the dirt. I slid by, marveling all the while. One can live long in such moments, witness to wonder.

So. When I went out to feed the chickens the other morning I found two sparrow hatchlings fluttering against a windowpane in the barn. Their parents had made a nest in the rafters near the poultry quarters. These young’ns had tried their wings, knew enough to want the blue freedom of sky, but hadn’t mastered the trick of flying up to the opening at the top of the window frame. I thought they might scatter at my approach, but they they stayed put. I raised the glass. One immediately flew out and perched on a low branch. The other beat against the pane even as it lifted. Exhausted, the little bird finally dropped to the sill, found open the way of escape. It landed on the ground in the tall grass. I listened to the two of them twittering.

I breathed a prayer to the god of headlong flight and new beginnings. “May you fare well,” I said aloud and thought of the dozen or more gay men whose coming out I have been privileged to witness. For me, there is no moment so holy, no movement so fraught with portent as when one is coming in/out to oneself, saying “yes” to what is, to life, to wholeness and being. Facing the unknown, answering a call deep within, no guarantee of success, but a decision nonetheless to live true, real.

May we all be so brave and responsive. May we all in season answer the call to burst forth, wobble, run, spread wings, perhaps even fly.

This essay appears in the July issue of The Community Letter
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