I am a person who is always searching for a way in. A starting point. An origin. This wars with my intellectual understanding that there are no origins – that every story is in medias res – but there you have it. My wife and I created this blog to track a journey, but this moment in no way marks the beginning of that journey. My guess is that in the months to come, J and I will speak to some of the things that brought us here – our meeting, our marriage, our desire for a family, our personal/political/intellectual/emotional responses to being human/American/lesbians/academics/hopeful moms, but I don’t think (though we both love order) that it will all come out neatly or chronologically, and that’s okay. I want to let the story we tell here unfold.
Still, I am a person who is always searching for a way in, so here’s one in the form of two poems. The first is “A Blessing,” by James Wright. My wife gave me this poem – hand wrote it in her small, perfect script inside of a card, which she does from time to time – in the early months of our relationship. It is from these lines that we drew the name of this blog.
Just off the highway to Rochester, Minnesota,
Twilight bounds softly forth on the grass.
And the eyes of those two Indian ponies
Darken with kindness.
They have come gladly out of the willows
To welcome my friend and me.
We step over the barbed wire into the pasture
Where they have been grazing all day, alone.
They ripple tensely, they can hardly contain their happiness
That we have come.
They bow shyly as wet swans. They love each other.
There is no loneliness like theirs.
At home once more,
They begin munching the young tufts of spring in the
I would like to hold the slenderer one in my arms,
For she has walked over to me
And nuzzled my left hand.
She is black and white,
Her mane falls wild on her forehead,
And the light breeze moves me to caress her long ear
That is delicate as the skin over a girl’s wrist.
Suddenly I realize
That if I stepped out of my body I would break
The reasons this poem speaks to us are numerous and complex. Do with it what you will. Sometimes I feel I can read this and know what it must be to exist as these ponies. Today I feel more like the speaker, and this day is a gift.
The second poem was read to us by a wonderful friend (a poet herself) at our wedding. It is “From Blossoms” by Li-Young Lee.
From blossoms comes
this brown paper bag of peaches
we bought from the boy
at the bend in the road where we turned toward
signs painted peaches.
From laden boughs, from hands,
from sweet fellowship in the bins,
comes nectar at the roadside, succulent
peaches we devour, dusty skin and all,
comes the familiar dust of summer, dust we eat.
O, to take what we love inside,
to carry within us an orchard, to eat
not only the skin, but the shade,
not only the sugar, but the days, to hold
the fruit in our hands, adore it, then bite into
the round jubilance of peach.
There are days we live
as if death were nowhere
in the background; from joy
to joy to joy, from wing to wing,
from blossom to blossom to
impossible blossom, to sweet impossible blossom.
This moment in our lives is about creation. Whoever you are – you who are reading this – it brings me joy to share this with you.