I’m convinced that there is no more beautiful spot on earth on the first of June than Cherry Lane. It runs just south of my back yard. When the afternoon spills its light just before dusk, brilliant and lavish, the field grasses on the hillside seem lit from within, topped with flames of white fire. It’s holy. * There’s a stand of a half dozen aged poplar trees on the west side of the lane growing near a small culvert and behind a low, stone wall. The stones cracked free from some ancient lava flow, and now they rest one atop the other covered in lichen and last year’s moss. The poplar leaves rustle in the slightest breeze and always make the sound of a rushing mountain creek. The wet, pungent scent of poplar and the small watery roar instantly pulls me back to when I was a little girl. Dad would drive the old camper truck off onto random forest service roads in Colorado and while mom cooked lunch on the propane stove, we’d …
My insides are rustling in breezes making the scratching music of dry leaves on dead twigs.
It is a lonely, little song. Not much of a song at all. Just the skittering whispers of my spirit. The wind blowing through the holes, my experiences and knowledge and beliefs all scattered like garden detritus at my feet.
Barren. Bare twig. Dead leaf.
And I make a decision.
I’d rather the wind howl in my soul full of holes. At least the hollow moan is real. Undressed, unfilled, naked, waiting.
“He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me.” Psalm 18:19 It might have been 1975. My dress was navy blue with full, white sleeves. It’s hem rested above my knee and my new, white stockings looked sharp and fresh (although a bit wrinkly at the knees) all the way down to my Mary-Jane shoes. I was proud to stand beside my three older sisters for the pre-church photo. To match, to look like, to be like them was my highest aspiration. The sun made our eyes squint as we smiled for Daddy to snap the picture of us colored in blue and white and ready for church. My new dress, sewn by my mom, was also 100% wool. I itched. I squirmed. I scratched. I wriggled. All through Sunday School. By the end of the hymn-singing in Big Church, I was about insane. My fair, sensitive skin became inflamed and I had raw, red abrasions at all the seam lines, under my arms, along my torso and back. …
He called my story a sob story. That would make me the “sob-ber” –not really attractive. He then proceeded to call my story and how I told it –dumb. Three times dumb, said he. And it cut a little, like a strip of stray wood cuts the soft flesh of a palm, digging into the cutaneous layers, unwelcome. And my first response was to flush pink in a rush of hurt and anger. After all, I am my story and my story is I. And yours is you, is it not?