Where they can find you

Poetry and hums aren’t things which you get, they’re things that get you.  And all you can do is go where they can find you.”

– AA Milne

I’ve been thinking about these lines since my friend Garrett reminded me of them a few weeks ago.

This is as good as any summary I’ve read of what my life is essentially about: going where life’s outrageous beauty can find me.  Remaining open to the poetry that exists in every day.  That sounds simple, or at least unequivocal: who wouldn’t want to be open?  Who wouldn’t choose that?

For me at least, though, it’s not that clear, nor very simple at all.  Going to where the poems can find me entails a great deal of pain.  A couple of weeks ago, I was folding laundry on a rainy Sunday night.  Matt walked in to find me sitting on the floor by the base of our bed, a blue t-shirt of Whit’s clutched to my chest.  My face was streaked with tears.  In alarm he looked at me and asked what was going on.  I held the shirt to my cheek and looked at him mournfully.

“This is a baby Gap size 4T t-shirt.  I remember buying it with Whit.  He was home sick, and we went to Harvard Square in the afternoon, just to get some fresh air.  He picked this shirt out.”  Matt nodded slowly at me.  “I won’t ever get that day back,” my voice caught in my throat.  “And I won’t ever buy him a shirt from baby Gap.  He is too big now.”  I shook the shirt out, looking at the robot on the front.  I could reach back and feel that day, turn it over in my palm, the memory visceral, real.  But also: gone.

“Lindsey,” My husband shook his head.

“I know.  Do you think most people get tearful when they fold the laundry?”  I wiped at my face as fresh tears streaked down.

“No.  I’m pretty sure they don’t.”

That is the poetry of life right there, isn’t it?  The swift passage of the years, the brilliant, mundane, heartbreaking contents of a day, the blue robot tee shirt that contains in its soft cotton folds a memory of a long-ago day when my blond son held my hand as we climbed the Gap stairs.  So much poetry.  And so much heartache.  The poems and hums can find me, there’s no question about it.  I wouldn’t have it any other way, but it’s not easy.  It is never, ever easy.

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  1. Posted November 26, 2012 at 8:14 am | Permalink

    Beautiful. So much meaning contained in such a small memory. The smallest moments after have a reverberating impact, don’t they?

  2. Posted November 26, 2012 at 9:18 am | Permalink

    I lost myself in the unexpectedly perfect scent of a packed away onesie. I think there is so much life between won’t ever get back and can’t ever be unlived. There has been beauty, and still it live, Lindsey. The tears are proof of that.

  3. Posted November 26, 2012 at 9:52 am | Permalink

    I have laundry moments too. : )

    A friend reminded me of this today:

    “When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.” ~Kahlil Gibran

  4. Posted November 26, 2012 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

    It’s funny the moments that find you. I was not at all nostalgic or sentimental when O was a baby. Now with my little girl, I find myself caught in moments where I can feel the memories forming. It’s like I’m already in the future, mourning that she no longer smells like this, or is little enough to wrap all of her up in one arm like I can now.

    The superficial part of me thinks that the point of your post is that I should head over to Baby Gap and buy some cute clothes while I still can, right? 🙂

  5. Posted November 26, 2012 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

    I’m pretty sure that doing laundry is a crucible for all passage-of-time related emotion. It is for me, at least. I had a robot t-shirt moment of my own yesterday when I contemplated the fact that my daughter, my last baby, is about to move out of clothes that are sized in months and into clothes that are sized in T’s. Oh, the little and big things that tug at our hearts. xo

  6. Posted November 26, 2012 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

    never easy, never. but oh, the hums and the gaps, the pauses and fleeting…so essential, so emotional, poetry at its finest.

  7. Posted November 26, 2012 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

    So many memories make of our lifetimes. Each of them precious. They grow up so fast…

  8. Posted November 26, 2012 at 9:32 pm | Permalink

    “going where life’s outrageous beauty can find me.”

    You are so, so brave!!

    Gus is now in 4T and it breaks my heart every day because he used to wear 4 month clothes. I want them to hold my hand up the stairs forever and it kills me that they won’t.

  9. Posted November 27, 2012 at 5:50 am | Permalink

    Oh my… While I must admit, I have never cried when folding laundry, I do know just what you are feeling. I keep some of the girls’ baby clothes on a top shelf of a closet and pull them out sometimes just to marvel at their smallness… And what a gorgeous quote- love it!

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