Meg had a track meet. Of course, it started early and we had to be there even an hour earlier. It was cloudy, cool, threatening to rain on us again. Last year there were lightning storms and tornadoes in the nearby sky. I did not want to be there, then. I did not want to be there this year. I am a horrible parent/friend fan, a burnt out one.
All Meg’s ( and my ) favorite friends of hers were there competing. I see them all the time. At school, at our house, at theirs. Today, I saw them all differently, better. I saw sweet Maggie, whose love for Meg holds her no matter what comes. Maggie is Meg’s steadfast forever, who is more excited for Meg’s victories than Meg or even her mama. Alex, who broadens Meg’s world and reminds me of me before I let them run me far on past what seemed sane and true and good. Alex, who sat with me and talked call to care and to be there for those who need. Alex, who will not miss her moment, or the opportunity to sit aside another in his or hers. Payton, who has all the answers and shares them as generously as Meg shares her two sandwiches with him at lunch everyday. Payton who every day grows more humble and more gracious and more kind. Payton, who will help Meg, I know, and will offer all in his hand when the wind blow the other direction. And it will.
As soon as I saw them, today, this fair weather fan decided to stay on and watch, all day, to see what they would show me and us all. I hope when I hugged her like my own, spoke with trust to her like the old soul she is, and fed him in Meg’s stead, that they realized that my time and interactions with them were life-giving to me. Yes, they ran well, jumped far, bested their times tremendously. But, more than that, they loved me well and let me love them in return.
And in the down times, when none of them were on the track or field, I got a few of my own miles in, too.
It took me only a few minutes out of the parking lot to realize that something had shifted since I had been (walking) in Birmingham. The pears had flowered… even before I saw them, their scent caught me. It is not a favorite scent of mine or many. It is a sickening sweet, with a rough edge to it which is all at once everywhere. People plant those things in yards and along roadways and in parking lots. When they flower, all the world knows so.
I took a few tentative steps beyond the black top aside the stadium and they assaulted me, first the scent and then the white flowers were also in my face. I dropped my head to block both and saw a green, new, deep and dark upon the dirt. It gave under my tread and spoke silently, “it will be good…to say you know me.” – JM