What Do I Want to Say?

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            I teach writing to children and I tell them that one of the ways we get new learning in life is through writing.  I know that to be true for myself.  It’s challenging for me to explain to 5th graders how they will learn as they write because we always think of writing as an output and not an intake.  But I know as they write more they will start to experience it.  Often, you learn what it is you want to say by writing about it. 
            What do I want to say today?  I’m going home to Washington State in a week, which makes my mind and emotions race a little.  If you don’t know me yet, I live and work in Tunis, Tunisia and if you have read my postings, you may have noticed that I write about my present or my far past, my beautiful childhood on a farm in Southern Colorado, but I only write about life on our farm on Lummi Island in Washington State when I’m there.  It’s because I need to have a temporary block on that attachment when I’m in Tunisia.  My sweet friend S and I talked about that this past week.  She is able to keep the Northwest world active in her life when she is overseas, checking newspapers, magazines, and blogs.  Not me.  I read about other things, but that is all too tender for me.  Now, I’m suddenly going at a time out of sequence (not an official holiday) and I’m letting myself imagine exquisite things like autumn:  waking up in a chilly house and making a fire in the fireplace, some windy, rainy, soggy-leaf-blowing weather.  I’m relishing running errands in our dear town of Bellingham that I know every corner of.  Mostly though, I’m thinking of going to meet with my doctor, which is why I’m going: for a little procedure.  This doctor’s office has hand sanitizer pumps every five feet and sometimes the receptionist will slip and call me “Hon” even though she’s maybe 20 years younger than me.  Maybe best of all is that he speaks English and I can have an in-depth conversation with him about my health and what we are going to do and I think I can trust him to handle it.  That sense of assurance and sterility are things I really want right now.
            I won’t have time to take in my larger family or American attachments.  If I could, I would go down to Colorado and have a few great days visiting with my parents who in their early 80s are still having adventures and definitely keeping a sense of humor.  I really miss them.  I didn’t get enough time with them last summer and I’m carrying that loss throughout this year.  I wish I could also see all of my siblings.  After we suddenly lost our brother over a year ago, I see more clearly the place we’ve had in each other’s lives and I think we may become closer and not more distant as we age.  My mom and dad are down working on our farm, getting it ready to plant according to the direction of the federal government in a farm subsidy plan.  I know that some of it will be in alfalfa and some will be in wild flowers, which I hope is an attempt to help rejuvenate the honeybee population in the world.  My brothers who live in Colorado have been coming down on their weekends to work beside my dad and I am envious.  I wish I could go, too.  My brother Erik took this picture last weekend.   
 This could have been a picture of my dad 50 years ago.  He loves to do challenging work, still, and I think he might believe that this program could just be the way that he and my mom can keep the farm for our family.  It would be wonderful if it happens that way, but we all want them to get what they need from it. 
            Did I figure out what I want to say?  I guess I’m not brave enough to actually point out some of my fears about how much longer these people and places will be there for me to see.  By the time I have a lifestyle where I can have some choices about my time, they might be gone.  I know I will have regrets and I don’t know what to do about that.  But again, I can’t go right now and I just hope everything can stay in place until I can get back there the next time.

One thought on “What Do I Want to Say?

  1. I wish I could post a comment as thoughtful as your post. But you said it. And you said it well. And I am just raising my cup of tea in a heartfelt and teary, "Hear hear, sister. Hear, hear." And I'm thinking hard on your trip and your "procedure." Truly hoping all is and will be–well.

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