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Love is a place

love is a place & through this place of love (with brightness of peace) all places   yes is a world & through this world of yes live (skillfully curled) all worlds        e.e. cummings

I love seeing you through the eyes of Source!   Abraham-Hicks

For one week in August, each summer during my little girls years, my family packed up the old powder blue ’57 Chevy stationwagon, said good-bye to the cove and the salt air and the big red lobster boat that took us out on all our ocean adventures, and we traveled inland and west for two hours to the White Mountains on the Maine/New Hampshire border, to our Swedenborgian church’s summer camp in Fryburg, Maine.  I loved Fryburg — that’s what we called the summer camp and all the fun that we had there.  I loved the smell of the white pines and the sound of the June bugs on our cabin’s screen window.  I loved the grapefruit juice that we drank for breakfast out of tiny paper cups and the ice cream sandwiches that we ate each evening for desert.  I loved swimming each afternoon in the fresh mountain waters of the Saco River.  And most of all, I loved the expansive front porch connected to the camp’s main building that overlooked the lawn and the river and the mountains beyond.  It wasn’t the actual porch that I loved with its rocking chairs lined up in a row; it was the old women who sat in those chairs.   There was Grandma Helen and my Great Aunt Florence and Miss Spinney, so many old women, not just my grandma but all the grandmas and great aunts and the spinster women who became like aunts and grandmas to us kids as well.

It was like a giant hug to scamper up on that porch and chat with the old ladies.  And they did seem like old ladies in their silken dresses and sensible shoes, with their canes and their walkers.  I don’t remember them moving around much.  I don’t remember them joining us as we traipsed down the pine needle path to the river  for our afternoon dips, or as we ventured out on mid-week Excursion Days to climb Jockey Cap or visit Storyland or Wooley’s Animal Park.  What I do remember, however, is the line-up on the porch, the way that these women were present and eager to hear about our adventures.  It was up the hill and a beeline to that porch that I ran the day that I paddled and kicked, my mother at my side, out over my head and across the river the summer that I was seven.  I couldn’t wait to tell my grandma and my great aunt and all the other women.  They were my cheerleaders.  They were my Sunday School and my God connection.  I, the squirmy on-the-go girl, leaned up against Grandma Helen and breathed a little deeper as I watched her knit and watched her purl, knit and purl, knit and purl.  And we talked about things, the old ladies and I, and somehow, I, as a young youngster forged friendships with these women in their seventies and eighties that reached far beyond the boundaries of summers at Fryburg.  Miss Spinney sent me presents, all the Little House books and a beautiful baby doll, and I, in my early elementary school scrawl, wrote her letters.  Aunt Florence, who lived near Harvard in Boston, and I shared a love for baseball and the Red Sox and Yaz and Rico, and we, too, wrote each other letters.  And now, all these decades later, it is in my cells, in my body’s memory, that smell of that mountain air mingling with the smell of Jean Nate, mingling with the sound of shaky sweet voices and a love that flowed freely, that still flows freely as I think about the porch and Fryburg and the old ladies who exuded this love; it is a generous dependable love and I now carry it forward into this precious life that I am living.

And it is precious, this life that I am living, so rich and full and expansive.  And there are moments and days in this precious life that feel like desert, the ice cream sandwich days of a well-lived life.  I’ve just had a string of those delicious ice cream sandwich days, just returned from a visit to another mountain range, not the eastern range of my childhood summers at church-camp, but a western one, the Rockies.  And now, though I carry her with me, I’m not the little girl visiting the front porch at Fryburg, but the grandmother, and it was Viren, my twelve week old grandson, who I was visiting.  For three days, while his mom, Shelly,  was focusing on some work-related things, I had the honor of hanging out with Viren, just the two of us, for hours on end.  And although I like to think of myself as a hip modern grandmother, the 2012 version, twenty years younger than the women in the chairs on the porch, a grandmother whose sensible shoes are Tiva flip flops and Merrill barefoot runners, a grandmother who loves to be on the move and dreams of jumping around in a punk band, I get it; I’m with them, the old ladies of my youth.  I’m saying to them, “Oh, I see now.  This is what it is like to adore someone, to witness their delight and feel your own, to soak in the way that they love and trust and see you as the soulful sacred being that you really are, and know that you, too, are capable of loving them back.  I get it, that the boundaries are blurry, that you are not just the giver, but also the receiver of so much love.”

I’m with the old ladies of my youth as I venture into this new grandmother territory, and, yet, I’m not needing to mimic them.  I, the squirmer, the chatter, the lover of movement, the grandma, who never quite caught on to Grandma Helen’s knitting and purling or her ability to sit still for hours, did just fine being me, did just fine being me as I soaked in Viren being himself.  He loves to stretch on the floor, to reach his arms behind him and straighten his muscle-pudgy legs and grimace a grimace of pleasure.  And sometimes I love to stretch out, too.  And sometimes we would stretch together, and sometimes he’d lie there with his head cocked to the side and watch as I grimaced my pleasure-filled grimace and stretched my body long, and then he’d smile, that charming Viren smile that he shares so generously.  And he loves to talk, sometimes softly, in a coo and a gurgle, especially when he’s tired and cuddly or satiated after a feeding.  And sometimes he shrieks and squeals and squawks as loudly as any punk rocker, and I, like the cheerleading ladies of my girlhood, revel in his stories and songs.  And always, I’m not kidding you, when he is awake, his eyes are bright and  blueberry blue and they see right into you and I realize now that it doesn’t matter what he is saying, doesn’t matter what he is doing.  When you love like that, when you see someone through the eyes of Source, it’s as good as an afternoon on the front porch, as good as a white pine breeze and an ice cream sandwich for desert.

Viren’s roll

Grandma and Viren at the Farmer’s Market

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