Where have I been?

by Elouise

Floating to the surface
Gasping for air
Seeking the sun
Tethered to my roots
By a single umbilical cord
Drifting but not far from home
Dancing in the sunlight
Unfurling my heart to the sky
Far above I rest floating
For what feels like a heartbeat
Of undiluted peace and contentment

* * *

For the last two days, D and I were visiting with my uncle and his wife of many years. My uncle, born in 1930, is only 13 years older than I. More in my generation than my father’s generation. I can’t say when I’ve felt as deeply connected to my extended family.

Cross-generational connections were rare in my childhood. Grandparents were always ‘too far away’ for frequent visits. Uncles, aunts and cousins were sometimes near in my very early years, but most times far away. There was no instant communication except via long-distance phone calls priced way beyond my parents’ means.

I have memories that reach beyond my family of origin and my immediate family. I don’t, however, have a regular thread of connection with most members of my extended family. I’m grateful for years when D and I lived reasonably close to family members on both sides of the family. Something happened in our visits that could never happen via letters or even phone calls.

What is it about? Something about family pride and learning that gets passed on. It’s also about strong family ties and greater appreciation for the quirkiness or difficulties of this or that family member, including my own strangeness. It’s even better when D is in the mix as he was this time. I usually come away feeling better understood by him, and even vindicated from time to time! Not a small thing.

When I logged into my computer this morning, my desktop background showed a gorgeous lake in Oregon with green lily pad leaves floating on their long, swaying umbilical cords, drinking in the sun. An image of life and contentment with being who we’re meant to be, together. And then letting go.

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 19 August 2015