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The quintessential American experience

Two adults, two kids

A car, a tent

The open road in summer.

 

Re-creating the vacations of our youth

My spouse and I take our children

Into the expanse of the West.

 

Unlike some friends,

We have qualms about sending our children forth

To grandparents, to camps, away,

For weeks, months, at a time.

Instead, here we are,

In the bubbles of our own creating–

The tent and the car surrounding,

Protecting,

Entrapping us.

 

What is being learned?

Who are the teachers?

Who the students?

 

Growing,

Exploring,

Conquering fears together.

 

The elder and I climb a dangling ladder in the Badlands

Temporarily suspending ourselves and our fear of heights.

The younger marvels at every creature,

sunset, flower,

And we see the marvelous landscape anew.

We climb and relive past ways,

Candlelight in a deep cave

doused to make us face what we cannot see

and see what we hesitate to face.

The relics of the past,

Animal, human,

All made this trek,

pushing themselves to these places.

In the snowy mountains,

we encounter our physical limitations,

while agape at the glory around us.

All peoples imagine their gods in the heights

and we too feel as if we have met mysteries.

 

Somehow, the problems we encounter—

storms, sibling fights, timing, tempers—

all pale in the memory.

Instead, we are left with connections,

built on gossamer threads of experiences shared.

Glad to be home,

Joyful in the knowledge

That we can be more than we often are,

That together we are more than individuals.

Family.

(c)Lydia A. Schultz 2009

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Grainy black and whites

Fading, magenta, old color ones

Frozen in time

Faces and places

That I have spent my life

Trying to animate.

 

Like Doctor Frankenstein

I try to breathe life

into the long dead.

 

The corners curl in awkward scrapbooks

The nameless faces behind the glass

The sepia tones of the photo flapper and her mate

Encircled in a broken locket

With a picture of their firstborn.

 

I’ve always listened to the stories

Even the ones I wasn’t supposed to hear,

Things that only made sense

years later.

 

I want to know them, to interview them,

But almost all died before I came.

So listening is what I did.

 

And now, before it goes,

I write their lives, their stories.

Because in discovering,

Uncovering,

Recovering them,

I find myself,

my purpose.

I am quite literally a part of them.

They are my heritage;

This is my legacy.

The stories are all I have.

 

(c)Lydia A. Schultz