Prodigal Daughter

Prodigal Daughter in Telluride
A Prodigal Daughter in Telluride with sparkles and face paint.

Yesterday the rains returned, ending our days in the sun for the time being. We came back from our Southwest travels only to dive straight into some needed kinwork. Then last week I was gifted the opportunity to go to Breitenbush for a writing workshop taught by my friend Amy. Even though I had never met the fellow writers in the class, they were all people brave enough to be open and vulnerable. By the end I wondered how to crowd them all into my heart. (BTW I highly recommend the class- she teaches it in spring and fall.) This week flew by, I’m not quite sure what happened.  So now it has been a month since my last confession I mean post. It is amazing how quickly time passes. I feel a bit like I need to do penance. Our travels felt extravagant – the landscape in the Southwest is so incredibly spectacular that at times we could scarcely breathe with the wonder of it. We soaked it all up as best we could. Our photographs can not do justice to the grandeur. The smells of the mountain forests felt like soul food. The desert was like dreaming. Perhaps the magnetic field of the Earth is changing, because I feel a pull I didn’t feel before. How can my heart be in two places at once? And yet it somehow is.

Dead Ponderosa Pine on N-Bar Ranch.
Dead Ponderosa Pine on N-Bar Ranch.
La Ventana Arch in the El Malpais.
La Ventana Arch in the El Malpais.
Rainbow in Paradox Valley Colorado
Rainbow with Couch.  Paradox Valley Colorado
Impossibly beautiful Telluride
Impossibly beautiful Telluride
Sunset on the way to Santa Fe
Sunset on the way to Santa Fe

We spent some wonderful time with both family, and with two sisters of my heart.  The trip was all about visits. First spending 5 days with my sister Maggie, seeing for the first time the incredible land where she lives- it was hard to leave her. Then to Colorado to be with Betsy and her little tribe. Joe and the Boys departed from there without me, driving to Texas to see Joe’s family. We all reunited in Sante Fe, where we stayed with my friend Gaëlle, who I hadn’t seen for many years- and yet it felt so normal and natural to all be together. We spent a day laughing.  The trip has me thinking a lot about time and distance and love.

Maggie working with Sam to Saddle a horse.
Maggie working with Sam to saddle a horse- She was very patient with us greenhorns.
The Boys with Joe's Folks.
The Boys with Joe’s Folks in Texas where they had a wonderful time connecting.
Dear friends.
Dear friends in Santa Fe

If I needed confirmation that time is an illusion – and that bonds of the heart are lasting – this trip provided it. I am humbled by how when someone really sees us truly – it does’t matter how much time passes- because the essential self is waiting to reconnect when given the opportunity.  Though I haven’t lived near my sister Margaret since I was ten, I still feel like I want to follow her around all day. Betsy’s beautiful children have grown two years since the last time we got together, and yet all the kids fell in with each other, instantly thick as thieves.  Seeing Gaëlle was perhaps the most striking example of the insignificance of time apart. We estimated that it has been 18 years since we hung out, and yet it could well have been last week. We are all so entwined.

Writer feet
Writer feet

These months of Riding the Pooka have brought about the opening of my heart-  more and more and more. The trip to the Southwest, the kinwork waiting for us at home, the writing workshop at Breitenbush; all feel like the most recent high tides of love.  Love rising up- and completely saturating everything, then departing tips the tide out, leaving a keen sense of loss behind like shells on the beach.  So from where I stand now, at the end of this week, I feel just a bit bedraggled.  It seems that it is possible to feel both wildly fortunate and melancholy at the same time. The returning rains after such a glorious summer make it easy.   The work before me is to come home to myself and to reconcile the effects of a far flung heart that has loved immoderately.



One Comment Add yours

  1. Sue S says:

    “Penance”? it’s so true, one is always a Catholic!

    Your journal writings read like very well-written letters. You are very gifted in invoking a sense of intimacy in your writing, evevn though it’s a public “blog”. And your photographs are remarkable as well–the couch under the rainbow, the shot of your sister, Margaret, who looks very like a Sullivan, with beautiful Sam, saddling a horse….Did Sam get to ride?

    I chanced to find your father’s obituary in the Gladwin paper last night, looking for stuff about the Quebequois Catholic immigration to Michigan you told me about. He sounds like an interesting man, a great physician, with a complex, somewhat twisted sense of humor, reminiscent of yours….

    I am so thankful for your beautiful writing, Iris. It’s growing leaps and bounds!

    Much Love,

    Sue S

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