Poem from an empty nest

A redwood tree shades the slender daughter shooting up from her side: an apt metaphor, I think, or at least one that calms my heart. In a few weeks, my youngest child will leave home for college. I both hate and welcome this change. Every few days, a sudden nostalgia pulls at me when I am least prepared. The faint tunes of a familiar merry-go-round make my eyes tear up. My throat tightens when I pass the pumpkin patch lot, now empty.The playground nearby is newly remodeled, but I still hear the thrill in my young one’s voice calling out, “Look at me, mom! I’m flying!”

Leaning against the redwood’s scruffy bark, I blink away tears.The tall, quiet tree and the younger redwood growing from her side enlighten me. I cannot cling to the past, to the small warm fingers that reached for mine or the upturned face that beheld me as all-capable. The redwood trees, mother and daughter, anchorme for my task at hand: to applaud the young woman who I have nurtured from her tiniest beginning within me. I weep and Ipraise her both, for now I know. Entwined at the roots, we each reach for sky and light. We become, each in keeping with herdream. But the rootedness remains. For that I can be glad.

 

Lana Dalberg is a published author and leader of writing and spirituality workshops. In her book, Birthing God: Women’s Experiences of the Divine, and in her workshops, she empowers women to claim their innate connectedness to Spirit and to realize the sacred in their daily lives.

 


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