There are pictures everywhere.
There are still baking products with handwritten dates on them. All of them have expired except the few I bought last Christmas, for cookies never made.
There are plants still growing that were given long ago--some more thirsty than others.
There are clothes left hanging, clothes folded in bags, clothes put away long ago and forgotten about. Someday soon they will all breathe fresh air, it's just a matter of when.
There is a stream in the backyard which flows, freshly strengthened from a hired pair of healthy hands and legs.
There is grass that is growing as I type. It thrives next to millions of dead, yellow blades.
There are vines slowly killing the trees. The hunter grows faster than the prey and so it, if left unchecked, will endure a long, slow torture.
There are closets filled with products--some frivolous and capricious, some practical and necessary.
There are presents never given.
There are boxes never closed.
There is paper never cut, never folded, never taped.
There are bags with wrapping, given back and forth for years on end. The tape marks tell the story.
There are bows that have been used many times. There are bows that have never seen their intended recipient, not that they were bought for someone in particular. Anyone who was a friend could have been the intended party; some were meant for complete strangers.
There are papers with phone numbers. Some were written to remind for only a short time in the future, some were written to never be forgotten, some were long ago memorized. Why throw away the templates? They almost have a life of their own.
There are some numbers that will soon be dialed.
There are some people who won't pick up the phone. It's a tough habit to break once you start doing it, not that it is without its benefits.
There are plates in the cupboard; some were never used, some were used three times a day, some are so old they could have fed five generations.
There are the animals on both sides of the glass.
There are the figurines made of melted sand, for that is what glass is.
There is the short walk to the beach which I used to take every Thanksgiving and Christmas to collect my thoughts and ponder what may lie ahead in the new year. I didn't do it last year, now I wish I had.
There are the tears on my hands, on my sleeves, on my shirts, on the floor, on my cheeks, on my lips, and on my tongue; soon those will become born again and have a chance to land elsewhere. Such is the cycle of water.
And there is now.
And there is this now, once removed.
And for the love of god, I am alive and I have the power of a million suns. And they can either grow the food to feed a planet, or burn skin red and blistered which I feel I do in equal amounts.
Thank goodness the night eventually comes to settle me down.
And at this present moment, twice removed from what came mere sentences ago, I can feel the joy I have felt for as long as my lungs have breathed fresh air, when I came to be known as Frederick Alexander Johnson, and I was held up to the light and given to the unpredictability of life.
And a family smiled and cried.
And some things never change.
This is dedicated to Judith Ann Johnson (May 14, 1941-Jan 11, 2007) who may have wished my words to be a bit less dark.
But that's only because she was such pure light.
Happy Mothers Day Mom. I miss you more than you could ever know. Although, perhaps I am being presumptive.
Love forever and ever,