You walk in and out of storms, that’s all.  There doesn’t seem to be a language for the present time, for today or for yesterday, or tomorrow.

I’m learning to talk about my college years, three or five years ago, and that rests on me like a weight, comforting, like the wrist tied to the end of a balloon.  Of course, my mood swings, or these microbursts I keep entering and exiting, are about my frustration with not knowing how to understand the current time.  The revelation is that today is unknowable because it’s not yet formed; it’s still forming.  I listen to The Innocence Mission’s “I Haven’t Seen This Day Before” six hundred times in a row and cry my eyes out because it’s true, I don’t know what’s happening, because it’s not done happening.  I’m so stormily at peace with this, so peacefully at storm.

My birthday enters the past, I leave it and enter the future.  I’ve lived, as far as I know, 25 years.

My little sister opens her heart to me like a flower and I am struck inwardly, all my nerves and synapses vibrating with the blow, this surprise of joy.  Haven’t I been living like the world didn’t hold surprises of joy anymore?  My little brother is becoming a man and I am struck inwardly.  For my birthday, Marshall’s mother gave me her first sewing machine, the one she sewed her wedding dress on, and I’m struck like a key, like a bell.

I discover that my smallest gestures and words, even the places I walk and my movements in secret are held in the mind of God.  I discover that my solitary walks in childhood were watched, that my expressions are noticed even now, every word I write is read by God, every ache or shudder is seen, and read, by the watchful eye of God, and kept in the secret place, to be understood in a later time.  I feel the truth of this.

The day after my birthday, I went to Cherokee Park and watched the sun move toward the horizon.  The grass spread green and viral to the river, glistening like a beach in the Emerald City.  I couldn’t believe that I was allowed to live, for how little I had to show for my 25 years.  Scars.  Fear.  Some organized rows of books, some organized beds of flowers, some essays on gender theory and neo-formalism.  Some poems, some gestures of kindness, some irreparable harm.  I drove away in a daze, the benediction of the beauty of the world having such power to awaken hope.  The beauty of the world corresponding directly to the beauty of God.

“If I could I would break into flower, if I could I would no longer be barren. […]  Oh mourning dove, we’ll go up to my roof.  Oh mourning dove, we’ll go into the sky.  This day is filling up my room, is coming through my door.  Oh, I have not seen this day before.”  from Birds of My Neighborhood