I remember sitting on the deck at the farm. I was soon to fly away to the place where I truly became a woman. Not yet married, no home to call my own, except the one I was about to leave. My eyes were closed. I was listening to the rush of waves in the trees.
Soon after I found myself standing by the sea, eyes closed, listening to the whispering of leaves in the waves. Childhood far behind me, and yet so close.
Today, I am again sitting on the deck. Today, I am holding my baby boy, and in his breathing I hear both the leaves and the waves. The past and the future are fused in this small body—everything I dreamed he would be, and more. Yes, day by day he becomes greater than the child I hoped to hold. Like his sister.
I wrote about them, pictured myself wading through creeks with them, picking berries with them. And here they are. Blueberry eyes and honey hair. We live a different life than the one I dreamed about. Our home is not a rustic cabin. But we live by a farmer’s field. White owls ghost through our yard in the twilight and hoot by moonlight. Deer fold their legs and rest beneath our trees.
We spend hours outside together, browning in the prairie sun, dawdling in time with the small-town pace. Every now and then, we find treasure; we carry a bird nest home. There are sweet apples and tart cherries to pick. My girl skips through puddles and fills her boots with murky water. At the playground, my boy climbs up and down, up and down. He eats sand and grins. We wait for the train to come thundering by, a riot of graffiti. And when we pass through the cemetery on our way home, we always keep our eyes on the giant evergreens that brood over the gravestones—hoping to glimpse the Great Horned owl. Even if we whisper, there’s no hearing the silent beat of his wings. Better luck next time.
No, it isn’t what I dreamed. And I don’t mind at all.