A.M. Wanderlust

3-13-11

 

James woke up in our bed this morning, and he refused to get out of it.

So I take his older brother, Henry, to the kitchen, where I drizzle some honey on his cereal. The sky is dark and the coffee takes too long. After packing his snack for kindergarten, I guide him through the rest of his morning routine.

With so much patience.

He wants to know if his teeth are clean. Can he wear a different shirt? Did I remember to send money for the Halloween Dance? He wants to wear a different pair of shoes.

“Daddy, it's just that I wore these shoes yesterday. And the day before that.”

We're all dying from the monotony, it seems.

And then I wonder how James is coping with his morning. I open the door. The room's dark. I can't see him, but I hear a voice.

“Daddy?” he calls. “I hear an airplane.”

His voice is soft like pyjamas. He's lying on his back, but his imagination has already crossed a few continents. Quite possibly, he's already had his breakfast with Boba Fett and Luke Skywalker.

“Yes,” I tell him, “I hear the plane, too.”

I take a seat beside him. And as we listen to this moving hum, I kind of remember how a little imagination before breakfast makes for a nicer way to travel.

 

Eyes to See

 

Recently, I decided to drive through Winnipeg's North End. I wanted to see for myself the part of the city that everyone tells me to avoid.

I saw heartache, felt it as a woman leaned against the dirty brick of an old hotel in a known prostitution district, where rooms are rented by the hour. Another woman with orange-red hair walked in front of my car. Her eyes gambolled beneath a glaze of overstimulation. She barely made it across the street. Old men with long, frizzy beards stood on the sidewalks, their net worth bundled up in shopping carts.

No one wants to see this desperation.

So we chase after the larger city, a Winnipeg lined with beauty. Continue reading

Love Believes First

Underneath a capricious prairie sky, we drive east along the Trans-Canada Highway.

The autumn sun is behind us. It pours out all it has left, in yellow and gold, and turns this concrete highway into a river of fire. But today as we drive home from Thanksgiving, we remember how to feel safe in the wispiness of clouds, remaining open to receive whatever comes our way, even as a dark and steely weight walks across the prairie and sets off whispers of a looming storm.

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Many thanks to my friend Jennifer Ferguson of Finding Heaving Today and s(He) Listens Ministries for inviting me to write a guest post for her ongoing marriage series. I hope you'll join me!

 

When the Light Turns Blue

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The coffee shop is a good place to begin a long walk of conversation. We begin ours with muddy Caffè Americanos.

Nate and I leave for a long walk along the canal. The trail leads us through melting snow and uncomfortable slush.

Occasionally, we stop, place our noses near our cups. Drink. And move on, stepping over a glassy black puddle whenever it comes.

I do most of the talking today, and the words roll off my tongue like vapory white ghosts. I watch how the voiceless thoughts take on new shapes when they’re delivered by the warmth of my breath.

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Super Bowls, Plates, and Trophies

When we arrived downtown, the fog was thick. Later that night, while we slept, the wind and rain hammered at two sides of the hotel.

And yet hundreds of conference attendees, the next morning, still drink coffee like strangers. 

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Moving

I used to talk to myself a lot during my college years. Maybe I had too much time on my hands. But our conversations were sometimes illuminating. 

Sometimes.
 
It was a sunny day, early in the fall semester. I sat beside a window on the library’s top floor. My limbs weighed heavy with pressing questions, the ones about distant destinations. From my oversized chair, I saw how the laurel oaks were shedding their leaves and already covering up paths. Was one of them mine?
 
I wanted out of that library.
 
The weight of my books didn’t matter. Back then, I needed only a single leather strap over my shoulder to tote around everything that mattered. My blue Jansport fit like a good home, still mobile enough for me to move.

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Rubbing My Eyes

I’ve been bludgeoning my students for years. It’s a hard lesson, but they’ve got to learn it.

“Look for the good,” I tell them, again and again, until they’re good and bloody.

So why am I so passionate in wielding this aphoristic club? Partly because, once upon a time, those daily swings of grace finally provoked me to get out of a pit. That movement first began with a single Post-it note nailed down to my desk at school. I determined to jot down a few good moments for which I could be thankful. In the beginning, I discovered them slowly.

One or two words at a time.

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