Mentors and Monarchs (I)

Mentors and Monarchs

When the trampoline of city life has bounced me up and down enough to blur the sky and soil, I go home. back to my roots in the trees and the hills and the river that anchors. I've been home twice this in the past month.

It's funny how we can feel like home never changes - that life around it moves like the planets around this sun and this warm place, that keeps us alive is in forever stable on it's axis.

But it is of course, this is not so and grounding can only happen within the ephemeral space of the spirit.

One of my trips home was on Easter weekend. My father and his girlfriend had decided to create a scavenger­-style Easter egg hunt for my sister and I. Writing these words, 'my father's girlfriend', still feels new to me, even though my mother left this world seven years ago. This is a shadow on our sun, whose lines and from I am still learning to trace, and embrace.

The clues to the hiding places of our treats were pinned to pictures from our family photo album. To figure out where to find out treats we had to remember and recount the story associated with the picture. For instance, one picture was of my sister and I with insanely short bangs, and I had to recount the events leading up to our avant-garde hairstyles whereby I locked my sister and I in the bathroom and cut our bangs myself.

We ran around the house that Sunday with our bellies full of chocolate and aching with laughter over our family antics, hearts filled with both of our parents, our grandparents, old family friends and this incredible new woman who, in her desire to forge these new relationships and become a part of our family's future, helped us touch our past.

If we are actually only remembering something based on the last time we remembered it, (rather that that not debunked idea that we are recalling the actual event), then we should be telling way more stories. Storytelling is the foundation of our identities, our social consciousness, our family bonds - how we make sense of ourselves and our lives, how we lay the past to rest, revive what we have lost.

My father's girlfriend gave me a card with this image, shown above. The artist's name is Loyan Mani (meaning 'walk beyond') and the work was inspired by a canoe trip where the artist became engulfed in a dark cloud. At first she was frightened, and then, she realized that the cloud was made of thousands of monarch butterflies.

I left home with a sense that this is how life presents us beauty sometimes: what at first seems to be darkness, might indeed reveal itself as something light. The years of chaos and pain, the struggle to keep our family 'world' together, has now brought us a new family member, who now stands in the sunlight of our home, her form is full of love and compassion and she cast a beautiful shadow on us, like the most perfect hug.

Going home for Easter was a reminder and a recognition that present change can bring us closer to our past and that our past will always guide our future. After Easter, I knew that going home no long had to hurt.