It seems this weekend was a mere blink of my eyes. And now I'm home, my heart and mind full like my stomach after a wonderful meal.
I am tired in the lovely way one is when sated. In the way you might be if you flew away from home to meet in real life six online friends with whom you've written and confessed some of your innermost nuggets and fears and dreams for many moons now.
For thirty-six hours, you share your quotidian meals, kleenexes and a giant bowl of M&Ms, getting to know these women and the varied cadences of their voices and work.
You laugh uproariously and don bathing suits and jump in a chilly pond. You share hugs and nods of understanding, you sit with them in the moments that are hard or sad or surprising.
You peer at their handwriting and think about how it doesn't look like what you thought it would, and how could you have known anyway but you were so sure it was loopy when it's austere, slanted when it's straight.
You create private jokes that will make you all laugh long after you've left the little sanctuary of an overgrown garden in Amherst.
You pack your bag, and like your stomach after that meal, it's heavier than it was when you left. When the appetizer was first placed in front of you. You are leaving with a just-broken-in notebook, a compilation of poems, shimmering bracelets, notes and a pouch of lavender and stones that smells so good you consider taping it to your cheek. You hold these things, fingering them as if they are sense memories, and you smile.
You look out of your airplane window and wonder if at that moment they see the same clouds you do. You land and head toward your family and wonder what your friends' own reunions will be like.
You consider the connections people didn't get to make before the internet allowed us to ignore geography and distance. You realize that although you sometimes resent technology and the incessant pings and beeps and flags, without it you wouldn't feel full in this way right now. And you give thanks.
Our poem (each woman wrote her own lines of this
only knowing the single line that immediately preceded the blank space
waiting for her; once done, it was read aloud, and we were all amazed
by its cohesiveness and beauty.)
When I decided to dive into the pond
Is that a leech?
Does my ass look big in this pond?
The cattails bent and waved and then they sang.
They sang separately, on their own.
Together though, when one listens closely, there is symphony among them.
Harmony and cattails, wildflowers and a secret garden... serene.
We swam in the pond and I stood on the dam wall.
She worried I would fall into the waterfall.
I wanted to. Wanted to feel the water wash over me baptismally,
cleaning away the accumulated sludge of the day.
Washed clean, down the drain, the sun kissing her bare
skin in the outside shower, face to the sky.