A Hope Chest of Light Keeping

Earthy and holy both

I want a house on the beach made of cedar shakes and a squeaky porch door that slams shut as I run in and out barefooted and laughing.
I want a big picnic table out back with strings of party lights up in the tree branches, blinking slowly like the stars beyond.
I want friends and family coming over for supper, stretching slowly into the evenings, sticky with lemonade as the sun sets amber behind the pines.
We use peppermint sticks as straws here, and fill old jam jars with wild honeysuckles.
I want the whole small space to smell like salt and sugar and vinegar and the sheets to be faded floral patterns all mismatched and drying on the line once a week. A company of pale cornflowers, lemons, mints, blushes and lilac soaking up the smell of the sea while the gulls cry overhead.
I would like to see you, barefoot and blue-jeaned cooking out back on the grill. Maybe Chicken and heirloom tomatoes, peaches and basil straight from the garden. Your t-shirt so soft it almost is threadbare, I wear it to bed as pjs when you are away for the night.
There is a big hound dog asleep in the sun, her name is Frog, and she never leaves the yard unless instructed to meet guests. Next to her is her sister, Toad. She tends to wag her tale at shadows.
There is a big hammock tied between two trees; one an oak, one a sycamore. At night, when everyone has gone home except for me and you, we lay and look through the perfect parting of the canopy that is a straight view to heaven and pray our wishes out loud.
On the table in the hall there is a tiny glass light that glows amber, we turn it on to keep the darkness at bay inside. Crickets and fireflies abounding in the faded day, the sound of glasses clinking together and someone shuffling through the shell gravel to the patio.
Inside is simple but elegantly comfy. Chairs big enough for reading or napping or sitting together holding cups of hot cocoa, watching the snow fall through the big windows to the north.
There is a basket to throw flip-flops in that is always full of sand no matter how many times you turn it upside down and a hose to wash your feet before coming through the house, stepping gingerly onto a faded rag-rug. A freezer full of kiddie cups, a staircase the winds slightly to the left towards the bedroom. One big bed. Not much else.
There is a lot of giggling and many evenings slow dancing in the kitchen while the water boils, while the broccoli steams, while the potatoes bake or the onions roast. We stand elbow to elbow doing dishes reminding one another slowly where each piece came from. Your Grandmother’s pitcher. My Grandmother’s cake plate. My sister. Your Aunt. That weird goodwill at Christmas. There is an apron that belonged to my Mother, there is a table cloth that belonged to my great-grandmother. The sound of you walking upstairs to draw me a bath is a lullaby as I fold the blankets and lock the door.
My dress is lavender, faded, and linen. I haven’t worn shoes in weeks or bit my cuticles. I’m sun-kissed and slightly freckled across my nose. My gold necklace blinks as I light a candle and take it upstairs with me passing the large book shelves full of everything I’ve ever read, ever wanted to read. I keep it all safe, worlds to travel safely from this place with tea in hand.
God is in the details of happiness. In the sleepy way you smile while chopping peppers. In the fold of your hand on mine when we go to sleep facing towards each other. In the ice cream dribbles of our nieces. In the shells, left as offerings to the mermaids on the windowsills. In the thunder and lightening that turns the tides rapidly and keeps us indoors with books and one another. In the moment of exhale, of finally walking through the gate at the end of the long day, the house glowing from inside out, the sounds of music drifting through the windows. Our blue hydrangea soaked fence, reaching to gather you in before you pass the threshold, too excited to wait, they peek through at you. Each colourful stretching bundle of flowers whispering “You are home, home, home” at the end of a long day.
I wish this for you. I wish to be on the other side of that door, knowing you are coming.
These wishes are small, but add them up and they make a life. A life worth living, a life not worth leaving behind. Of sand and sea. Of you and me. A song that we know, a dance we slip into as easily as we slip out of our shoes and run towards the surf in the glassy hope of dawn.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.