Listen. I was springtime. I was the color green shooting up from the ground new life new maiden exploding star roaming in search of who knows what and it did not matter, hopping trains hitching ditching wandering, spreading honey like lust and lust like life itself.
Listen. I was the peach of summer so ripe the juice ran down your arm, so sticky sweet the bees came to me humming. I was watermelon, red as passion slick like sex in the hot sun. I was what quenched your thirst on a hot day. I was a white bikini with sun kissed skin.
Listen. I was salsa dancing. I was the feather and the fan and the audience cheering for more. I was the castanets and the wild parrots mating.
Listen. I was a symphony, an opera, an outdoor concert with everyone shouting hell yes and now and always and more and listen, now I am a piano solo at midnight in the minor chords my ancestors chanted in the temples, the ones that were destroyed, burned, bombed, turned to ash and bone.
Now I am autumn. The pear ripening on the windowsill. The green apple baking in the pie. Now I am home and in my garden. I make an altar from the rocks and shells I gather. This is enough for now. Now I am yoga, long and slow and solitary on my mat. Corpse pose but not dead yet, I laugh quietly to myself. Not nearly dead yet.
Listen. I was spring and summer and planting seeds and watering them, breasts filled with milk for a hungry baby who could never get enough and now I have the scars from the woman’s plague that carved my breast open and left me sore and sometimes scared that it will circle back around and call for me again.
Listen. There was only one friend who knew how many cowboys and gypsies I had loved. The number so funny so large so holy shit really? We pinkie swore to keep each other’s secrets until death do us part.
And now listen. I have been married to one man for 35 years. I have put this part of my summer away in the steamer trunk so that I might be wholly his. Sex is not like it used to be, fast and hot and anywhere any time. Now I am perfumed and oiled and through the electric shock of orgasm remember that the gods intended it to be a portal to the divine.
Listen. I am autumn harvesting what I planted. The pumpkins and winter squash, the sage and rosemary, everything drying and ready for the season of change and transformation.
Winter is coming. This is not a new story.
Listen. I’m getting ready. I’m bargaining with winter saying give me more time, give me the wisdom to greet you with full hearted acceptance. Teach me to carry grief in one hand and gratitude in the other. Let grief keep my heart undefended, open to the sorrow of others and let the place inside where it is unbreakable and whole be where we meet in compassion for each other. Let the simple daily grace of bird song fill me with awe, and may I be astonished with gratitude for the fragile beauty of all that has been given, all that can be taken in a moment.
There is no time left to hesitate or hold back. Crack open my heart and scatter my love like seeds on the wind, each one a rose blooming in the fragrant garden of healing and forgiveness. Hear the soft hum of my prayer: when winter comes silently, her light blinding, I will have been used up in the service of peace. Listen.