One can never consent to creep, when one feels an impulse to soar.–Helen Keller
I feel an impulse to soar. I talk a great deal about my feet being heavy enough to keep me glued to the earth. But what about soaring? Take the shoes off. Get rid of the cotton socks. Wiggle the toes and prepare for flight. I shut my eyes.
The first thing I see behind closed lids is my dead grandmother standing in the yard with a rake, a sea of leaves surrounding her. I light on the limb of a large tree. I can see the crown of her head, white curls. She rakes with a fierceness. She took up the rake when my grandfather died. The leaves have never been more plenty. She will lose sight of them; they fall almost immediately after she has created a pile large enough for disposal. I leave the tree to hold the bag open for her. She shovels leaves in handfuls, her hands a small trowel.
I want to know what she still remembers about my grandfather’s face. Does she recognize his chin? Does she remember how he would wipe his nose when entering the sun? The sun always made him sneeze. I bet she remembers the slight bend of his hair. The way his hat tilted to the left on his head.
There will always be enough leaves. There is a cornucopia of memories. My grandfather was mighty in his life. My grandmother allows for the space of his might by setting a place for him at the dinner table. The plate will remain empty, the utensils still. But oh the reflection she will see when she picks up the plate and stares into it. It is her face reflected back in the same manner that his face would reflect back from the deep eyes they held for one another.
I open my eyes. To soar has been good. It has brought my grandmother, my best friend, to me. I feel her. A calm hand on my shoulder. I smell her. Cinnamon. It is grand to have her with me. I love you grandma….me.