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Zinnias

September 23, 2017

 

I do not want to write today.

 

Today is the fifth anniversary of my grandmother's death. I don't wake up feeling particularly sad about it. But then I remember, and tack that remembrance on to a long list of other things I've felt grumpy about this week, and I tack those on to the reasons why I don't want to write.

 

I drive to the library anyway. I walk up the stone library steps, pausing to notice fall's blue skies and maple leaves and how lucky I am to live in this little town with its turn-of-the-century library, built only a few years before Gram was born.

 

I walk to my usual spot, feet on autopilot as my brain battles between self-loathing and gratitude, and there, on the table, sits a little vase of zinnias, and it stops me in my tracks.

 

So maybe not literally. But it puts me on pause. I am a person who doesn't believe in signs, scoffs at them even, and here is Gram, winking at me.

 

Gram, a Depression-era woman who allowed herself the lone extravagance of zinnias in her vegetable garden, who gave me time as a child to pursue whatever idea popped into my head--- sew a dress, write a poem, sprawl out, make a mess. She never told me anything was too difficult--- she either gave me the space to work it out or she rolled up her sleeves to help me master it. 

 

And here her zinnias sit, waiting, looking at me with their happy faces, saying write, write, write, write.

 

Give yourself the space to figure it out.

 

No idea is too difficult.

 

Perhaps I don't believe in signs. But maybe I believe in benedictions. So I write about them.

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