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Tuesday, June 03, 2008

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The Side of the Road


I walked out in a field, the grass was high,
it brushed against my legs.
I just stood and looked out at the open space
and a farmhouse out a ways
And I wondered about the people who lived in it
And I wondered if they were happy and content
Were there children and a man and a wife?
Did she love him and take her hair down at night?

Lucinda Williams

It was fifteen summers ago when I saw her from a car window. I was a too-young newlywed, driving somewhere along Nova Scotia's southern shore. I don't think my then-husband noticed her at all. We didn't slow down, and I didn't say anything. She was nearly completely un-noteworthy: a woman standing in the driveway of a ranch-style home, with children playing around her. The only thing at all remarkable was that she was still in her robe, and so it seemed that the driveway, set back only a little from the highway, was part of her intimate living space, and I was peeking in the window.

It's hard to say why that fleeting glimpse of her stayed with me all these many years. There was a graciousness and ease about the scene that captivated me. Something about the way she stood there in that robe that suggested life could be more fluid than I, preoccupied with making plans, could know.

She couldn't have seen me at all. A peripheral flash, sunlight bouncing off glass.

I've met her at last in this house. Though it is smaller by several hundred feet than our last, we occupy more of it, more fully, more fluidly. Where the rooms of the old house were a series of adjacent, unrelated boxes, the rooms here open up to each other so naturally, it is as if the house has its own current. We float along on it from one space to the next, from room to room, hall to hall, indoor to outdoor, like carnival ducks.

Bobbing home from the neighborhood pool this Saturday, me and my wet, tousled flock paddled through the mudroom, flip-flops flapping over the tile, towels flung over hooks. The littlest Who and I wriggled out of our swimsuits to rinse off in the master shower stall, then paraded barefoot (and one of us bare bummed) through Daddy's office to the kitchen to find something to eat on the patio. Around and around we go like that, day into night, night into day.

Mornings I pull on my red satin robe and step over toys to collect the newspaper from the front step. Sometimes a car passes, a glint of metal in the corner of my eye. It never slows down. I never look up.

But I always smile.


Blogger Geoff Meeker said...

Wow. So brief, yet so full of meaning. The Lucinda lyric was a nice touch too.

11:39 AM  
Blogger Patrick said...

Good Lord, Kyran, where does this stuff come from?

You still surprise me with your depths sometimes.

11:40 AM  
Blogger Jo said...

You write so beautifully. This was a wonderful post. I relaxed just reading it.

12:49 PM  
Blogger merlotmom said...

Hi Kyran, new reader, came by way of GGC. That was a beautiful piece. I could see your journey so clearly in such few words. Great writing. Thanks.

2:02 PM  
Blogger Jen K-C said...


4:53 PM  
Blogger zellmer said...

You write as beautifully as Lucinda sings.

8:07 PM  
Blogger elaine said...

The photo, Lucinda's lyrics, your inimitable way of writing...a perfect post.

Thank you.

12:35 AM  
Blogger Awataha said...

Beautifully done - not a word too many or too few. Thanks for the gift.

12:37 AM  
Blogger bluebird of paradise said...

How extraordinarily beautiful.The memory is like an Andrew Wyth painting.

5:53 AM  
Blogger blackbird said...

This is just lovely.

8:07 AM  
Blogger Mama Goose said...

It's nice to be home isn't it?

11:42 AM  
Blogger The bean-mom said...

So lovely.

11:46 AM  
Blogger Kathryn said...

This post is like a enjoying a creamy cup of coffee on a lazy sunday morning, or a hot bowl of mac n cheese on cold monday evening. Pure comfort for the soul. Thanks!

1:35 PM  
Blogger just one foot said...

I had a similar experience when I was a newlywed so many years ago. Mine was a solitary house, all dark except for one small window in the top left corner. Hubby and I were headed to a beach in Maine to see the sun rise and the early hour made me wonder if it was just a forgotten light, left on by careless children, or maybe a mother rocking a fussy baby. A teenager just sneaking back in from a stolen night out, or an insomniac husband, kept awake by worries of big life problems? I'll never know, but that one glimpse of that one window still haunts me. Thank you for bringing back that memory.


9:13 AM  
Blogger Joy! said...

Ahh. I love how the final couple of stanzas pull the whole story together. -a peaceful easy feeling-

12:43 AM  
Blogger Schmutzie said...

You made me feel that for a moment. A perfect end to my weekend.

10:39 PM  
Blogger Jenny, the Bloggess said...

Featured on Good Mom/Bad Mom on the Houston Chronicle.

2:51 PM  
Blogger Good & Crazy said...


I'm smitten. Nice writing.

10:56 PM  
Blogger Dr.Mani said...

What a lovely post. Thanks for sharing it.


10:02 PM  

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