Here

Here

I’ve hiked Andean mountain passes that plunge into lush jungle
I’ve followed wild rivers through the tundra and bathed in their remote falls
I’ve canoed on pristine lakes alongside moose, eagles, and river otters
I’ve poked at anemones and starfish in Pacific tidal pools
I’ve driven down red dirt roads of Prince Edward Island
I’ve posed for photo ops in front of the Swiss Alps
I’ve played in the aquamarine waters of the Caribbean sea

And yet

a long blade
of dying grass
curled
and golden
in the autumn sun
is as beautiful a thing as I have ever seen

-Tricia Friesen Reed

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Why I can’t invite you over

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Dear friends on my “to-invite” list

One of these days we have to get together
I think we’d get along
We want to get to know you better
but there’s a problem
I can’t invite you over

Can’t pick up the phone
Can’t set a date
Can’t plan for 5:30
Can’t say dinner would be great
Can’t invite you over

Because I know 5:30 around here
It’s laundry on the couch
backpacks blocking the door
lunch left-overs on the table
and a baby with dried snot in her eyebrows

Five-thirty is look-at-this-house! time
How-could-I-be-so-unproductive? time
It’s towels on the bathroom floor
a clatter of cans waiting to be recycled
and piles of junk-mail in the kitchen

If I call you for dinner it will be grand

Except

My husband will be later than expected
All smiles for company but grimaces for hubby
I’ll forget about drinks and only offer water
When the food is finally ready I’ll have to nurse my baby
then finish setting a mismatched table

No, I cannot invite you over
Can’t offer my home
Propose a meal
Or promise perfection
We simply cannot get together

Unless

You show up at my door unannounced
The surprise, my alibi
An excuse for cans and clutter
I’ll move the folded underwear and offer you a seat
You will stay for supper because there is always enough

I will offer you a glass of water in a jar
because all my cups will be in the dishwasher
It won’t tinkle with ice-cubes but it will be wet
Nearly perfect
And I’ll be so glad I didn’t invite you

Sunday Ski

3 hours spent stripping skis and re-applying wax

2 resistant daughters

2 insistent parents

49 attempts to herd bodies towards the door

3 trips back to the house for forgotten paraphenelia

1 wrong turn; 4 buried wheels; 10 minutes spent shoveling

2 cars (including ours) at the trail head

34 degrees below zero

4 hot shot hand-warmers stuffed into mittens

2 parallel ribbons of crisp snow

3 woolly moose lumbering through the poplar

9 piles of coyote poop

2 woodpeckers

8 ruddy cheeks

3 open zippers

6 km of kicking, gliding, climbing, tromping, skating, sailing

26 minutes in a ski-shack with a crackling fire

968 hoary lashes

8 strong legs

4 pumping hearts

1 setting sun melting like butter over cattails, aspen, and little-girl silhouettes

3 laments over the missing camera

0 pictures

1 measly poem

4 happier humans