"Let Me Hold You While I May" from Yes, World: A Mosaic of Meditation by Mary Jean Irion (1970)
The day is over; now I will sleep. It has been a normal sort of day, common like a rock along the path. Nothing about it would make one exclaim over it, as one might do with a shell or a glistening piece of quartz. It was just a rock, lying there along my way. But now, knowing that it is about to go from me forever, I hold it in my hand curiously, turning it this way and that, marking its shape and texture, weighing it on my palm. What was it really, this normal day?
It was routine, mostly....washing, ironing, a trip to the store, meals, dishes--the common denominators of women's days.
It was pleasant here and there...a letter from an old friend, my husband's telephone call for no reason, a back fence chat with my neighbor, half an hour with a good book, some loud laughs with the children at dinner time.
It was irritating now and then....a sticky ocean of spilled maple syrup, mealtime with one greedy child and one finicky one, the arrival of a bill unexpectedly high, a persistent salesman's theft of fifteen beautiful minutes.
It was deeply joyous at times... the whole house glorified with the strains of the new "Greensleeves" record; our unliterary twelve-year-old's first book (begun today, to be finished tomorrow) with its dedication--to wonder of wonders--his parents; our eight-year-old and her friend playing dress-up, painted and perfumed, scarved and veiled, clattering through the kitchen in spike heels and courtesaned innocence.
It was sobering and frightening in some ways...Mom's waning health and increasing discouragement; the big blow up after dinner about homework and learning to accept responsibility, and the guilt that followed my hasty words; the vague, huge uncertainties that draped themselves over us, cobweb-like, with the ten o'clock news from a tense and shadowed world.
It was blessed with love throughout...in a pig-shaped breadboard made and presented to me by my son; in the wave of feeling as I watched our little daughter sleeping in soft moonlight, her long lashes shadowing her cheek; in an hour alone with my husband at the end of day.
Just a normal day. A normal day! It is a jewel! In time of war, in peril of death, people have dug their hands and faces into the earth and remembered this. In time of sickness and pain, people have buried their faces in pillows and wept for this. In time of loneliness and separation, people have stretched themselves taut and waited for this. In time of hunger, homelessness, want, people have raised bony hands to the skies and stayed alive for this....
Normal Day, let me be aware of the treasure you are. Let me not pass you by in quest of some rare and perfect tomorrow. Let me hold you while I may, for it will not always be so. One day I shall dig my nails into the earth, or bury my face in the pillow, or stretch myself taut, or raise my hands to the sky and want more than all the world your return.
text via, image via
▲ ▲ ▲
This was featured on A Cup of Jo and I went hunting for the rest of the essay. Since then I've been thinking about the 90s Sitcom Syndrome [wherein everything cool happens in New York City, or, at the very least, somewhere Far From Here] I've developed through reading blogs (exhibit no 1, Cup of Jo), scrolling through Instagram, reading magazines. Been feeling a little less-than and this beautiful essay jolted me right out of it.
So here's to the quotidian and the banal and the pedestrian, the dishes in the sink and the hand-me-down couches, the chain link fence and the extra ten pounds, the clutter, the dust bunnies, the spit up rags on the chair, on the table, on the hand-me-down couch.
This is the good part. The greatest part.