Before it Was Gone

purple tree

I turn the paper over and find this... musings on coming-of-age, loss, change. Somehow the very things she writes of in her own little world are the things of my world too. I swallow hard and my soul says to this twelve-year-old, "Yes, daughter, yes."

Here is what she wrote, in answer to the question someone put to her: What's the most important thing you learned this year? The woods she refers to are a place she has played with a certain set of friends for five years. Next year, the woods will still be there, but the friends won't be...

I learned that sometimes there isn't one answer I can
think of for this question. And I learned that Michaela
and Noah and Eli are not coming back next year (and
the rest will never come), and I learned that someday

I might want to go across the log and I learned that
you can't sun-cook with aluminum foil and an empty
orange juice bottle, wild mustard leaves, in the woods
and I learned that I keep trying to write about the

woods and I can't and I know even if we can go back
there with them it won't be the same. And I learned
that gardens and bridges and water catchers for plants
and building ziplines don't actually work or happen but

we do them anyway and I don't know why. Well, I do
actually, sort of. We do it because it's something to
do, but after we knew they weren't coming back it was
as if we were trying to do everything before it was gone

and I learned to teach cello and write villanelles and I
learned that sometimes answers are right in front of
you already and you just have to find them and I
learned that there are some things you can't stop...

even if you really, really want to.

Purple flower tree photo by L.L. Barkat. Poem by Sara. Used with permission.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

my daughter is 12 and will be 13 in august. she is young socially and an old lady in her attitude.

i was thinking how much that age is like a beautiful butterfly with uncurling tender wings of flight that passes so quickly.

they do not realize what a precious time it is. along with wanting so much not to be seen as a child.

9:30 PM  
Blogger e.o.w. said...

holding what she loves, what IS now next to the painful anticipation of loss. She speaks from a deep knowing, one you have nourished, I'm sure allowing her to listen and to trust what she sees...

I'm especially drawn to the lines "...and I learned that I keep trying to write about the/ woods and I can't..." (oh, stay with that!)

Many thanks and a big smile to your daughter for sharing these wise words.

12:53 PM  
Blogger mom2six said...

"trying to do everything before it was gone" wow! Such insight, written so well. How I feel about my children now with them growing up and the time passing so rapidly.

11:21 AM  
Blogger Children of Eve said...

I love this post, but it makes me sad. Sad that good things end, sad that we had to leave the garden.

10:15 PM  
Blogger Solveig said...

Poignant. It captures the reality of engaged life--things change and we have to release them. This kind of self-reflection is powerful and stands a person in good stead. And we need to keep relearning it.

10:57 AM  
Blogger sojourner said...

it is good that she writes and you find - my boys wrote and locked their words away or burned them in the empty lot or kept them stuffed inside their hearts where I would never see - maybe one day they will share - provided the words remain

3:10 PM  
Anonymous Kilauea Poetry said...

I really enjoyed this-
"learned that sometimes answers are right in front of you already and you just have to find them"

2:25 AM  

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