by Janet Sobczyk, 2022
not through sound waves and ear canals
but thought waves that ebb and flow
returned to mind again and again
took shape, grasped my hand
led to parents’ hometown
a familiar place
I hadn’t seen in years.
Almost forgot the way
scenic route with small towns
strung along the highway
missed the billboard declaring
“Welcome to Norfolk, NE
home of Johnny Carson!”
didn’t stop by his museum
instead drove through city parks.
Recalled taking turns to climb timidly (no- bravely!)
up tall ladders to slide down hot metal
flying on black-seated swings
holding tightly to the chains
trying not to kick a hapless child
then jumping off and landing, mostly on feet, laughing
all replaced by now with colorful, safe, plastic
designed to attract children… where are they?
Drove past grandparents’ houses
updated, freshly painted
wisps of memories teased each window pane
mind’s eyes pressed with cupped hands to the glass
watching Grandma baking
little me licking a spoon
or spinning in a swivel rocker
to induce dizziness and giggles.
Drove to the cemetery
drawn to the spot, walked
through dry brown grass in need of rain
to touch parents’ name plates once again
gaze at uncle’s headstone
knowing I’m in the generation to go next
and younger brother has already gone…
wishing I’d invited my sisters to come along.
Drove to the convent
across the street from my parents’ old house
which still has flowers by the porch
but a different bench upon it
used to walk the dog with Mom
from house to convent grounds, strolling
past rose garden, bubbling fountain, stately trees
and The Labyrinth.
Not a maze, no dead ends
path circles around
comes to the center
then leads back the same way
no getting lost, no need to think
just focus with prayer
releasing one’s cares
reaching the center and resting there.
A shady place to sit
watch bunnies play nearby
fill up with hope
rekindle a purpose
then retrace the path
leading out into the world
and take home a new view.
Reluctant to leave
drove home in welcome rain
not knowing when (or if) I’ll return
but certain it will be waiting
even if its brick paths
should overgrow with weeds and grass
will still entice weary ones
to make their way to its center.
|View from the center|
|In the convent garden... a flower as tall as me!|
Note: my photos weren't published, but I wanted to share them here.