living in the land of compromise

photo by Wilson Alvarez

photo by Wilson Alvarez

Bunches of lemon balm hang from our ceiling beams, grown and then harvested from our backyard.

From the mint family and tasting delightfully of lemons, I’ll use the dried plant mainly for tea, or frozen into ice cube trays for revie, his preferred method of taking herbal remedies. Chomping cold ice with his tiny white teeth.

Soothing and gentle, lemon balm calms frayed nerves and helps a jittery body relax. Something we could all use a bit more of these days.

And tonight we harvested Mugwort, from the field in the highest point of the nearby park. The scent of milkweed and vetch filled the air and we could see the city jutting up out of the distance, all bricks and cement. Angular.

I wore Revie on my back for the first part of the walk and he touched my arms softly with his little hands while we talked about the deer, and the birds. “There’s the Robin Rev. See how she flies? Don’t forget to look for deer, over there in the bushes behind the nettles.” He hummed a little, letting me know he heard.

We looked for snakes on the old road where they like to catch the sun, hoping to warm their cold reptilian blood. And Then Wil met us, fresh from a bike ride, and we stomped in puddles, squishy mud splashing our ankles, and swallowing up our toes.

Mugwort is good for digestion. Bitter, with its fragrant, wild smell. And for dreaming. Protects from nightmares, and some people swear by it for lucid dreams.

We ate mulberries by the handful until we were all purple from the juices. And then we licked cattail pollen from the palms of our hands, goldfinch yellow dust coloring wil’s beard, and revie’s hair.

We threw rocks at an old sign and watched revie delighting in the “pings.” His aim is getting better. Soon we’ll give him his first bow, not more than a branch with a string and a sick as an arrow. For practice.

But we often wonder if he’ll ever be a hunter. He’s so sensitive, cries if the dogs corner a ground hog, wrinkles his little nose if Sisa the cat kills a bird.

The older he gets the more I wish for a village of elders, grandmas and grandpas who could show us the way. ” This is the way you teach him to hunt.” they’d tell us. “this is how you help him become strong, and brave. A leader. A kind man. This is how you help him be himself”

But we are lucky to have his own grandma and grandpa right next door. He kissed them both before bed tonight, opened his little arms in great big hugs before we left out the side door.

There’s so many things I wish could be different.

And there’s so many things I wouldn’t want to change.

We are walking in the in- between

living in the land of compromise.

I’m a wild wolf prowling the countryside

and a domestic dog licking her wounds.

It is beautiful and lonely here

living in the liminal.

I love you,

and I’m so sorry.

I thank you,

and hope you can forgive me.

I wish this was easier for all of us.

Thank you for listening,

photo by Michelle Johnsen

photo by Michelle Johnsen


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