Calluses

Just like every morning, you wake me up by rubbing my hands and aggressively snuggling closer.

Your body is warm and soft, yet so clumsily brutal in the manner of a small human still learning how to control sharp elbows and lethal knees.

I squint against the early morning sun filtering in through the window behind our bed, and hug you tightly against my own soft body in what I know is a futile attempt to convince you to let us both sleep just a little longer.

I rub my nose against your blond curls, deeply inhaling the scent of infancy which still lingers there. My hands wander across your back and down your ever-lengthening legs in a gentle massage. Like countless times before, I let my fingers slip around your foot, which fits so perfectly inside my hand.

A startling sensation jolts to my comprehension. On your soft baby soles, which kicked me from within not long ago, I feel the beginnings of hardness.

It’s really not astonishing at all, of course. This is your second year on your own two feet. And like your brothers (and also your mother), you prefer to explore the world on bare feet.

I sigh as I squeeze you tighter and press my face against your chubby belly, this time with a little more intensity, fueled by bittersweet knowing.

Calluses.

They’re inevitable, of course, and a silly thing to feel sad about. But as you look at me, your eyes shining with youthful innocence and pure beauty, I sigh again. And this time, it’s not for your feet, but for your heart.

And I say a silent prayer. For wisdom and light sufficient to counter the hardness of this world.

For neverending openness and wonder.

For a heart uncallused.

Tranquility

I breathe in deeply and exhale slowly.
A long day, a productive one. I am thankful it lies behind me.
The full moon is bright, the night around me feels illuminated by an otherworldly blacklight.
Beautiful.

I listen to the sound of crickets surrounding me. It warms my heart. It’s the first time this year I’ve heard them. Their symphony is a far cry from the deafening crescendo it will be on summer evenings, but they’re back.
Welcome.

A turtle slips into the water with a splash. A lone frog croaks. He, too, will soon meld into a choir of almost obscene proportions.
I’ve missed your song.

Next to me, I notice movement. Out of the dark, two glowing eyes peer directly into mine. It’s the half-feral tortoiseshell cat. Her gaze is not threatening, yet not timid either. Tranquil.
Her satin nose kisses my foot as she walks past me.
Unprecedented.

A distant bolt of lightning explodes across the southern sky. Another sign of winter’s end, one I’ve always cherished deeply. Why is it that the destructive power of a strong storm has always comforted my soul so deeply?
I’ve missed your embrace.