spring is like a perhaps hand

Spring is like a perhaps hand
(which comes carefully
out of Nowhere)arranging
a window,into which people look(while
people stare
arranging and changing placing
carefully there a strange
thing and a known thing here)and

changing everything carefully

spring is like a perhaps
Hand in a window
(carefully to
and fro moving New and
Old things,while
people stare carefully
moving a perhaps
fraction of flower here placing
an inch of air there)and

without breaking anything.

“Are you ready to go back?” The question comes as I sort through clothes on the floor, folding sweatshirts and tucking lone socks into my overnight bag. My legs are folded beneath me, falling asleep. I smooth a t-shirt, and glance up at her, and she sees the answer in the way the question sits between us before I say it out loud. But I do say it: “No. No, I’m not ready.” Sitting on the side of the bed, she nods and hands me a sock.



I’m sitting across from a dear friend, and together we are sorting through life, and we are eating chocolate, and we are laughing. She starts to talk about possibility, about what could be, you know, with a twinkle in her eye. She raises an eyebrow as she sips a Coke, her head cocked as she waits for my answer. I can’t help but smile, but I say, “Oh, I don’t know if I’m ready for that.”


Another friend says, “Can I ask you a question?” and I say, “Of course.” “How do you know? How do you know if you’re ready?” I think about all of the times that I’ve felt ready, and the list is short, and I think about all of the times I haven’t, and the list is long, and so I shrug. I tell her there’s a difference between being not ready and being afraid, and that you have to run from the latter. I tell her there’s a difference between not knowing you’re ready and not feeling peaceful, and to search out the peace, not the readiness. I tell her to ask God, to listen to the Spirit, to jump in even if she’s not ready. “So,” I say, “I guess maybe you don’t you were ready until it’s been done.”



I got a new planner. She’s a pretty one, already boasting marked-in lines, dates promised to friends, and then a whole lot of empty. That’s one of my favorite parts of this year. It’s the thing I keep writing about, this lack of knowing, of plans, of written-in days. The weeks spin by so effortlessly when I flip through my planner, but I see them for what they are: slivers of chances to love more deeply, to know God more fully, to tie bows for my best friend. Chunks of days where I get to walk by my favorite steps, sit in a sunny classroom and pore over a novel, wrap my hands around an afternoon coffee on a bench under a tree that feels like it’s mine. And then…what? I caress the pages of summer and fall gently. My eyes fall on the empty blanks, space that I know will be filled just right, and I say, “Just a little bit longer.”



“Are you ready?” The question falls, lands, and looks at me. I shrug and smile a little. “Maybe,” I say, but I look around. I see what’s happening, that the days can be lost, that I can forget to notice the remarkable things. I cannot have more than what I have left; in my heart and my soul, I know it is time, and that must mean I’ll be ready. I am ready for anything. But I can take the next few months and squeeze them for all that they are and accept them for all they are not, for the moments I feel like they’re too much and not enough. And then, with all the blessing in the world, I will open my planner to the rest and smile, ready or not.



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