day 724: family trees (now too)
It’s April and magnolias are budding. It’s Sunday and I don’t need a coat. By Tuesday in Brooklyn they’re full bloom.
When my father was 12 years old his family moved into a house by th eocean and planted a magnolia tree for Mother’s Day. He still lives there, and my mother parks her car under the tree.
When he was born they lived in the country. His family owned the bakery in town and built their own houses. The family had come over from England; his mother’s too, but they weren’t bakers they were importers living in New York City. They lived on pacific street and went to the mayor’s house for parties. I live on pacific street now too; my heart’s home stays there even when I’m gone.
My grandfather built planes for the government at Lakehurst. He was just a boy working at the bakery when the Hindenburg crashed and he collected little pieces of the wreckage from the airfield. They sit in my father’s office now, on a shelf by the window. My grandfather died 4 years ago. Before they moved to the shore he taught Sunday school and my grandmother baked cookies for boy scouts and they played the piano. I never went in the old house. We drove by once, but I think when happy times are lost it can be hard to look back and that’s ok; we can look forward instead.
It’s May and my feet are dirty from walking around the city in flip flops. Tomorrow is Mother’s Day and I miss her. When my father moved to the ocean all that time ago he lost his mom in a fire that took 30 years to burn down. It extinguished in the kitchen just after I was born. That’s our kitchen now too. I can feel my father’s pain and it cripples me. I can feel my father’s strength and it picks me up when I fall. His love is a lighthouse; I’m learning how to keep the light on now too.
Om Gum Shrim Maha Lakshmiyei Swaha