Monday, March 10, 2008

The Living Breathing Me by Kat Magendie

I hear the sway of the trees before I see them. The wind makes known its presence without arrogance. I appreciate. I think that I am holding my breath in awe at the very thought of a tree, the wind, and me; but no, my chest rises and falls as it has since I first took that gasping cry at birth. Just as my heart beats without my asking it to. Living without even trying. Ah.

I hear the sighs around me, human, animal, and other. They are alive; I am alive; and why? Question of the ages, question without answer – yes – the unanswerable question of the living breathing me. Human is the only one asking. I slow my steps, barely daring to move, savoring the moment of hyper-awareness of all that is around me—how lucky I feel at this moment! How alive and real! I am aware of my arms and legs and the organs of my body and what a miracle I am. I want to cry, not because I am sad, but because I have lived, every day of my life, and even when I thought I did not want to live the next day came and I was glad to awaken.

Somewhere in some city in some neighborhood a child laughs and soon, when the days are long and filled with heat, an ice cream truck will play its song, one that has never changed in all the years I remember it. I have a sudden recollection of little girl me waiting at the chilly window as I hold out my pudgy hand for an ice treat, while my other hand grips sweaty nickels to hand over to Mr. Ice Cream Man—a fair trade, the imperishable for the perishable, even steven: Life at that moment is completely fair and I know it, the ice cream man knows it, and all the kids waiting their turn know it. I lick my treat and traces of it run down my chin, my arms. My feet are colored green from just-mown grass. The sun descends quickly. The clock ticks. The dark barks. I am me. The moon pale-washes my face, gentle touch from that ancient orb of mystery. My mother calls, “Kids! Come in.” I run home.

It is winter now, with spring at the front door knocking. I am a woman fully grown, wishing for a cold treat and summer green feet, but just as glad to be right here, right now, living, breathing.


Angie Ledbetter said...

What a unique and lovely picture you paint! I was right there with you, green feet and all, anticipating a spring sweet treat and breathing it all in.

Barbara Quinn said...

Evocative post, Kat...I remember the ice cream truck. It still comes to my shore neighborhood and I love watching the kids jump up and down as it makes its way down the block. Made me remember how when the street lights came on, we had to go home for the evening.

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