"We're all just walking each other home." - - Ram Dass

Monday, April 9, 2012

Endless Summer

A fly circles past me, his buzzing loud. drunk. on summer air and easy living.

My tongue touches the corner of my lip
equal parts bitter from the rhubarb we just pulled from the ground and
unnaturally sweet from the saccharin he kept in his pocket
for moments just like these.

The undersides of my arms dried sticky red
with a few fresh scratches from the wild raspberry bush 
we just took on with reckless abandon.

Now, we're crouching low in the outskirts of his garden
my bare toes curl feeling the dark cool silk of flesh and soil connected. 

This is how I loved him. Drawing his essence closer to my core every moment I spent by his side.

His eyes twinkle with a mischief
that only the very young or very old possess; 
as he pantomimes for me to be quiet and to stay low so grandma didn't see - 

Rap.Rap.Rap. On her window glass - 

"Hey you two, get out of my strawberry patch!"

I take off
my sides soon aching from the Minnesota summer air that fills my lungs 
and bubbling laughter that fills my soul 
feeling the pleasant sting of the tall grass against my face
my body propelled forward by joy
clutching my stolen red jewels. 

The sun hangs lower in the sky as I sit beside him now.
Knobby knees and sprouting limbs tucked beneath me as I trace a map of my world with pebbles from the walk way.
I sit quiet, taking my cue from him beside me;
whose only sound is his labored breath, surveying the birds who have found refuge in his feeder.

For what seems like hours for this growing girl,
he passes his time just so.

The top two buttons of his work shirt undone,
expose the white undershirt below.

His full hands curl
bent comfortably at his side.

In the distance 
the fields he worked by hand
the barn he built
his crop swaying in the dusk air
nestled between the pines he planted.

He sits in the peace of the working man.

Teaching me through example
to be content
to be present
to be connected. 

Oh, the days that were past like this; growing me softly in the strength of his shade.

Until, his life was ushered out with the winter wind...

As I stood over his spot in the frozen ground,
I knew he didn't belong here, in the unrelenting cold.  
Even the trees bent heavy; weighed down with the snow and grief.

As the taps played
I closed my eyes and felt the warmth of our bodies
pressed together over the rumble of the tractor. 

His stories that rustled the cat tales as we walked past
never in a hurry for we were where we were meant to be.

No, he did not belong among the sleeping.

In the beds made of frozen mounds
with no one to hold him but the cold northern wind.

with the unlit fires
cold hearts
and unseeing eyes.

He belongs to the fireflies dancing, blurring the lines of heaven and earth.
He belongs in the soft twitch of the doe's ear, coming silently out of his woods.
Moments spent heads lifted together, eyes reflecting the moon through the lace of trees. 

He belongs with the lark meadows.
To the smell of dirt made ripe with morning dew.
To fish made ripples across glass-topped lake water.

He belongs to endless summer.

(Linked with JenJust Write)
  excited to announce the re-launch of  Imperfect Prose; click below!


  1. Gorgeous tribute, Tara. Brought tears to my eyes as I remembered my dad, who we also lost one bitter winter 11 years ago, and it seemed so wrong to leave him in the frozen ground like that. But you're so right -- it's because he doesn't belong there. Thank you for this.

  2. Oh, Tara, I feel like I'm squatting in those strawberries with you.. and him. Beautiful. Thank you for the glimpse of love, the celebration of legacy in these words today.

  3. Great memories Tara! After reading this I notice how similar my dad is with his grandkids to how your grandpa (his brother) was with you. Working in the garden, taking notice of the things only the "very young and very old" do. I will have to print this for him so he can see the wonderful words you write about him, I am sure he will appreciate it.

  4. Oh my, oh my, oh my, this is some beautiful writing Tara. Really, just breathtaking. And I can imagine you may have shed a tear or two over this precious piece of beauty. A wonderful tribute to your grandfather. I loved mine this way too. I think you already know that.

  5. hi neighbor...this is just lovely...what a wonderful gift to have such a deep loving relationship with your grandfather. Blessings to you~

  6. So very pretty I am stopping by from Finding Heaven. I love the pics you should link them in photography link up! I adore my Papaw that went to heaven 3 years ago. Really beautiful tribute.

  7. Great pictures to accompany this!

  8. The beauty of this tribute brought tears to my eyes. What an example he was. "Teaching me through example to be content, to be present, to be connected." These intangibles are a priceless inheritance.
    I always feel an additional pain, an added heartache, with winter funerals. It seems so wrong and lonely to tuck away a loved one in the frozen ground. You conveyed that so eloquently. Ellen

  9. this stirred in me had me at minnesota summers :) it's the reason I live here. well, maybe that and my grandparents.
    I digress. This was so beautiful I had to read it twice.
    So blessed by you!

  10. What a beautiful tribute to your grandfather. Loved the line - Growing me softly in the strength of his shade.

  11. This was just a ridiculously beautiful post. These images will stay with me foe a long time.

  12. This is out of the park! Wistful, beautiful, honest. The words are strung together in perfect order. I am humbled and impressed.

  13. Absolute art. Thank you so much for sharing!!!

  14. When people are loved, it shows through in our writing and our memories.

  15. This is beautiful - I could smell the strawberry patches of my own youth as I read.


  17. What a gorgeous and stunning piece. Your words and you memories are very powerful.

  18. That was so beautiful and sweet and sad and awesome.

    ~The G is Silent

  19. You have such a way of writing - this was simply beautiful.

  20. Tara. Wow. Just wow. I wrote of my grandfather this week, too, but gosh...I could never dream to write of him like this. This was just beautiful on so many levels. Goodness. And the end...oh, the end. Beautifully done. You, my friend, are a writer.

  21. Oh my gosh, this took my breath away. So beautiful - For what seems like hours for this growing girl,
    he passes his time just so. I can't even pick a favorite line though, there were so many. You're a truly gifted writer. This was an incredible piece.

  22. Very well written! What a lovely remembering of such a special papa!

  23. Beautiful and the pictures were simply breathtaking!

  24. Between the words and the pictures I feel like I have actually been to this place before and it is such a beautiful place.

  25. This was very nicely written, took me back (waaay back) to rhubarb and raspberries as a kid.

  26. Chills. I didn't know if I should laugh or cry at the image of the two of you hiding from Grandma in the strawberry patch. I hope that someday I can be to a child what your grandfather obviously was to you. Beautifully written!

  27. wow what a memory...and he sounds like a beautiful man...the teaching through example...
    to be content
    to be present
    to be connect
    i could feel that in your words...and his passing i know hurt, it is good to have these memories and the things learned...

  28. Wow... this was an exquisite write. From start to end. It was so gentle, vivid, real. I could almost see the fields, the fruit, the tap, tap tapping on the window in play. And, of course, he isn't in the ground, he is in the air, in the trees, in the flowers and the breeze.
    What a wonderful read this all was.

  29. this is lovely. so much is encapsulated to me in the words "to be present" - and comes back again at the end, when you reflect on how his place is not among the sleeping. hope his spirit is always present with you -s

  30. You stir a beautiful ache within me.

  31. this is truly magical. it reads so current i wondered where you lived that summer bloomed so full in april! i drunk deeply every word.

  32. Oh me, oh my. Why isn't this stuff published? Beautiful.

  33. ...and I'm crying. Tara, there aren't words to describe how achingly lovely this is.
    I'm still crying.

  34. You were blessed to have such a loving grandfather in your life. Thanks so much for giving us a peek into what your "endless summer" days were like with him. Beautifully written, as always, Tara!

  35. and i sit, breathless. beautifully written, sweet friend. thanks for sharing such a special, special story.

  36. So familiar, this story.
    If I didn't know better, I'd say we were thinking of the same man.

    Very honoring to his memory.

    (And thank you for your kind words on my post today.)

  37. Beautiful! You are a gifted writer.

  38. oh friend. what janae said, exactly. a beautiful ache. what an incredibly rich history you have. i cannot wait to meet you one day :)

  39. Such a beautiful tribute! What a wonderful man in your life.

  40. Breathtaking tribute. You put your whole heart into it.

  41. WOW!! Stunning tribute! and such gorgeous pictures. I know those Minnesota summers well.

  42. I wept and remembered my Grandfather... such vibrancy in your words and a loving tribute, well done!

  43. Your writing... what could I say that someone hasn't before? It's stunning and poignant and flows with such beauty and grace. You translate your memory so lovely here, and your tribute so tenderly.

    You are truly gifted and draw from a deep beautiful well... Blessings to you, friend.

  44. So very sad and beautifully expressed. K.

  45. those last series of lines beginning with "He belongs..." - nice! despite the loss, there's also a continuing...

    and also really liked the images complimenting the words, best wishes tara ;-)

  46. Congrats on your well-deserved win, Tara!!! (-:
    I *loved* this.

  47. So beautiful. I shared many similar memories and feelings about my grandfather and his recent passing. Time can be a funny thing for around him I felt like I was five still and he was making me a cage for frogs I'd catch on his farm.

  48. Your words...Wow! Stirringly and achingly beautiful. Thanks, Tara, for sharing the gift of your words.

  49. Lovely, Tara.

    I gave you a blog award.

    Check it out here:

  50. Wow, hard to say what's more beautiful - your words or your photography!

  51. wow. no words, Tara. you have me mesmerized. i dont know how you do it. how *do* you do it? gorgeous. love to you, dear girl. oh, by the way--i haven't forgotten your words--"i will not give up on us.." no, neither will i. thank you for those words.