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sweet and bitter; bitter and sweet

December 18, 2013

the wind sings in my ears,

sets the chains of my earrings dancing.

it is a call of the wild,

welcoming me home after my week away.

the morning is balmy,

already 60 degrees with bright sunshine.

this is a full 75 degrees warmer

than last week when i went away.

i’m stretching out these healing limbs,

moving fast over uneven ground that keeps me

staying close to the edge of the alfalfa field

and the grasses along the ditch bank.

the grasses, flattened by wind and weather,

roll in waves reminiscent of the sea

that i have just left behind.


the mountains to the west both cradle me in this wonderland

and block me from the coast that i love.


sweet and bitter.


it was good to be home,

good to spend time with the dad that i have idolized as long as i can remember.

hard to see him less mobile,

to note the decline in strength and stamina.

damn it.

he is happy to see me, happy for my company.

just keep talking to me, he says.

so i do.

bitter and sweet.


under the brilliant blue sky i walk toward the mountains.

passing under the lone overhanging branch on my trek

i am bird-bombed from above.


looking back i see the flock fluttering above the branch,

twittering amongst themselves.

laughing at me, i’m certain.

patches of snow remain along the fence line,

slim reminders of the week’s weather extremes.



the milkweed pods that burst forth so exuberantly only weeks ago

now linger rigidly like charred remains,


while the grasses that i braided when green and supple

now rustle dryly in the breeze.


my heart expands to fill the open space before me,

not only a physical space but an opportunity for space

between the thoughts that crowd my mind.

nature heals.

sweet and bitter.


there are joyful moments.

we go out for lunch with dad’s old friends at the airport,

and there is laughter.


i visit my patch of paradise,

the stretch of rocky coastline between fisherman’s wharf

and pacific grove.


infused with decades of memories,

it is another natural place that brings peace

and a sense of belonging.


the sea is timeless,

a comfort when dealing with the ravages of time.

it was a perfect late afternoon, the sun slanting

across the bay and lighting up the coastline

in a visual crescendo before dropping into the sea.


this place is a touchstone for me,

a necessity on each trip home.


when i look west i am reminded that i was born across this sea

in a land far away,

and that i sailed across it when i was two and a half years old.

sometimes my truths are hard to comprehend.

the truth of why i am here  is one of those.

the weather warms enough to take dad outside,

and we sit in the sun talking about the things that we are grateful for.


my sister and i visit the park named for him,

for the 20 years he served as homeowner’s association president

and more years he served on the monterey county planning and zoning committee.


we spend hours at the table remembering old times

and watch movies together every night.

i ask him what he looks forward to in 2014.

christmas, he says.

good choice, i tell him.

i promise that i will come back.

when, he asks.

in about six weeks, i tell him.

maybe the end of january.

no later than that, he replies.

we smile.

bitter and sweet.


i come in from my walk grateful that my tattered heart

has had a chance to flap in the wind,

my mind momentarily cleared of its cobwebs and

ready to move on to what comes next.

at present i have a foot in two worlds,

and each step feels like a balancing act

on ground that will not stay firm beneath my feet.

as hard as some things may be

i know it’s a good life, this one.

sweet and bitter.

bitter and sweet.


4 Comments leave one →
  1. December 18, 2013 3:34 am

    i love that old man because i see his strength in YOU.


    • sassysistersink permalink*
      December 18, 2013 4:34 am

      thanks, marie.
      i’ve always tried to make him proud of me.

  2. December 18, 2013 7:54 pm

    Your journaling and photos are very bitter and sweet. I love that you are so committed to seeing your father as often as you can, making as many memories as you can. It’s all worth it. And a bonus that you are back in another special place you love.

    • sassysistersink permalink*
      December 19, 2013 5:13 pm

      Thanks, Diana. I am committed, which makes the decision to travel so much easier than it can sometimes be with all the animals to take care of here. I’m lucky that the family knows how important this is and covers for me in my absence. You’re right about the memories– they are forever!

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