petals
The light streamed down the tops of the flowering trees, casting odd shadows  
on faces, arms, legs, the expression of eyes. We could all barely fit in the gazebo, 
some had to wait on the external wings until there was space. Yet, everyone seemed 
where they were supposed to be. A rain of pink petals came down, on heads, faces, 
hair, limbs, dinner plates. "Mother Goddess!" yelled Maria  as a powerful wind blew
over her body. Laughter bubbled up our spines, toes, ankles, all the way to the top 
of our heads. It was like being inside love.  Chris climbs up high into the pink encrusted 
limbs, to sit like a tiny monkey among  the beautiful branches. At this moment, we 
are all his mother, thrilled with joy to see him climb so high, yet full of trepidation 
and nerves that he may slip. "Careful up there," one or another of us call out to him 
at one time or another. Cherie cradles her new baby in her arms, breastfeeding him in
a flurry of pink petals landing on her white breast, her copper hair.  She gently smiles
at her son, who blinks sleepily. If ever a scene embodied the beauty of motherhood, 
this would be the one I would choose. 
I walk out for awhile to hug Linda, who has been through hell lately. She is weeping. But 
somehow I can see things will be good for her again someday. Whatever powers that 
be out there, they loved us all very much that night. 
I look up into the tree and am moved by some emotion I cannot name. The dam in my 
heart breaks and the tears held back for years flow forward, all the joy, pain, love, 
anger and every possibility in between. Maria holds me as I cry, tells me about her new 
man, happy new beginnings that would occur that night.  I smile and hold her close. I 
cannot contain my gratitude for all the beautiful spirits around me at this moment, all 
who speak my name with love and reach out to touch me as I pass. 
NEL 5/02