This Thursday 13 is a tribute to love. I'm full of it. I'm not talking about the garden variety, department store brand of love, but about love that can bring you to your knees and make you better just by being around it, by feeling it, by giving it away and getting it back...the kind of love that can take your breath away, the way a prayer can. I've often and plentifully affirmed and shouted my love for my daughter, my partner and my mom. But there's more--other people who deeply matter:
1. Stella: she's not a person but she fully qualifies. This dog with soulful eyes entered our family 7 months ago expecting nothing. Not kindness, not food, not shelter. Today she wags that long tail of hers so often that she knocks over wine glasses and anything else in its path. Everyday she tells me she loves me. Clearly. Unmistakably.
2. My son-in-law Mike and a not-yet-known baby boy due in January: I continue to be amazed by the love Jess and Mike have for eachother and around them. They are my extended and expanded family and I know it will forever deepen.
3. My dear friend who-shall-be nameless: I can't explain how a kindred soul who speaks my secret language can appear from nowhere and so easily step into my heart and trust. I can't explain it, but I'm deeply grateful.
4. My friends in Northampton: I've always wanted nearby friends who could/would drop by for a morning cup of coffee and stay up late at night helping to plan a party or a funeral. We look at eachother on a Sunday night over pizza and marvel at our good fortune. And I think we're in it for the long haul....
5. My oldest friends: I don't make friends so easily. And even when I do, I put more effort
avoiding being vulnerable than I do planning a vacation. But finally, after years of our ups and downs and arounds, I know I can count on you. And I too would be there for you in a flash.
6. The Big Yellow: There is a small group of folks with whom I have a deep connection, grown from nights or weekends of writing together. You are all so much younger than me and yet the time I spend with you has no boundary or age of interest.
7. Jane: You've saved my life. Maybe forever we'll stop at the boundaries that a counselor-client relationship requires, but I'd do anything for you, and then some.
8. Rosie: It's been two years since you died. I can still see you swimming in the bay, running in the Scarborough fields, sleeping with your head in my lap. You are the best dog, Rosie, and wait for me because we'll play again in the rolling hills of where ever heaven is.
9. Dad: I wish I had been grown up enough and wise enough to be sure you knew and know how much I love you and admire the way you lived and died. I don't know how you of all people got a daughter like me who processes everything inside and out....
10. Jess' friends: You guys have always been my favorites. i hope you know this. I don't see you too often these days, but I'm always loving it when our paths cross.
11. Willa: I hate/despise/deplore that you've died! I still have your voice message on my cell phone and still consult with you whenever I need objective wisdom. You're a friend I can never replace. Fortunately, you've left me enough of yourself that I'm getting by.
12. Provincetown: On the tip of Cape Cod sits a coastal town with a mish-mash of 3000 residents--some combination of artists, gay men and lesbians, and Portuguese fishing families. The place magical. The light bounces off the ocean in impossible ways. This was my home for awhile and the sea salt, creativity, and dysfunction of it all is part of who I am.
13. I'm leaving this spot open to the future.
I'm overwhelmed sometimes by all this deep love. Sometimes it makes me cry. But I'm not apologizing any more than I'm hiding: I'm not sure how much room one person has inside for all the love I'm feeling these days, but I'm thankful for all of it.