Several years ago, I was registering for gifts for my wedding. I sifted through so many websites looking for the perfect set of plates, and just couldn't find what I was looking for. In my mind, I kept thinking of my Mimi's dishware. Old white plates with a kind of geometric Native American type design along the border. Not really my style, and yet, I kept looking for something that looked like those plates. But no matter how many places I looked, I couldn't find just the right thing. There's no way I ever could have, and not just because they were decades old and no longer available for purchase.
You see, what I realize now, that I didn't then, is that what I truly loved about those plates were the many, many streaky silverware marks that made once white dishes swirled into gray. (It's no surprise thinking back now that I ended up registering for gray plates... the closest I could get, I guess.) I remember once when I was very small, cutting something on my plate at Mimi's house and realizing the lines I left behind with my fork, feeling both a little guilty and also kind of amazed. Before that moment, I hadn't realized that those weren't originally part of the plates, but rather markings from the people who used them. What I was trying to register for all those years ago was the physical manifestation of a happy, well-lived life. Something I could never buy, or even force. Even if I'd bought thrift store plates, those wouldn't be MY silverware markings. It's something that simply takes time. Many marks made over many, many years. From special birthday dinners, and little snacks before bed, to a piece of fruit loving cut for your sister or your nephew. It is the evidence of happy memories you didn't even realize you were making in the moment that added up to be a wonderful life when viewed in retrospect.
I'm finally starting to see some of those markings on my own dishes, albeit with a different husband (a whole different story for a different day). Every time I take out my favorite casserole dish and see those little gray scrape marks, it fills me with happiness and gratitude for the beautiful life I'm building, and I can't wait to see how they accumulate over the years to come.
I think this may become a regular column here, as I have many more little moments and manifestations I'd like to share, but I'd like to let them stand alone to really appreciate each one. What is your physical manifestation of a life well-lived? Whatever it is, I hope you take time to cherish it.
I've been working on an idea for a new poetry series for a while now, but it's been taking a little time to let it come to fruition. I often use poetry as a device for processing my feelings, and expressing the deepest, most tender emotions that regular language can't find the words for, and this new project is no exception.
Over the last couple of years, I've felt these changes coming. A tremendous tilling of the soil. It wasn't necessarily something I chose to do, but it happened nonetheless. The friendship fields, once bursting full of flowers, have been taken down to the earth again. And I'll be honest with you - it has been difficult to look out into that sea of brown, lifeless earth, just praying for the return of spring. The return of life to my once full garden.
But as I often do, I have used this quiet, dormant winter season to reflect on seasons passed. I'm taking time to carefully replenish the soil, nurturing fragile new seeds in the hopes that they will take root and blossom into something beautiful. I've been saying goodbye to some beautiful flowers that I thought would remain in the garden forever, while also taking respite in the shade of one or two glorious trees that rooted down deep long ago and reliably grow taller year after year, reminding myself not to take for granted the ever-present companionship of their branches.
It is hard to turn the earth, especially when you actually really loved the garden the way it was. And new growth takes time. But these poems are helping me to grieve what's gone, and perhaps more importantly, to truly nurture and appreciate each new bud that springs to life as I replant my garden. If you're tilling your soil too, or maybe just in need of a reminder to tend your garden, I invite you to read this opening poem from my new series. I hope you enjoy!
My Friends, The Flowers
by Bitel Beyette
my beautiful friends,
you bring so much color to my life
some seasons growing wild
vibrant and aglow
cold, and lifeless
I am always
to see you go
I try to tend my garden well
giving water, sun, and soil
yet some still wilt away
and retreat despite my toil
the seasons come and go
but still they take me by surprise
old beloved flowers
I miss what's right before my eyes
and leaves spring forth
a new season to explore
the garden takes new shape
but blooms for me once more
Here we are again, my friends. The first blog post on my blog... well, that is to say, my new blog. Those of you who know me probably know that this is not the first time I've typed out a blog post, announcing a new project, a new blog to follow, one that will definitely stick this time. The practice isn't new, but the intention is.
In the past, every time I have tried to start a new blog, I start with a great idea, but quickly become bogged down in the details. Creating the perfect design, selecting colors and logos, trying to find that perfect niche that will be both interesting and profitable. I spend so much time thinking about what content will be engaging that I lose sight of why I started in the first place - just to write. To share my thoughts and ideas, to tell stories, to share a piece of myself with anyone interested enough to listen. Because truly, that's all I have ever wanted to do with past blogs. Just to be able to work on my craft, and hopefully, to share that gift with others. I don't really care about making sure I'm using the right SEO key words, or what colors I will use for my "signature brand." All I truly want is a place where I can come to type out a post, or an essay, or a couple of poems. A place to collect my thoughts without worrying if they tie into my niche or seem like a departure. So, that's what this is. Just that and really nothing more. And it feels so freeing to allow it to just be... exactly as it is.
I can't promise anything that will be life changing. I can't promise that you'll get the same type of content on exactly such a day every week. But I can promise that the musings you find on this page will be written from the heart. Be it a true personal story, or a fictional one I've crafted just for fun, you'll get the real me, not the one I create to be Pinterest famous. So, I hope you'll come along with me on this journey to see what new and wonderful things we find in the wide open spaces of my heart and mind. I can't wait to see what's been waiting for us there!
See you soon,