2023, What shall I wear today?

photo by shf

Shall I paw through the closet for the comfortable standbys that know my elbows and knees, my wrists and ankles, my belly and butt, the length of my spine and the span of my shoulders? Or shall I pull from the edges, the painter’s frock I haven’t worn in years, its mauve tone assuring me of its timelessness, that it will be there when I’m older to flow with my imperfections like an old friend? Or do I don the disco shirt I found at the thrift shop for a perfect occasion cut from the calendar back in March 2020 and which has had no occasion to rise to since? Should I go with the infallible synthetic slacks that hug my thighs and calves, giving me an extra dose of uprightness, pulling me into a posture that encourages all the inches of me to stand taller, more certain that I can in fact hold myself together with a little help from 5% spandex?

What shall I wear that withstands all kinds of weather, the unforecasted wind, the uprooting and snapped branches that follow? The nights when the crepe myrtle bangs against the eastern wall with a knock as fierce as an angry god? Flooding rains that flow over parched earth too cracked to absorb them? The persistent chill that moves into the bones where shivers are so deep they rattle the past, present, and future? The glorious days where every rotten thing is made right by 72 degrees and a cobalt sky? The unpatterned extremes of not enough or too much, of “we’ve never seen anything like it” and records that hurt when they’re broken.

What shall I wear today, 2023, but the promise that I CAN make a move, step forth, write the next word, exhale the next sigh, light the next candle, clean up the next mess, ask the next question, smile at the next stranger, dream the next delight, brake at the next stop light, disregard the next distraction, savor the next sunrise, notice the next nudge, thank the next teacher, absorb the next insight, squash the next self-defeating criticism, cry the next tear, employ the next resource, extend the next kindness, greet the next gift.

On this day, 2023, the most important possession I shall wear is my I CAN. And slipping on the spandex can’t hurt.



writing with an open heart

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