U-Turn-A Brother is Born

trees and benches

Central Park

This u-turn has been spinning around in my head for weeks. Lately life has a way of creeping into my blogging goals and snagging them on flowery vines. I haven’t tripped but merely found myself breathing the deep fragrance of life. In this way New York has come and gone where in keeping with this year of u-turns it snowed for the St. Patrick’s Day parade. That parade revealed itself to be a really fun small town parade in a great big city. Police units abounded both marching and otherwise. High school bands froze their way through the five hours. Horses decked in knitted head caps for their ears clip clopped their way past the crowds. The counties of Ireland marched past a bit rag tag compared to band formation and parade style marines. I began life as a Raley. Imagine my delight when County Caven swarmed by. The contingent was huge! The Name Raley, which can come in various forms like O’Riley, O’Raleigh, O’,Raley, and plain Riley or Raley, leads to people who mostly hail from County Caven. Hence my ancestors place of origin was well represented. Observing everything from my flowering tangled vine of a life, I didn’t notice the bottom of the county sign until it was too far past to get a picture. There in all its glory across the bottom of the banner was the name ‘O’Raleigh.’ I had to content myself by photographing a man passing proudly wearing his cross body ribbon on which was emblazoned, ‘Caven.’ Opps the writing is getting tangled and slowed again.

At last with suitable fanfare, Jeremy’s brother Justin gets his delayed u-turn. I had the privilege of being present at every grandchild’s birth except Justin’s. He came with suitable drama and a delayed entrance. I should note there has been plenty of drama ever since. I plan for these events or rather I try to. We were planning on a white water rafting trip on the Snake River. I made the reservations for a week or two after Justin was due. Justin did not get the memo or if he did he couldn’t resist drama over Bamma’s presence.

Everyone on the trip knew we were waiting for a grandchild. Despite the anticipation and the not knowing, the river wound its usual peace into my life. One evening after a great day of rafting, this poem was born in the quiet lavender and rose glow of twilight.

Snake Rhythms

A soft wind circles through the canyon,

swirls its melody side to side.

Tired people sink gently into the sand

and learn the gift of

the rhythm of the wind

and the ceaseless river flow.

River moments small and unexpected

creep into people’s eyes,

seek out their inner songs

releasing them into

the rhythm of the wind

and the ceaseless river flow.

The river’s changing flow pulls through

and into time, past its remembering

into an ever shifting home

of uncertain place but everlasting peace,

the place of the rhythm of the wind

and the ceaseless river flow.

Janice DeRuiter

 I’ve included this poem for a reason. The river images spilled over into Justin’s birth poem. But first you should hear how we found out. We ended the trip and rafters flowed into the building excited about A REAL TOILET. When somebody yelled out, “DeRuiters Come Here!!” There on the bulletin board was a fax with a picture of this huge baby boy. It announced Justin’s birth. Details escape me but as I recall he was around 9’6 oz. Give that kid a paddle and let him at it! My oldest son’s wife had kindly taken photos and faxed them to our take out point. This thoughtful gesture gave us a bit of the excitement we had missed. As so often happened, the poem seems to sense what was to come.

For Justin

This child was born on a river,

a river flowing with love.

This child was born in the daylight,

a day lit by the light of dreams.

This child was born in the summer,

a summer with fields gold with laughter.

This child was born on a river,

a river where all of time burst

like fireworks poured down from heaven

into the river of our lives.

Janice DeRuiter

I am a musician and cry easily when a child or grandchild plays. Justin, the drama boy, became Justin the drummer. Never in my wildest imaginings could I have guessed that someday I would be crying because a grandchild was so good at drumming. Now we attend garage band concerts and listen proudly as Justin expertly backs up his band. Really he’s good! It’s not just me, honest.

About Winding Stream Press

Janice DeRuiter Eskridge, M.F.A. is a poet who worked for over a decade as a poet-teacher for California Poets in the Schools. Helen Shoemaker, Ph.D. L.M.F.T. is a university professor who teaches in the areas of child development and counseling. She is also a therapist in private practice.
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