i am one year in this dutch town and the sunflowers are seeding, all orange and yellow like pumpkin loaf and the geese are calling, a haunted sound and i flap my arms and pretend to fly.

i cut the stems of these flowering suns and i bring them inside, i bring autumn inside and i stick it in a vase. and they lean towards the light.

and i lean too, into light that falls in a pool on the floor and it’s so bright, so happy it makes me believe. aiden dances in the pool, twirling.

and i want to write the light, to write it so the world believes: to make the world see what my son does-that they too can dance in the pool of shine, in spite of.

we make soup of tomatoes on the vine and pile apples from the orchard and fall is in everything: in the yellowed leaf, in the apples on teacher’s desk, in the whirr of the combines as shadows drift.

another season and yet there’s always light, but it’s shorter now and we have to open our eyes wider to let it all in. but laundry, and babies, and husband, and the words trail off and the paint dries…

and i learn of this, a place i can go, where the light stays long: a place where i can sit with pad of paper and linger with artists and faith and string sentences without doing dishes or folding diapers or sweeping up goldfish crackers.

and i hope to go. i hope to go to remember the woman behind the mother, the writer who longs desperately to fly.

meanwhile i open eyes wider and i try to let it all in, the light, so that one day when theirs are the footsteps to fall into school and the house is too quiet and the geese-call makes me lonely, i’ll let it all out on paper.

and for now it sits pooled on my floor where my son dances and together, we lean hard, as the flowers do.

(this, my submission to the high calling contest in hopes of retreating with them into words and woods)