• Shana Ritter

Back Home Again…

I have been home for four days following our two week sojourn in Peru. It was a truly wonderful trip in many aspects, not just the places we saw, or the people we met, but also the way that travel manifests into an interior journey. Every landscape contains multiple vistas, every geography complexity.

I am glad to be home carrying the experiences of the trip with me into a new year. I have returned with a simple structure to my day and an appreciation for my home, friends and family that is like a deep sigh, integral to breath.

On the way into town this morning to meet with my Thursday writing companions there was, on this glorious late summer still verdantly green morning, a momentary rend in the fabric of the air around me. Cresting a hill I felt the absence of two of my dear friends so clearly that my breath caught as my eyes filled with tears. Judy passed over four years ago, and Susan just last year and still I miss them, often in a quiet way but on occasion, when my heart is wide open I will feel them gone like a wallop or as if I have taken a heavy fall to earth. A piece is missing from the sky.

I wrote this for Judy and then shared it recently at Susan’s yahrzeit, it seems somehow all connected with travel and wonder, and coming home.


Daylight’s last hour is soaked sweet with mowing,

the sky swirls, ravine and stream bend toward lake,

the sharp yellow tinge of marigolds

the silent wings of butterflies

All remind me how much I miss you.

Somewhere in the midst of children’s arms, biscuit crumbs,

alarm clocks, murphy’s oil soap, Friday night roast chicken,

honey drips on counters, snapshots on the fridge,

the ordinary became extraordinary.

The mark of days, the heft of time, the light

falling out of heaven, even before you died.

I began to keep a list of graces:

the butterfly caught all night on the screened in porch

clinging as close as possible to sky

iridescent wings skimming the scoop of my palms.

I carried it outside, opened my hands and it lifted

blue tipped wings into blue air, wings,

no different then prayer, fragile, thin as time.

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