be that however as it may

Oh, Mom. Your weather has made my news. I call to see how you are fairing the first foot of snow and forty-mile-per-hour winds. The blizzard is sorta fun, you say. You shovel for a bit and rest. Shovel a bit and rest.

I’d be there with you if I could. I’d shovel with you.

You say, be that however as it may,  it’s important to keep your independence. Keep it as long as you can.


He lives on the far shore of an island much smaller than my own. At least I thought my ground was bigger. Maybe not bigger . . . maybe I was thinking firmer. Maybe I thought the ability to budge was the opposite of standing on solid ground.

Be that however as it may, this is how oceans grow.


On the opening day of your own joy best friends don’t show up. But, ex-husbands do. Somewhere on the scale between good intentions and broken vows, you end up on your knees. You don’t know when to believe. And even though you know belief has nothing to do with timing and everything to do with faith, be that however as it may, you still strike your singing bowl with the wrong end of the stick.


But Page is there when the curtains open, holding her grandmother’s hand. She isn’t in second grade anymore. She wasn’t last year, nor the year before. Nor the year before the year before. Somehow I hadn’t noticed.  And yet I’ve known her since before her father died when she was only two.

And now here she is, glowing. She wants to buy three of our pendants and one of them should say, Promise. Because that is what keeps her going. She tells me this, trusting that— of course— I’d understand.


Where my mother lives, it is still snowing. I have only to google my home town and see they are up to twenty-six inches. I send up a message on Facebook, sharing my opening lines of this post with everyone who friends me.

Oh, Mom, I’d shovel with you if I could.

And this is when my mother’s baby sister responds on Facebook:  “Our oldest sister just turned 81. She was out raking leaves last weekend. She got tired and went in the house and said, ‘I’m too old for this.’ Her husband, recovering from his latest surgery, said, ‘Who’s going to do it then?’ So she went back outside and finished it.


About redmitten

author of Cracking Geodes Open, Making Good Use of August, and The Peppermint Bottle. poetry editor for IthacaLit. website:

17 responses to “be that however as it may

  1. How much do I love this post? I can’t measure because it is beyond measuring.

  2. This made me cry. In a good way. Loved the bit about striking the singing bowl with the wrong end of a stick. Do I ever know that.

  3. Exactly. We do a lot of stuff because who else is going to do it….

    • redmitten

      kathleen, in a different conversation my daughter and i were discussing how frequently our societies depend on women to carry everything on. yes…

  4. My mom, at 89, couldn’t work in her garden anymore. Helping her by pulling weeds and pruning, while she sat in a chair watching, and giving some advise on how to clip a rose, is a lasting memory that will live inside of me forever.

  5. Katy

    I feel like i’m not getting the “singing bowl” part. What’s that?

    Are you gonna make something that says “One false move and you’ve bought a horse”? I will check the etsy shop. 🙂

    • redmitten

      katy- i think the horse pendant is getting done in the next couple days. 🙂 and the singing bowl: for me it sorta represents a prayer sent up to whomever is listening or able to listen….but you know how some prayers cannot be answered because you prayed for a new corvette? striking the singing bowl can be like sending up the wrong sort of prayer.

  6. Rose Hunter

    What a good suggestion above, from Katy (re the horse).
    From this post I’d volunteer the singing bowl and the wrong end of the stick….
    What a lovely post. “On the opening day of your own joy best friends don’t show up” – spoke to me, and I love how you’ve combined all the pieces, as usual. 🙂
    …Can’t believe it’s snowing there. I am just sleeping under the blanket as well as the sheet now, in my “outdoor” house. Blizzard!

    • redmitten

      rose- i am so slow in responding this time around. and the joy thing- it seems as much as we need friends beside us during the bad times, we really miss them when they don’t show up to share in our joy. i need to remember to be that friend on the other end. and yes, snow- now we are getting arctic front warnings for 36 hours from now. plenty of time to find my shovel.

  7. “On the opening day of your own joy best friends don’t show up.” This is too beautiful, Sherri! The whole piece/poem/essay, poessay?

    My mother is close by, thankfully, her brood, most of them, close enough to help out when need be. But she won’t abandon the old colonial and stay w/family–not even for hurricanes and major snow storms. She waits it out. Womans the homestead. Almost 78 and still a guardian. But my brother shows up to shovel her out.

    Something about this poessay(?!) made me think of Susan Sontag. Stirred so many feelings. Good ones. 🙂

    • redmitten

      jayne, oh wow- your mom. what a legacy these strong women extend without realizing it. and i am so glad you liked this poessay- because i feel there is poetry in this, too. what lovely comments- thank you.

  8. i am left thinking – life is shoveling for a bit then resting. life is somewhere in between good intentions and broken vows and yes, ending up on our knees and banging away on that singing bowl.

    you sing that gentle, swollen arc between life and death. be that however as it may be.

    • redmitten

      amanda, you have such a way with words. you help me line my thoughts. yes- between good intentions and broken vows- we end up on our knees. lovely to share life with you, even if it is just for now cyberly.

  9. Really good short piece in five sections with one line that really rings:

    “On the opening day of your own joy best friends don’t show up”

    • redmitten

      john- good to hear from you. it takes time for me to realize disjointed portions of my life are actually joined. and your comments help a lot. thank you.

and then you said:

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 51 other followers

%d bloggers like this: