The Seven Directions
As a child I lived in a bungalow
with my brother , mother and my father.
My father provided the house.
My mother sustained it ,
and made it a home .
We had many welcome guests,
and we all withdrew to the interior of that home
to safety and to a loving warmth of family .
On the left side of the house was a funeral home.
On the right was a doctor’s office.
My father would often joke that if he ever became
ill he was all set :
The doctor’s office to visit was just to the right
and if that failed the funeral home was a short trip to the left.
In the front of the house and across the road to the east
was the Church of the Nazarene .
Its’ doors opened and closed with adults
attending Sunday school .
Late at night
in the silence of summer midnight,
my father would sit in the front yard
facing the church and the road .
We would sit with him and listen.
He would sing in a single, sweet
and solemn voice
like a cantor.
His solitary song wafted gently
through the darkness alone.
The notes floated upwards,
and bathed in moonlight
they sweetly kissed the stars,
before rising up to heaven
At the back of the house, next to our yard
was George’s house and his yard ,
George went to work with his briefcase
every morning at the same time
and returned every evening
at the same time .
Every week George cut the grass in his back yard
with his 2 wheeled manual mower. He would garden .
The meditative whirring sound of the sharpened blades
back and forth was like a hard earned music every week ,
George’s lawn was beautifully immaculate and green.
He loved working it with rhythmic predictability .
His regular work kept it manicured
and prevented overgrowth and weeds .
In Greek his name meant ” worker of the Earth”.
And George worked the earth .
The doctor on the right worked to help and heal his patients.
George’s lot and the doctor’s lot bordered on each other
George’s lot was deep and long. The doctor’s lot was short.
Every morning I would get up and out of bed
and plant my feet on the earth .
In the morning as I walked out the door
I would see the church in front of me
and the sky above .
I thought of the funeral home on the left
and would look and check the time on a
large clock on the left
that was part of it .
As I walked out further
I’d see the doctors house on the right
and George with his briefcase
coming around the front
of the doctor’s house
to catch the bus.
I returned each afternoon from school at noon
and again in the evening to draw myself inside
to the safety and warmth of our home .
At night, one night in February, with a sigh,
my father passed away.
He passed away in his sleep unaware
that he was seriously ill.
His bedroom was a few scant feet
from the doctor’s office .
He never visited the doctor ‘s office,
though ,next to his room on the right .
He never visited the funeral home
to the left either. Time passed.
The church across the street
continued receiving children
for Sunday school as it always did.
The sky remained above as it always did.
George continued working
and mowing his lawn
as he always did .
My brother and I
continued planting our feet on the ground
and at the end of each day
we withdrew within to safety
in the seventh direction.
I often dream of that familiar house
which my father provided
and mother sustained .
From “Seeds of Self Fulfillment. Work of Love.” by PWChaltas