I'm on an airplane reading Jonathan Johnson's The Desk on the Sea,
a gorgeous memoir honoring his mother,
written during his year in Scotland
with his wife and daughter.
It's his ancestral home;
it's also where my roots lie
(heather, brambles, gorse) —
The Auld Sod.
Jonathan writes that renewal is visible
even in the winter:
December has begun.
Somehow, the roses in front of our cottage
are still blooming.
I learn of traditions
where the schoolchildren,
now including Jonathan's daughter Anya,
participate in poetry-recitation day,
in choral singing,
and in dancing at a gathering called the ceilidh.
The parents and grandparents in attendance,
once schoolchildren themselves,
watch as another generation steps forward.
The flight is returning us home
from our son's wedding,
the gathering of generations.
It's February, but in San Diego,
the flowers don't care,
blossoming in defiant glory.
At the ceremony,
I handled the poetry-recitation
(though Rob and Alyssa's self-written vows
were beautifully poetic).
During the reception,
all ages danced to Earth, Wind and Fire's "September"
our full-throated voices singing, "Do you remember... "
Later, when newer music replaced the old,
it felt right to step aside,
leaving the young to dance.