the tale of the holiday whale

2018-1208 OBT_Blog Post_whale_750x350.jpg

she is quiet

wanting to be very still


in the face of things she does not understand

has not yet

figured out she is


rest assured that she is thinking sifting sorting through

the input

seeing where she fits

in it

whether she fits

in it

can you tell me more about that? she asks

will you give me an example?

how does that look in your mind? she asks

what part of that is most exciting to you

for you

inside you?

she is taking in information at an astonishing rate

a baleen whale opening her mouth as she moves underwater

holding onto whole glimmering fish catching crunchy bits of crustacean feeding on this and that and watching the waves as they pass through

and all the while she is quiet

taking a breath before she asks another


she wants to curl up with 24 books she’s checked out of the library and read them all in a row taking notes turning down pages stickering whole sections with post-its in pink and orange and yellow

she wants to linger in semi-public places close enough to conversations to hear what is being said and what is not being said but perhaps needs to be said instead of all the things that are being said / or maybe sometimes just to listen to the patter the rhythm the melodies of back and forth between two people three people ten people / no / ten is too many too much / right now

she wants to sit down just you just me with people she loves and admires or despises almost completely and ask them how did you / why did you / when did this / what do you think about right before you fall asleep and have you ever felt saved or straitjacketed or betrayed by someone else tell me about that very specifically will you?

and then she wants to come home

she does come home after dark it is december

the christmas lights are on and the tree is bright in the window

she takes a breath looks up at the sky smiles just a little bit

she has been to a party

a holiday party a big one a thing she wasn’t sure she had the sparkle and presence and energy to undertake

she has felt a bit out of sync with this season so far but

she has been pushing toward it clapping and saying hooray it only comes once a year you know it’s here it’s now this is the only christmas you get with this kid at this age with this family at this time with this group of these loved ones and my god let’s not forget about end-of-year giving ‘tis the season in the nonprofit world my friends

right now though

outside in the cold

she lets that wave pass through she does not grip the bits and pieces do not get stuck in her sieve

it is okay to be quiet, she says to herself

to smile at what’s happening around you

to listen to the clinking and chatting and coat putting on and taking off

to ask questions

to let go of agenda and expectation.

she resolves to try that

and even though she knows she will forget and remember and forget and remember and forget and remember again


she feels relieved.