Recently, I’ve been re-reading my old journal scribbles, mining for a treasured phrase to spark inspiration for the next great essay or novel. No such luck on that battlefront. What I did discover was an old piece titled “Salaam wa Alaykum.” There’s nothing very special with the small free-write I wrote nearly 10 years ago except as a reminder when life feels so dark, I need only remember what brings me the starlight I adore.
Salaam wa Alaykum
Smiles and memories, I love driving under the glittering stars of Montana skies, feeling so tiny and full of life in a world that, for that moment, holds nothing but boundless beauty. I love campfires cuddles, the flames nipping at my cold nose and iced fingers. Tiny black poodles buried in the snow. Half-seeing kitties who show blind affection and love with abandon. Punk rock Christmas songs that meld new life to old tradition. Homemade mix tapes and homemade journals and homemade cake.
I love life in the little moments that remind me that life is just stolen moments that are too often passed over. I love random words that stand for obscure ideas: hope, integrity, love. I love stealing guys sweatshirts, swathing myself in a constant hug, constant safety. Lilac blooms and white roses. Seattle rain. Writing by candlelight, the flicker dancing against the wall, sketching stories for the ages.
I love listening to God’s rants and rage and tears in the storms during Indiana nights. Bahama beaches. Old couples holding hands, still in love after years and years and years. I love the aged photographs of troops kissing their loved ones hello because they have lived through hell and this, this is heaven.
I love ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ on Christmas Eve with cookies, a box of tissues and my heart settling for another year on my sleeve. Soft blankets and a bed full of pillows and heating pads and long showers to take the pain away. Sentimental hallmark bullshit that gets me every time. Beautiful Arabic phrases: Salaam wa Alaykum. May Peace Be With You. Books that make me cry and think and smile and laugh and want to live a better life. People who make me cry and think and smile and laugh and want to live a better life.
I love you.