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a tale of sad tea

I have so much to say but nowhere to begin. Words collide in my mind and feelings become intertwined.

I play pretend like I did so many nights as a young girl. In the dark of the night when I could not find sleep I’d tell stories to stuffed bears and rag dolls. Glitter people would dance around my room and I’d try to catch them in my small hands. My imaginary world came to life when they kissed me goodnight and shut out the lights.

Now I am concerned, will I get my eight hours? what time should I set my alarm for?

An owl swoops down and lands on my windowsill. He’s been sleeping the day away, deep within the branches of big pine tree in our yard.

“Hoo,” he says




“Who are you trying to be?”

I look deep into his big eyes, so wise with age, I cannot lie I must tell him the truth.

“I need to grow up,” I say in a hush voice, so the ones still awake cannot hear us talking.

My room is dark and I can just barely make out shadows of furniture and piles of clothes. He flutters from the window to the floor and lands on a cushion thats lost its place on my bed. We are closer now, and I see tears forming around the rim of his eyes. He understands me so deeply.

He imparts his wisdom to me. he tells me that growing up is something I don’t control. “Just be yourself,” he reminds me.

“be the girl with the vivid imagination who loved to read and draw and make believe.”

Let go of control.

I cannot control my growing

I cannot control who buys this house

I cannot control the people I meet

I cannot control when loved ones hurt.

I am just a girl.

The we make tea like we did so many years ago.

We share things that are out of our control and acknowledge that they made us sad.

He tells me of a baby bird that fell from his tree and how its life left it, the moment it hit the hard ground.

We weep and blink our tears into my teacup.

I tell of how my heart was broken

more tears for the cup

He speaks of how he watched the slugs greedily eat all my rhubarb plants.

I say I am a terrible gardener

All things we can’t control.

so we drip the tears into the cup

I want to drink the tea, taking ownership of all the sad tales but he tells me to use it wash my fathers feet.

I look down at the puddle in my cup. The ripples entrance me as I cry more drops.

“wash his feet with salty tears?”

my question hangs there in the stale air of my room.

when I look up for a response the wise owl is nowhere to be found. Out my window I can see by the moonlight.

There he his, dancing in the dark of the night. To far to call out to him, I sit cross legged on the floor.

I am left in the dark with a teacup of salty water and decision to make.


7 responses

  1. we blink tears into teacups… this is beautiful, emmalynn. one of the saddest things in our world is people growing up too quickly… it’s a fine balance i guess. praying for you, as you discern. your print is being mailed off tomorrow! love e.

    August 6, 2010 at 5:28 am

  2. wash his feet with salty tears…there’s an image I want to hold onto. I love the way you took me back to your childhood dreams and imagination. That’s a good place for all of us would-be artists and writers to revist, I think, before all the fears and doubts crept in. Glad I stopped by from emily’s.

    August 6, 2010 at 12:45 pm

  3. “I want to drink the tea, taking ownership of all the sad tales but he tells me to use it to wash my fathers feet….I am left in the dark with a teacup of salty water and decision to make.”

    Oh, I loved this bedtime story. I love these words. How I fight the lack of control over life. How easy it is to take ownership of all the sad tales, instead of using the tears to wash my Father’s feet.

    August 6, 2010 at 7:14 pm

  4. Sarah

    So lovely my heart aches. I think maybe I need a date with your little owl!

    August 7, 2010 at 3:18 am

  5. Just found your blog …. You are a beautiful writer 🙂

    August 7, 2010 at 5:37 am

  6. I loved this story – both your words and your message. And your owl. He is utterly adorable.

    “Be the girl with the vivid imagination who loved to read and draw and make believe.” I’m still learning how to grow up without leaving behind the spark of childhood imagination, how to leave my life in the hands of my Father and rest in His plans. You conveyed these ideas so well, so sweetly. Thank you.

    August 9, 2010 at 9:46 pm

  7. oneofheavensown

    This is a really beautiful piece Emma,
    You’re so talented!
    That owl is very cute as well! 🙂 ❤

    August 21, 2010 at 10:32 pm

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