Growing up, my mom made a lot of spaghetti.
Like a lot. And we're not Italian or anything. But weekly, at least, she'd use our old cast iron skillet and cook up a batch of mostly-from-scratch spaghetti sauce and we'd all sit together and eat. We all learned to set the table properly and couldn't get up until we asked to be excused. She and Dad would discipline our manners by referencing rules they had to follow at the dinner table as children, and would tell stories of their own growing-up meals: a gigantic strawberry shortcake for dinner, the original hamburger helper (to stretch a buck during lean times), a traditional pot-roast-on-Sunday.
That cast iron skillet gave us memories we can't keep on paper. That season of life is over and gone.
It's been beautifully replaced with more generations, a family tree growing out as well as up, and we're all really happy--but we hold fast to those intangible family heirlooms, the hours we spent together learning to twirl spaghetti. And in remembering all this, a big question formed:
Could I be that cast iron skillet, but do one better?
Could I create family heirlooms AND freeze time?
Can I find, and show, poetry in the crevices of today?
We can see it when we look to the past, and we can imagine it when we look to the future, but sometimes it's hard to recognize beauty when we're sitting in it.
Spoiler alert, the answer is yes. The work of making tangible the intangible is good and right and hard.
I work with folks who love each other more than any thing, who would rather laugh like dorks than not laugh at all, and who know deeply that things just aren't perfect, but they're still worth celebrating.