11 September 2014

We Came Home

I opted to repost this entry from last year, in honor of today being the anniversary of 9/11.  True, that freedom is not free.  May this be a gentle urge to remember the fallen and appreciate the many blessings we have been gifted.

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We Came Home

...the two of us did,
along with many others on a Tuesday Delta flight.
I'd been away for a bit over a week, working,
and was returning fatigued but full of ideas.

As the plane pressed on,
I could feel the weight of the "catching up"
that would follow my arrival.
Going through mail, lining up calendars, answering messages,
laundry, lawn, coordinating schedules and reaching even keel
with elementary school work.
I chatted casually with the woman next to me
and we spoke of our children, of our jobs and the states
of our lives-
Our banter was soft and steady,
and I looked occasionally out at the cloud carpet below.

He, on the other hand, was sleeping.
He'd been away far longer than I had,
had been further from home,
and was returning that night to a family worn by waiting.
His presence was such that we didn't know he was there.
No one would have known, in fact, had the captain not
introduced him at the end of the flight
as we pulled quietly up to our gate.

We hushed as the words fell low from the
static and crackle of the speaker system.
In the following moments of that sacred space,
a quiet silence, a breath,
and then a single meeting of palms.
It was soft, the rhythm of awe, but it built impact by impact,
until the scattering of echoes that followed it soon erupted
into a wondrous thundering of applause, from forward to aft,
as we rose to our feet and the tears fell.

We watched his exit through our windows from where we stood.
He was the first off the plane that night,
entering the rain of Raleigh beneath a moonless sky. 
His light, however, reflected off the faces of us all,
and he carried his own stars, and they enveloped him.

I thought of him into the early morning hours,
and yesterday, and today... as I will tomorrow.
The remembrance of his family there, arms open and hands
hugging stripes, the mix of salt and freshwater
converging on cheekbones.
I will never forget the sight.
I will never forget the gratitude.

We came home, the two of us did, along with
many others on that Tuesday Delta flight.
He was sleeping...

and it woke me up.


  1. Forever one of my favorites. Bravo, Jess.

    1. It was one of the most moving experiences I've had. Thank you for reading, Melissa. You are a huge inspiration to me.

  2. Brings a tear to my eye each time I read it. So moving. So powerfully written. Thank you!

    1. Thank you for reading it, and for being here.

  3. Thanks for the good cry. Just beautiful. Thankful.

  4. Beautiful -just beautiful!!! Love you, Jess.