I often wondered what my daughters experienced while away from the home visiting grandparents. Now, I wonder where they are, now that they are away. When they return will each bring a little note of love filled with x's and o's like they wrote when they were young? "xo I miss you very much. But I'm having a blast. xo” These words fill the space in between the longing to have time for myself and missing them so terribly, like I often do now. The mystics claim that the soul finds its perfection in what is absent and, uniting with absence, somehow the magic of soul-filling happens. I have yet to see that magic. I was once a man of faith believing that all things are possible. Now I try not to spend so much effort understanding the ineffable mystery so often fallen back upon by those in the know. Unmoving, I move towards the ash tree growing outside my window where years ago a seed dropped to the ground. I do not ask for it to fill me with wonder. I do not desire to place a swing around its largest limb. It is and I am. My daughter sat up straight in bed one night crying out after a large crack of thunder as lightning tore the tree apart. I spent the next day picking up pieces of bark from my neighbor's yard. Some believe that fences make good neighbors. I apologized for the mess my tree had made. I guess meaning depends upon whether or not we believe stories must have a beginning and an end. One implies the continuity of life; the other, the inevitability of death. I try to live in between where often the space is small and sometimes crowded with memories. There, there, is the place where I have a chance to be taken by surprise.