When I was small, there was a swing that hung from the neighbor’s tree. A beech tree, with torn bark from where the wind pushed the swing too hard against its soft skin.
On summer days, I’d wander into the neighbor’s yard, cut through the tree’s long shadow. Let my feet drag against the worn dirt before pressing my toes into the sand and surrendering to whatever force lifts a girl from ground to sky.
I’d watch the fallen branches beneath me get smaller. The swaths of dandelions and the wobbly first steps of a violet, bloomed. The cracked lines where the ground thirsted for a rain’s refresh.
And the voice that whispered between each rise and fall.
Jump, sweet child.
I’ll catch you.
The tree is older now. Grown. Its tired bark gone, pulled away from where the wind and weather gathered. Bruised from where an insect burrowed so deep it left a mark wide enough to swallow my touch.
A sheet of fog hung from the trees. Coffee warm inside my hands.
She turned toward the forest.
A shimmer of knowing.
“Let’s go there.”
So we walked. The rustling of leaves, our guide. The faint outline of promise pulling us closer to a horizon still unclear.
Her eyes are the color of amber hardened over time.
The kind that holds fossils deep within each crack, preserving their beauty forever. Between each lash, a light that ties the stars together with each sweet smile.
You are a sunrise, sweet girl.
The light that breaks through the dark night sky. A yawn of yellow turning the sky blue again.
These buds of womanhood newly seen,
Held up by roots still growing,
Embraced by the promise of spring.
A seed quenched,
Too soon to know.
Erupting from the ground.
There is shelter here.
Inside hands worn from the gentle wash of time.
This earthly dig, this excavation of heart and mind.
You are stirring.
Reaching beyond the hard stone walls of time,
Bricks crumbling at your feet.
Press your roots into the earth and grow.
Hold tight, sweet girl.
There’s a strength inside of you blooming.
A whisper in your heart growing louder now.
I am courage.
I am strength.
I am more than what you see.
I am the light, rooted to the sky.
Weaved inside a constellation too big for small eyes.
And there will be days when this light will seem hidden.
The gray moon taunt of night.
But it will never be gone.
The tides, they wait for your gaze.
These soft shore hands of time, a balm.
You are made of light, sweet girl.
Stand tall, beauty.
You are held inside a feminine ghost rising,
A heroine’s promise kept.
You are never alone.
There is a tribe of unshakable love,
Clear and bright,
Watching over your days.
You are safe.
The ground is solid.
And this youth, frozen in time, waits for the thaw of remembrance to give rise to the wave that lingers just below the surface.
You are the fire that thaws the icy hold,
sets the most beautiful places inside of you free.
Walls down, sweet girl.
There is nothing to fear.
You are a warrior.
A fierceness with hands wielding the sword of her own truth.
And this body is yours.
A beauty all your own.
Legs built to run free.
Hands crafted to hold dreams.
Fingers designed to let go.
Eyes, a lamp for the wayward heart, still searching the frozen ground.
And your skin. The tender bark that gives way over time becoming smooth with each new pull and tear.
You are perfectly made.
I am yours.
And eyes will press hard against skin, still thin with adolescence.
And there will be a shiver,
An internal shake,
Releasing their hold.
Because there are no words strong enough.
No eyes sharp enough to dim the current inside you, the piercing bravery and knowing that illuminates your heart from within.
Because you are magic, sweet girl.
The puff of smoke before the clearing, the daring spin of wand.
Step over the rubble of judgment, a wall of hurt never yours to ascend.
Set each word aflame, let it smolder under foot.
I am more than what you see.
Shake the soil from your petals
Breathe life into the places where fear once choked the quiet seed of wonder.
Let the dew find your skin again.
There, under the surface still thawing,
A golden hue of courage waiting for your hand.
The splinter of hope reaching for your heart.
It is here, sweet girl.
This place, where toe touches ice,
Fearless of the cracks each new step may bring.
It is here, in the underneath places, below the surface of our knowing where true beauty waits.
Take rest, my dear.
Enter into the far reaches of uncertainty.
It is already known.
Dive deep, sweet girl.
You are the wave building
In the flood of an open heart.
This is you, beauty.
A storm of waves, frothy strength lifting,
Building from underneath,
leaning against the shore.
Each hard stone turn, a gentle glide of soft held sand, slipping through each finger.
There is lightning inside of you.
A crack of light giving glimpse to the beauty underneath.
You are known.
A fire too strong to tame.
Each flicker of orange breath
warm against the cold grip of worry.
You are the opening between the clouds
The place where the stars align.
You were made for this.
You were made to shake the world.
Rid each ill from fractured mind, hearts torn and made whole again.
This frozen reckoning thawed from within.
There is more.
Receive, sweet girl.
This feminine rising,
This ancient union,
This tribe of women stitched inside your heart.
Dance for rain.
Let the thunder swell.
Risk for the sake of your heart.
Leap for the sake of your soul.
Hold your head high.
This tree of life, wide and stable.
The delicate branches of history holding up the sky.
Stretch your limbs.
Find the gentle wash of wind between each leaf.
Stand tall, beauty.
You are a new dawn against the dark night of fear.
The unruly fangs of critique that bite against skin, nip at our sense of self. You are a voice that burns to be spoken
Lit to be set free.
A flame too bright to extinguish.
An awareness stirs, bubbling up from within.
Toes stretch to the sky.
A swing and a reach for the stars.
A leap toward solid ground.
A voice whispers,
Jump, sweet girl.
I will catch you.
Soar, sweet girl.
The sky is yours.