The Hearth

“Resettled farm child. From Taos Junction to Bosque Farms project, New Mexico.”
Dorothea Lange, December 1935
I saw this photo of a little girl in the Depression today. Delicate slouched socks, hunched back, crumbling fireplace facade all bathed in shafts of sunshine glow. And my quiet heart said, “How nice it would be to have your outsides match your insides.”
Jealous. Something in me was softly, sweetly jealous of this little girl.
In no way do I mean to negate the pain of her circumstance, or somehow elevate my own agony above her own, but in an odd way I thought it must be nice to have everything around you, all physical representations, in line with how your heart is feeling. Instead I sleep in a big bed, put on mascara and fill in my eyebrows and touch up my lip gloss, pull on my jeans, walk to work and sit at a desk in a well-lit office with a nice view, chat with friends, banter, laugh, eat ice cream, go back to my big bed… And all the while I feel like that lost, forlorn little girl. I have no ragged bench to huddle on, no cold coals to stare into with impunity. Instead I stare into the soft glow of my computer screen and feel my heart still slowly breaking, broken, broke.
“How nice it would be to have your outsides match your insides.” Have some obvious, out-in-front, red flag-raising reason for feeling the way you do. Something that sends people with soft hands and kind words and warm hearts rushing to your aide. But my lip gloss/banter/ice cream combo brings no aide.
So I sit, in my heart, by the crumbled hearth and dream of what life was and how awful that it isn’t here any more. And think that maybe someday, whether here or somewhere else, this hearth will have new life.

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