Essays
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Petrichor / Sunlight.

By: Jen Shoop

Closing in on forty years has seeded vining thoughts. Mainly, I wonder: where am I in my story? Most of the strivings of my younger life have born their fruit. Two children, a long-term home, a creative profession that anchors and yields, a life partner who hung the moon some time ago. No pioneering plans to plot.

Am I planted now in the petrichor of my younger year thunderings?

And yet – a successful entrepreneur that Mr. Magpie holds in the highest esteem once told him:

“My life began at 40.”

She found and married her husband, adopted her two children, and started a company that has enjoyed skyscraping success.

Her story whispers to me when I least expect it. And I find, surprisingly, a decent pour of gas in the tank.

Still, age demands circumspection on this front:

I no longer want to ask, “What’s next?”, having forfeited years of my full-plated life to that thieving question.

This is enough, I repeat instead: this stretch of grass in the late-May sun, the children’s bare feet shellacked with backyard trim, the caterpillar cradled in my son’s palm, Mr. Magpie’s sprawling form on the wicker sofa on a Sunday afternoon, his hand reaching absently for mine, the half-filled crossword puzzle open on the table, the unhurried condensation on my water glass,

the way all of it lands in my lap in language.

And then Mary Oliver, my steadfast communicant, reminds:

“Do you think there is anywhere, in any / language, / a word billowing enough / for the pleasure / that fills you, / as the sun / reaches out, as it warms you / as you stand there / empty handed?”

And I sink further into my summering sequestration, palms open,

come what may

Post-Scripts.

+There is a time for starlight and a time for lamplight.

+When did you hang the moon? (To Mr. Magpie.)

+Impressions of the lost.

Shopping Break.

This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase through the links below, I may receive compensation.

+Zara finds for us: this dress, this eyelet skirt, these beach shorts.

+Zara finds for littles: these hair clips and these shorts.

+Crochet is big for this summer! Love this bag and this top.

+I bought these hair ties for my daughter and have now stolen about half of them. Really good grip if you have a lot of hair like my daughter and I do.

+Cutest canvas everyday flats. I have several pairs and they are adorable and so comfortable!

+I spotted Allegra wearing this button-down over a swimsuit on Instagram during the holiday weekend and need to create the look. All my favorite summer swim options here.

+These shorts are just SO cute. And 50% off!

+I love a cake plate – this one has the cutest scalloped detail.

+On the hunt for new hair claws for summer and found these, these, these, these.

+Obsessed with these Casey Marks dresses — and they’re currently on sale! If you’re looking for something a bit less voluminous, I also love this Banjanan.

+Sweetest FOJ dress for a little love.

+This Marni bag is so chic.

+We’ve leveled up to Thursdays.

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6 thoughts on “Petrichor / Sunlight.

  1. It is enough, and more – how fortunate you are.

    This (beautifully-written) piece resonates with me. It describes exactly how I’ve been feeling of late (also at 40). Content and highly aware of my own good fortune, for possibly the first time in my life. I know there will be more and I look forward to it, but I don’t feel like I need to rush at it desperately lest it leave me behind.

    1. You nailed it — no longer in a rush to get to the next thing. Thanks for writing in 🙂

      xx

  2. I can’t exactly express the emotion this evoked in me but it brought tears to my eyes. Absolutely beautiful. Your writing always has a way of being what it is and then also inviting so much introspection. I also love the way this blends prose and poetry — it’s simply gorgeous!

    I’m in a season of life where the question of “what’s next” is of utmost importance: bar exam, starting a law firm job, move. But this made me think of my parents, 20 years your senior, and I am so grateful I get to be part of their “enough.” I’m staying with them this summer while I study, and the simple conversations with my dad over breakfast or walking with my mom on the beach — it is enough.

    1. I’m so encouraged by this note – thank you! I’m thrilled it resonated with you. Thank you so much fro letting me know.

      You are clearly a wise and empathetic person – I love the way you’re thinking through your parents perspectives at this time. SO beautiful.

      xx

  3. Maybe my favorite thing you’ve written to date. A paragraph so evocative it took my breath. Pure poetry.

    This is enough, I repeat instead: this stretch of grass in the late-May sun, the children’s bare feet shellacked with backyard trim, the caterpillar cradled in my son’s palm, Mr. Magpie’s sprawling form on the wicker sofa on a Sunday afternoon, his hand reaching absently for mine, the half-filled crossword puzzle open on the table, the unhurried condensation on my water glass,

    1. Gosh – thank you so much, Marsha! You made my day!

      Thank you for taking the time to write me.

      xx

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