Wednesday, August 28, 2019

After Crying

After Crying

Dear Ian,

After crying
I sleep hard
And on awakening I lie in a warm spot
Very still.
I don't move,
Dug in deep,
Hesitant to accept that time is still running along.

In a crib of suspended animation.

My eyes move only, and note what is the measure of darkness around me....1 am? 4 am? The quiet inhale of 5 am?  That oddest of hours just before the stirring of morning world. I lay still and wish this could be my final place of being,
Wish I could stay and stay and stay.

After crying
Mornings come with a slower gait;
Raw senses,
More effort to be quiet
Because noises hurt.
I find that I am still in some sort of delta state, moving very slowly 
Making tea or feeding the birds. Eyes fuzzy raw from swelling

My body moves to the least small measure so as to confirm acceptance of another day here,
Alone again.
I am without you.
I have poured this out again like poison from a cup.
I am emptied. It is not a tiredness so much as surrender; not defeat so much as a retreat.

I have taken a slow and deliberate plunge; a going down below the water line, down into the other world.

After crying
I observe with silence.
And secrecy
I can hear and see and sense what goes on above
Within a blessed veil of hiding. 
All sensation and perception are muted and warped and warbled. I float not apart exactly, but beneath the rest of the world in a cool and dark and different state. The dreaminess of sleep still a cloak.

Light is changed.
I drift slowly sipping my tea;
In the quiet..
No people 
None of the prattle that betrays the comings and goings of the normal world.
Safe and apart. 
My swollen eyes and blunted movements might work better down here...beneath all other things. I am altered, morphed, remade into a being that seems amphibious or mercurial, a temporary but delicious place.

I cast my gaze up through the backward light
and watch
and breath
and wait for a while.

A place where on one will even come for a while or notice or interrupt my will to be apart. 

Where I find again my Holy Stance;
My worship posture.
This body crying her
Remembrance of not having you anymore.
The most deep and sad truth 
And thus being alone in knowing it,
Willing to sit with this knowing.

After crying, my body wants to be invisible and my heart rues the coming of day. But come it always does. It is the closest I ever come to making peace with death, until I have to once again shoot to the surface for air.




Saturday, August 17, 2019

Yielding to the bigger

Yielding to the Bigger

Dear Ian,

The river is leaving again, and I knew it would make me sad.

I hate another death.

I dreaded the drying, having seen it before, and I thought I would just look away for the month it took to happen, stop my walks, stay inside and let death have dominion without me. The dogs need the walks though, and so do I, so I kept walking along it anyway, witnessing the shrinking pools withdrawing water line;

until nothing remained but isolated puddles and great blue herons, watching. Water warming slowly and the color changing from emerald to chartreuse and eventually a muddy taupe as the river bed around bleaches whiter. White as the occasional belly-up fish.

Big fish get eaten first, then the smaller ones, and at last go the water bugs, minnows and craw fish, who escape for a while in the muddy reaches of the banks. Life giving way. Life taking. Perhaps it was the heron that shifted my perspective a little. 

Instead of just rage and grief, my two most common companions in the days of these last two years, I felt instead, a softening.

I seem to have found more than just these feelings have been ignited by the drying of my river. What a surprise.

Quiet resignation, scientific fascination.... a softening again. 

A yielding to the bigger.

All I have left to do with any of this is yield to the bigger.

So, I bowed my head in deference to another great mystery unveiled at the ending of  another thing I love.

I am a witness again.

I found myself, as I walk, watching the indifferent heron, finding her life in these deaths, and quietly notice that every death actually is another beginning.

Ian, do you remember our trips to the drying pools every August, buckets and nets....

or sometimes just your baseball cap and an empty can?

I see you now,  your exquisite blonde head facing down close to the pool, intent and poised to scoop up some pale blue glimmering minnow;  enacting another small miracle. We barely spoke, so intent on the mission. We did it as often as we could, on the years when you were young and still with me, rescuing some, our buckets bubbling with little guys, all scared and freaked out by the turn of things.

Turns out a slow, gradual death is less of a surprise than sudden salvation.

We'd take our catch back give them a new life in our metal fish pond or in the big Blanco river. I know that at the moment of release both our hearts were full of joy and relief that at least these few had a chance.

It was one of the most beautiful tasks I have ever shared with anyone. I miss it with a fierce burn, baby.

So this morning I took my bucket and net again alone, my throat tight with grief. I walked back to the place where the water makes its last stand; the deepest, shadiest place. The last pool. 

I was alone as I mostly am, save for the memories of you, blonde, beautiful and completely perfect. Even without you here, I began to scoop and recover who I could, and they went wild trying to avoid my net. as is their custom.

As I scooped and stomped and made my way in the water that was quickly becoming too silty for me to see the wriggling lives, I thought of you, around 8 years old, by my side. When I do this, it is almost too painful to bear. My longing and regret choke me, but I did it anyway. I saw us side by side, as we always were, a team of two odd misfits in this death-torn world, saving a few other tiny shimmering misfits. Doing what we wanted. Doing what we could. I can't honestly say whether it was more painful to think about than not, but I can tell you that I felt softened by it all. I felt softened by the reminder that the ebbs and flows; the beginnings and endings of everything, and our brief and enthusiastic stand (with nets and buckets) means something to me.

Ian, do you think God is like us with His net? Does he try to scoop up who He can as we humans freak out and hide (to our own demise?) This is a Christian metaphor; one that sometimes I imagine, but mostly think is yet another story. I don't know....The timeless battle between free will and the possibility of something better somewhere else.  

The only truth is see is that fleeing and fearing is a part of everything. Free will is a part of everything.

It lays us open for the blue heron and can be our undoing. How are we to know; how are we to fight our own natures as the pool gets smaller and life gets harder? How are we supposed to know when to hide and when to hold still and surrender to the net?

So today I took my faith and my questions again to the river.
And I thought again of you, and why you left me.
Why your free will robbed me of you.
Why the river fills or the river dries up.
Why perfectly beautiful creations have to die. 

And.....Why that same free will compelled us to clasp hands and hearts and go engage in those acts of cosmic disobedience as the river dried each year. I don't know why.

What I do know is that you and I have hearts to save. 

And that is something.

And it was good.