Friday, November 22, 2013

One Wolf
Ah, the beguiling pomegranate, beneath all of her allure and grandeur, she is but a tangled mass of hard won - and fleeting - delight. They were on sale and I couldn't resist.

We've been sick, one a week this whole month, another dropping as soon as one gets better. Ugh, the exhaustion! Thankfully, it has felled us all and hopefully the next virus won't be for many months. I did feel well enough to get out to see an old friend, well, that a might be an overly optimistic description of our relationship, but I have an inability to keep enemies. The whole process drains me so I just move on and never see them again or when we reconnect, and I act as if no bad happened, because I've learned it doesn't matter, if it ever did. I've made too many mistakes and unintentionally hurt people along the way to pretend I am better than anybody.

Anyway, this friend, she was a colleague and eventually my employee when I was promoted. We were both going through major stuff in our personal lives when we met, in fact, we do not know each other outside of the parameters of complete crisis and transformation. At the time, she was in the depths of her alcoholism and spiraling downwards quickly while I was emerging from a painful divorce and clawing my way back into the light. There was a middle ground between our paths, one where we recognized the broken bits in the other. There we formed an odd trust and source of comfort. Reminds of Rilke's epistolary advice, "Do not assume that he who seeks to comfort you now, lives untroubled among the simple and quiet words that sometimes do you good. His life may also have much sadness and difficulty, that remains far beyond yours. Were it otherwise, he would never have been able to find these words."

She finally started AA, but I left the company shortly after, and lost touch with her until she invited me out. We shared a lovely breakfast, chatting and laughing as easily as ever. She was there to honor the program's step of amends. When she read her apology letter to me, recanting all of the instances where she let me down or took advantage of my kindness, all I could think of was, this is the hundredth time you've apologized to me. I accepted her apology, but more importantly, told her I had forgiven her long ago. I had forgiven her every time she screwed up, not because I am some incredibly good person, but because I knew I couldn't do anything to save her and to bear a grudge or ill will would have hurt me, not her.

I was glad to look her in the eye and say,"all that is past and gone, clean slate." I truly meant it, but later that evening in bed, all of the memories, the grievances, and terrible situations played out in my mind and kept me awake. I tossed for awhile, trying to re-compartmentalize those few years of the complete bs all of us at that job dealt with. When my mind wouldn't stop spinning, I opened my laptop to write and in my feed was a post that simply stated 'If you call one wolf, you invite the whole pack'. This proverb was well timed and as I pondered how meeting her again brought back to me the whole pack of characters and events we dealt with, good and bad, their emotional grip loosened. The fangs and fear faded back into darkness, again memories and nothing more. I slept soundly.

The next day, my son was freaked out by what he thought was a bowl of blood and guts in the fridge. I laughed and explained they were pomegranate seeds in their juice. He listened intently when I recanted the myth of Persephone, having being tricked into tasting a ruby pip in the underworld, which eternally bound her to Hades for half the year. When she walked the earth, life and light returned, but soon enough, she would have to retreat back into the depths; death and darkness blanketing everything. He found this most interesting but when I offered him a seed, he refused, exclaiming he preferred the light to the dark, thanks. Me, too, baby, me, too.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Whose Other Side Is Salvation

We went for a walk today, into the woods, and found strung high above our heads, the skull of a deer. At first glance, coming across a thing like this, your gut tells you it's a warning. But, on closer inspection, the quiet, the utter silence feels more like a beckoning, a call from somewhere within; a remembrance perhaps. But, of what?

I'm not sure what is going on in the world in general, but in the small corners of my social network, people seem frazzled. Things breaking down; computers, cars, relationships. Even a few nervous breakdowns posted right out there for all to see. People are on edge or exhausted, overworked and under-rested, about to snap. It feels as if everyone is taking in a tremendous deep breath and holding it with no exhalation in sight. I'm feeling this energy, too, mine in the form of some inexplicable need, a weariness, a restlessness. Change is coming, the leaves are falling, the light is different, the stars are brighter, our souls that much closer to our surfaces.

Standing there, beneath this beautiful creature, I realized there is nothing I can do to anticipate what comes next and I think this is the lesson. To let go and be open to what awaits. Trust this incredible universe, trust myself, and be patient. The answers are on the way, the decisions will be made in their own time, the right path marked, as with the leaf strewn path beneath the skull. There is nothing to fear. I believe these set backs and hold ups are happening for a reason. It's time to stop holding on to the rope of the boat that brought us here and step fully onto the new shore.

 In Blackwater Woods by Mary Oliver

Look, the trees
are turning
their own bodies
into pillars
of light,
are giving off the rich
fragrance of cinnamon
and fulfillment,
the long tapers
of cattails
are bursting and floating away over
the blue shoulders
of the ponds,
and every pond,
no matter what its
name is, is
nameless now.
Every year
I have ever learned
in my lifetime
leads back to this: the fires
and the black river of loss
whose other side
is salvation,
whose meaning
none of us will ever know.
To live in this world
you must be able
to do three things:
to love what is mortal;
to hold it
against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it
to let it go.