I’m waiting this week, waiting, waiting, waiting. Preparing to say good-bye to the perfection of bare feet and hot coffee outdoors on fresh mornings, cool air sneaking in under my robe. Making peace with the arrival of yellow wet leaves on the ground, preparing for colder skies on the horizon.
At times like this, with the light getting thinner daily, my body tells me to check the impulse to chase hard after what I want. It tells me—demands, really—I need to take a step back and gather my energies, tidy up, regroup, allow the wind at my back to gain some momentum again, and wait for the images and thoughts crossing the terrain of my brain to sort themselves out a little.
So I cleaned the hard water deposits from the shower glass, and put the thin cotton dresses to the back of the closet, and tied up some loose ends on projects nearly finished. But the big projects in early stages—those that require a clear mind and abundant creative energy—those I’ve put on hold as I exhale and, once again, try to surrender. Surrender to the reality of some mountains now too big to climb, the reality of failures that have left in their wake very real limitations or a club of shame, the reality of nighttime dreams that leave a bruise.
I walked in the cool air, and picked up fresh produce for a fall soup. The beauty of fall is stunning. How is it that beauty sometimes heightens the visibility of tarnish and erosion?
Clear in my mind today are the faces of friends and family, the faces of those bearing fresh wounds, and the faces of those who have lost over and over again, for decades, lines now deeply etched into their skin. The faces of those who have lost—or watched horrible injury to—a parent, or a lover, or a child. The faces of those who have borne witness to, over and over again, those trying to manage these heavy burdens.
Someone reminded me last night that neither our lives nor those of our children are truly ours to cling to with ownership. Still. The faces of our babies sometimes seem as much a part of us as our arms and legs and hands and feet, our beating hearts. We want them joyously alive.
Warmth is thinner now; my skin seems thinner too. But alongside the chill, and equally real, is the warmth of those among us who have a stunning capacity to hold the grief of others alongside their own, literally hold it for a while, for those who need a moment’s rest. I love them for this, this ability to be the moon when the one in the sky is yet too new to be visible.