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Browsing Tag

Love

The Day’s Delight: Sugars

I could say that the most stunning, heart-opening, phenomenal thing I witnessed today was grove after grove of impossibly massive redwoods. Or even the fantastical two-storey tree house at It’s A Burl Art Gallery. And, yes, those all made me stare and grin like a happy fool, and I highly recommend them. But the image that lingers longest when I look back at the day is this:

Two people, who have loved each other for what must be nearly forty years, who still feel it and show it. The way they held hands among the ancient trees, the way he looked at her, the awareness each had of the other’s weaknesses, and the gentle space they still held for those very human tics rather than becoming dull and deadened (or stingy and sharp)– that was the miracle. That was the thing worth making this western pilgrimage for: magic that doesn’t diminish, that deepens, the way, perhaps, a community of trees will feed and support and, to make a bold assertion, love a stump and continue to keep the connections open and pulsing with nourishing sugars– not out of denial or desperation, but a true devotion.

It’s not a perfect analogy at all– it would fit more obviously with a caretaking sort of situation, but there’s a kindness I feel in it, and so much comfort in how not human it is, in how love, whether between trees or people, never actually has to be something anyone, including those involved, can explain.

Goofy reverence in the redwoods

The Day’s Delight: Bouquet

The sacred circle of women who can hold space.

The friend who’s been through it already.

The truth that love reaches beyond space and time, that all things can be loved fully from wherever we are: the garden beds that look bare and brown but which are waking up below the surface. The parts of myself that are waking up, too.

Monk’s Hood. Peony. Black Eyed Susan. Tiger Lily. Day Lily. Iris. Lavender. Hosta. Foxglove. Poppy. Cedar. Lupin. Pearly Everlasting. Strawberry. Raspberry. Rhubarb. Dill. Bleeding Heart. Coral Bells. Crocus. Rose. Lily of the Valley. Snow on the Mountain. Bee Balm. The Ones Whose Names I Never Learned.

I make a bouquet of myself: these flowers, these friends, these dreams that have lain dormant, that have quietly put down roots, and the sunshine and the release of the melt that welcomes the next right thing, and the next, and the next, and the next…

River

I wanted to believe I’d be married forever, for my whole life, for all the lifetimes to come– because that made it feel like God exists: here is a perfect thing, blemished, yes, but a perfect match.

I thought marriage meant an understanding that fit together like two pieces of a puzzle, carved just so, our edges matching each other’s with uncanny precision that felt like being held.

But it is a too-small idea of the Divine as One Thing Forever.

In art and creation and dreaming, the first idea is the doorway. And the next is another doorway, and the next is the next. It doesn’t stop. There is always transformation, movement, the changing of shape and the shedding of skin.

Why tell a story that we failed because we no longer fit together? Why not, instead, see the beautiful way each of us were worn smooth by the friction of the other?

Because we were never two die-cut pieces. We were close, as rocks from a common, ancient source, or two trees growing so near they shape themselves in constant accomodation.

I want to know who I am in full sunlight, in spacious soil, but it would be repeating the old prayer to believe there won’t be grit in the seams, that the boards won’t warp, that the wind won’t shape me, shave me into my next rendition of the truth.

All the curling tendrils of wood, the dusting of sand, the ash in the wind– I– we– this– changed and changed and changed over time. I felt it, I knew it, but now I am standing at a distance, watching from a height: I thought I had one shape, an old remembering of myself and my dreams, and now it is irrevocable: I am a different animal, I am never fitting back into that old nook, which has not even existed as I have pictured it in years and years, any more than a river is the same for more than a second.

What, then, is love? What is partnership? It seems to be the bravest thing: I solemnly swear to be honest, to show myself in every shape, to the whole world, including you. To swear and to know that the truth brings both joy and tragedy, new life as well as death.

I would like to be honest. To say, yes, this will hurt, but it will hurt no matter what, eyes closed or open. And I like to see the look of recognition on your face as you feel what it is to be yourself.

It feels like standing in a river, the water pushing at my knees, intent on nothing but movement, union. It feels like keeping my footing, staying upright, to not build a dam, to not say, love me just like this and let us never, never change.

Here is the river, and here am I. If I let it, it will carry all my heavy longings downstream and away.

The Gift of Cold + Warmth

What is the point of a friendship, of any relationship?

I walked behind– and sometimes in front of– my dad today on the Cascade, thinking equally about how I should’ve kept one more layer on, and about this. And here’s my answer in this moment:

We want to know just how far we have to care, how much we may need to give, how to ration energy, attention, love.

Energy and attention may be finite, but love is not. I can love anyone, anywhere. Space and time and requital are irrelevant.

We want to say, You are mine and I am yours to make God smaller. To make God fit inside a church, a ring, a person, a shared schedule, a mortgaged house.

But God, which is to say, love and truth and alignment and Now, is also in the emptiness, is also in the Nothing, the boredom, the sadness, the ache. She seems especially so, because that is when we catch our breath as when stepping out into the cold: we pay attention.

If I am not afraid of the ache, of the echoes of my own thoughts inside my skull, the rippling vibrations of emotions in my body, then how do I love? And why should I name it?

A name is just another ring, a set of documents and insurance policies. It is making the infinite linear, pinned like a sphinx moth on styrofoam.

I walked, and the trees were present. The icicles were real. The cold shifted as the wind wended its way through the canyon. That’s love, what was passed back and forth between us. I couldn’t hold any of it in a basket, no matter how big.

It’s the same with people, and yet– we crave the burrow, the mate, the cache of food to carry us through winter. I think, then, that the dearest love is the gentleness of my large, wild self to my small and forgetful one. Maybe relationship is the same with others, too: compassion, presence, grace– and when we have underdressed or the night is very cold, of bodies close together: the gift of warmth.