I realize that I didn’t talk to you all about this trip and I’m seeing and feeling now that this rite of passage I’ve chosen would feel so much better, so much more complete, if I was anchored by the people I love in my community. So this is request for you to hear my story, and to know where I am and what my intentions are, so that I can be held in this journey with love. Thank you for being in my life in the ways that each of you are, and thank you for whatever moment of your day you may or may not give to reading this and witnessing me. I will return on the 26th of May and will be sure to share pieces of my story with you along the way.
“Already the patchwork quilt land is falling, oh the worlds I could fill with what I don’t know…
This year I lost my grandmother Melba- she said she didn’t want to live anymore and then she got in bed. She argued with food and she argued with doctors and she argued with heat and then she argued with cold. She argued with her past and with her family and with everyone who tried to help her. Finally one night, a day after she had decided not to argue with water any more, her body writhed with pain and her spirit decided to stop arguing with breath too, and she took her last.
I laid in her room for a day, sometimes touching her hand to see if it would still squeeze mine or if I could still fit my hand inside hers and pretend like we were holding hands the way we used to. She always used to tell me how beautiful my skin was. Death has no glamour, one eye wouldn’t close and the skin pulled taught across the bones of her face so I could see the structure of her dear little skull- that skull that protected her mushy grey matter for all those 87 years of beauty and pain. In a borrowed hospital bed her body lay for a day as her skin cooled, her eyes clouded, and as she no longer either argued with all the discomfort of living or said to me “Oh my darling, I’ve missed you!”
At half past midnight on the second day a nice black gentleman came over with his young apprentice and we had tea. His job was to carry her away from us and to a place where her tiny, hard and cool body, her hands that I held for the last 30 years, that heart that loved me for the past 30 years, those eyes that told me I was beautiful always, where all of that would be cleansed with fire and released from this world and from us and from me.
Oh dear heart how I wanted all those years to make life more joyful and loving for you. How I never wanted you to feel alone but how I could not stop my life from taking me far from your hermits retreat and could never bring myself to dedicate my life to just you. How hard it is to say that, how I wonder if I have betrayed you and all of life by not giving my life to one who gave so much to mine… Did I do you wrong?
Below the mountains are covered in snow now.
This year I looked in the eyes of a man I thought I might marry and told him that if he needed to journey on his own that I could no longer hold him here with me in my arms. In a mad evening of blessed grace we disentangled every piece of our last 8 months together, keys, clothes, objects of love, the olive oil, the pepper mill, the granola, the unfinished projects and the unfinished plans, the tears of fear and friendship and deep love. This year I let him go with all the feeling, longing, love and abandon that my physicality could hold and I wished him so well on his journey, and I wished myself so well on my journey, and we turned and walked away from each other.
Oh the trips I would have loved to share with that man, oh the dreams we dreamt, oh how it all burns burns burns washes washes washes blows blows blows decomposes and composts to become life again. Here we are at the door of endings and beginnings again…
This year I spent 9 months on the land relearning what community can mean, beginning to touch the longing of my life. I have stood outside the gate without even knowing it for so long. How to say yes to the challenges of beginning to walk through that gate? In such complete ignorance and with the wild need to live, no matter how foolish, I began to meet new/ancient grief and resistance. In the grace of those gifts I also received some small touch of courage, and tastes of homecoming joy and the quiet and wild freedom my soul is on the lifelong hunt to live. Still, two days ago I drove away down a dirt bumpy road, disappearing through tall fields of grasses, swallows and mockingbirds singing, and quietly put miles between myself and the already dissolved and dispersing community that held me in that for the last 9 months… I don’t even know what it means to walk away from that, or if it’s even possible to walk away from that…
I am now on a plane going somewhere I’ve never been, and I don’t fully know why… I am going because it was the best way I knew how to say yes to dissolution, to letting go, to burning through all that I love and in the face of losing it all, choosing to give it all away in remembrance that it was never really mine to begin with.
As the miles fall I feel the anchors of my identity dropping away. Who will I be? What lives will build with beauty and momentum in the gaping holes being made in the fabric of what I’ve known? I feel stripped down, vulnerable, and shaky. I pray that creator receives these tears and this shaking as my offering of willingness. In this unknown I feel my fear shifting back and forth towards love, faith and exhileration, back towards fear, back towards faith. I needed this. I needed to go for a ride on a big jet plane and live into my body the truth of saying yes- to loss, to what is asked, to joy, to wonder, to mystery, to my life, to myself, to being in love with the person I’m becoming.
Still, in this moment, I can’t drink enough tea to comfort myself. I don’t want to be strong right now, I want to be held. I want my grandma to tell me it’s all going to be okay. I want my lover and partner to tell me it’s all going to be okay. And- I’m going to learn how to hear myself tell myself it’s all going to be okay in a deeper way than I have ever said and to hear that with deeper ears than I’ve ever heard with, to hear that with my deepest knowing, to be that in my deepest heart.
May this be a cleansing, may I let go of all else that needs to be cleared in order to land with both feet where I am going, may I laugh and lighten up, may I lighten what I carry, May I strengthen in heart.
This is what I know:
I know how to pray.
I know who I am.
I know to whom I belong, friends, family and ancestors alive and dead.
I know to whom I owe my life.
I know the gifts of loss.
I know the grace of grief.
I know how to laugh.
I know how to love, I am so good at loving.
I trust myself to see with truth.
I trust myself to live well.
I trust myself.
I have made friends of paradox, change, and challenge and I will not cower from them.
My purpose is as simple as my prayer; to be a conscious and intentional creator of culture and to share that good life with a partner, children, my family, and with a building glowing community. That is what I’m working towards. How can I serve that better? Who is doing that? What paths did they follow? What advice can they give? Why am I so sad today? Why does my heart feel so sore? Can I love this fragile beautiful place too? Can I love it as much as that bend in the river with the leaning trees and the morning sun’s reflections on the river walls?
This is me today. Thank you thank you thank you, Please continue, Let us be light.