Today, a picture of Ronan from Rick on my phone while I was at Bill’s. I sent it around to several friends, and kept looking at it on the way home from Colorado Springs as one of those ridiculously indescribable New Mexican sunsets unfolded before me. Like driving (orbiting?) into (onto?) Mars.
Last night I talked with C about pathways and spirits and guides and yes, the future, in a warm, light-filled kitchen, full of plants and spirited cats. Warm, hearty food and good wine. Blizzard conditions finally clearing outside. News of chaos in Egypt. Chicago’s Lake Shore Drive flooded and frozen by a rogue wave. Buckets of snow in Central Park. (“How can it be global warming if it’s so darn cold?” spout the dorky climate change naysayers.) We talked about arriving in a place, known or unknown, and feeling an immediate sense of home (for her, Istanbul. For me, Dublin). And we talked about loss.
Loss, of course, is universally experienced but individually understood. But that dark knot of feeling can be unspooled between two people, and the delicate bulk of those told stories can sling aside, for just a moment, those monstrous, grieving shadows that grief casts, and make people clear to one another in a way that feels, simply, life-saving. Relief like a parachute in the belly, a delicious lightness. We untangle our stories and shift their weight around in order to bear them, so that we can wake up in the morning and enjoy a cup of strong coffee and the sun on our shoulders.
In 1994 I lived in Dublin, the same year Eavan Boland wrote this poem for the National Maternity Hospital in Dublin as part of a service to commemorate the babies who had died there.
Tree of Life
A tree on a moonless night
has no sap or colour.
It has no flower and no fruit.
It waits for the sun to find them.
I cannot find you
in this dark hour
for dawn to make us clear to one another.
Let the sun
inch over the roof-tops,
be the light that shows again
the blossom to the root.
From The Lost Land (Norton, 1998).