This, I am certain, is the epitome of what loss does to someone. Poems used to just rise up inside of me and spill out on paper or my keyboard, effortlessly. Inspiration was everywhere. A sunny day. A quiet moment. A breeze blowing through a field of tall grass. A boy. I always said I had no technique, I was more of a binge and purge poet. A poet. I considered myself a mama, a massage therapist and a poet, if I had to describe myself.
But now I am only truly able to say one of these. And the vacuum that the absence of these two things has made is so apparent.
It seems to be related to my inability to share my feelings with others, in person, face to face. When I gave Isaac’s eulogy I said something along the lines of there are no longer words that exist in the physical world that represent how I feel about Isaac. What I meant of course is the loss of Isaac. And even still, though I have chased them for more than a year and a half, there aren’t words I can say out loud that give it a voice. It is wordless.
I’m struggling these days with the understanding that I don’t have much of a life outside of work. And though I love my massage clients and my co workers in the tasting room, a full life cannot be made from these limited relationships. I need more but I’m not sure what. Who. When. I feel a little paralyzed, if I’m completely honest. I want to feel better. I want to live. But I feel trapped without the ability to express or relax in my mind and body.
I work a lot. This is not a coincidence. At work I can cultivate intentional boundaries; I can be superficial– not fake, but rather, surfactant– I can hold space for those on my table and I can smile and be cheerful and helpful for customers who want to taste and learn about products available at the meadery. I can work long days and distract myself with busyness and insert myself in projects. I can keep an arms length, literally and figuratively, between myself and people while still feeling as though I am “in the world”.
Today is 60 days until my 40th birthday, and in true social butterfly fashion, I have planned an entire weekend of celebration with loved ones, and a big party too. Because I’m a Leo AND I love birthdays, mine and anyone else’s, more than any other day– yet it is in striking contrast to my current reality, which is a non existent social life. As it draws nearer, I wonder why I’ve planned such an epic event.
As I’m writing this, sitting at my patio table in the morning light and warmth, a skein of geese, (a word I learned last night!) has flown past me, along the dune, due west of my home. It is the largest flock I have ever seen. I stopped writing to take it in. I tried to count them all and could not come close to counting even though the view of them was long, and I heard them before I saw them, and had time to count. There were so many. After they passed, I brought my vision back to this screen, looking down, and then I heard the wing flap, that deep bass of force, and I looked up and one goose flew over my head, low over the house, alone, heading south east, away from the others that were flying toward crystal lake or point bestie to the north west of my house. This, during, while in the midst of writing about my own solitude, about Isaacs— WOW. Just, wow.
I do pretty good on my own, I like my own company, and Joshua’s, though he is such a social creature I know that he patiently tolerates my anxiety over being social. I dont want or mean to exhaust his patience. I’m just not sure where to start again. How to be a part of the natural order of things, how to be a part of the beautiful world. And like this lone goose, it feels unnatural to prefer solitude. As curious as I am about where that lone goose was headed, I am curious about my own trajectory.
Those geese, that goose, sidetracked me and yet, kept it real. This happened!!! I can’t help but again consider Mary Olivers eloquent poem, Wild Geese. And goodness, how multidimensional and expansive and yet on point even this is, as I considered my old poetess yearnings, on the 25th of the month, which is always a little achey, as it is the day of the month Isaac got his angel wings. What an incredible reminder…. Ok, Isaac! Okay Great Mystery, ok God, ok world…. You’ve got my full attention!
by Mary Oliver
You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about your despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting —
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.