Friday, February 13, 2015


I wrote this a year ago today in my Penzu​ journal, under the title "Frozen". Sorry, it's long, but seems so apropos to the grieving.
It was one of those moments I wished I could freeze in time, but of course one can't. I remember once, standing outside the gates at [my college] with [my college boyfriend], the light just so, at the end of the school year, I guess, and we were saying goodbye for the summer (pretty much forever, as it turned out), and I wanted to freeze-frame that one. Of course I'd done it before -- bound to have -- and certainly have done it since, but I was conscious of the effort then and kind of startled by it. Daisy and the butterfly was another one such moment. The bluebird in the snow on the branch of the blooming dogwood in our yard yet another. The eagle in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area during my Outward Bound vision quest. The foxes barking when I was camped with Daisy at her first hunting trial. 
This morning it was the snow. It was piled high on all the branches, which were stark against a grey sky. The cardinals were at the feeder in back and in the dying dogwood tree, the male a brilliant red against the white snow/black bark/gray sky, the only real color around. It was like the winters we had when I was growing up in NC. I feel blessed to have had not one, but two good snows this winter, when with global warming I've had such a sense of loss and sadness that I'd probably never see another one. And now to have two! 
I was glad to have been up to see it before it started to melt, which it is doing pretty rapidly. I was sorry to see the sun start to peek through. But as Cheryl Strayed wrote towards the end of Wild, "There was no way to go back, to make it stay. There was never that." 
Just being present for what is, as it is and as it changes, is the hardest thing when what I want with every cell in my body is to go back, to make something or someone stay, to freeze a moment, to hold on to the feeling of wonder and joy that I had this morning when I first opened the drapes and looked out on the magical world. 
And as I typed those words, feeling sad and empty, the phoebe flew into the yard for the first time in days (if not a week or more), and I felt that same surge of joy again to see him, and tears came to my eyes. He's so beautiful today: He fills me up all over again. 
One glorious thing gives way to another. 
So although I can still hear Paula's laugh, see the puppy Daisy lunging at the end of her check cord for that brilliant yellow butterfly, feel that bitty animal scampering over my sleeping bag that chilly August night on Lake Superior, it is over. There is no way to go back, to make it stay. There never was.
--And as I was reading this, and thinking that I have to believe that one glorious thing will go on giving way to another, as has been true time immemorial and forever shall be, that the good life isn't over because Mr. Simply died and I'm getting old, and not having much faith in any of that, a Sharp-shinned Hawk flew into the yard, landed right outside my window for a few seconds, looked right at me, and flew on.