September 16, 2022

To be Good at Losing.

The trick is, like a tree, to be good at losing when it is time.

The trick is, like the great maple over the treehouse in my backyard, when it’s time, to be good at losing
after months of dry hot heat and sun and rain
it’s time to

let go, you know.
feel the cold, the wind
draw in, shut down
but do not hide, do not invest in anger at the dimming light or what other people have that I do not.
I enjoy this Autumn chapter of this story, the death, the sweet grief, the sweet tears, the rich parting. It’s all natural, all of it. But it’s not up to us, and that’s why we call it losing.

My sadness this morning is like the gray clouds that float over us. Yesterday, they dropped hesitant rain. Last night, the occasional flash of lightning. And so this devastating loss does not feel wrong, or out of place.

I call my mom, I call my best friend, I sit by the stream and I list out what I have learned, or try to. But mostly I think about nothing but the sunlight on the rippling water and how it’s sad the caretaker cuts all the baby trees down and I look at the old noble graves and do not wonder about their stories of loss, today. Because it is not in thinking that healing happens.

I look at photos of my memories, each one hitting my heart with a thoughtless thud. I go for a walk into and out of my sad; and there’s the grayblack sky holds the little stars over the moonlit Flatiron mountains. And I laugh and smile and reply honestly, if vaguely, when folks ask me “how are you?”

Because in so doing we remind folks of what they’re asking, and invite them to be honest, open, too.

We never stop caring. But we can take a rest, a weekend off, with the sadness, the loss, the partings of ways of colleagues or loved ones. We can afford to be kind to ourselves. Take a bath, read a book. We can do things that don’t make us truly feel better, too: watch some stupid dating show on TV, almost desperately, because every second watching is a second distant from the sweet grief. We can do all things as long as we are kind and aware of how they do to us, for we matter, too, in the way we can sigh.

Up in the silvery clouds there is, beckoning, cold clarifying snow and in the snow, meets earth and mud, there is earthy new cheer and then the heat of success and love, again.

And success, or new joys, appreciated from the heart of past sadnesses, is the best success.

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