“Life is hard and sharp and it hurts, but there are some who wear it lightly, and mindfully, and with class, and are frank yet wise yet light, and if our recipe is right our household shall be one of the hardy and cheerful ones. Life is often lonely and sad and unfair, but if we are lucky we shall work hard and earn our luck, and when we are hit broadside we shall return fire as we sail away with the wind at our backs, and trouble shall find it is bored with us.”
~ Things I would like to do with You.
I am a man. 48 years old. And yet I feel 10 years younger.
Perhaps that’s how it always is, I’ll die if I’m lucky when I’m old still feeling 38 years old, always, wondering: what strange skin is this, what wrinkles, how is it that so many years have passed since my childhood, so fresh, just yesterday.
The winter is rolling in. The fires have been quiet. The wars are distant, yet forces here push to end democracy in favor of a more permanent victory.
The fall is still golden, love and loss in the cold air. I take my forgotten hoodies and sweaters out of the great dark wardrobe. I look for a missing glove, and tuck it in my old woolen jacket pocket.
I sing along the mountain paths as I bike beneath the falling yellow leaves. I mourn the loss, and the love in the loss makes it all the more painful. I sit in the dark, at night, feeling like a marooned ship sinking into the ice, crushed by cleaving light blue forces.
And yet a strange presence, like sunshine reaching through bluedark clouds, has this week lifted me up out of my sadness. It is her, it is him, it is them, it is the promise of love and the smile of friends and the counsel of those who have cared me for many years. And it is the passing camaraderie of community, whether in the middle of the busy cheerful green farmers market, or a hand clapping me on the shoulder outside a cafe, or the comments of those I’ve never known—comments of care extended in a moment they did not have to take the time to give.
I am a warrior, wind-whipped through the years, trained for feeling and caring and acknowledging, if only to myself, the suffering and goodness both that ripple through the seasons of our hearts and our earth.
I will not curl and hide my heart. I will let the cold winds touch it, as I have been taught. I let the elders and mentors and houseless and traumatized and touched sit with me. I keep on singing along the golden falling creek path as I bicycle, resting my injured elbow, thinking of Her. A well of grief behind my dam, for my lost colleagues, my late dog, my lost love.
But I do not curl and bow to self-pity—not for long anyway.
For the sun has bothered to call me back into service, into my golden path—and if I am to meet her, and get to raise a silly chaotic loving family, I shall meet her along that path.
So I shout! I am here! For now! I am here for you. And for this earth. And I love myself! And I am here for you! Let’s stomp, shout, dance, celebrate around the bonfire! We are warriors, all, if only we once more step into the hurt, and breathe through it; instead of following the conforming cannibalistic cowards who grab in greed and never fill their itching poverty. I let my heart feel the cold, for in opening I let in love, too, and fear can not frighten me.
Thank you earth. Thank you mother! Thank you true friends! Thank you future lover, and mother of our children! I look forward to meeting you, future puppy! And Elephant is here, still: our old ship has been beaten by unfeeling powerful cold waves and our sails are torn and yet we dance! Come join the celebration! All are welcome—the more, the merrier—and this is how the rebellion begins. We are here!
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