Monday, June 29, 2009

What if sorrow makes room for joy?

I'm struggling. I feel heavy, lumbering, awkward. When I try to write smaller...when I try to tame the bramble of my own narrow and sort through the tangle of emotion that drifts through my quiet times, I feel I'm just plucking at shadows.

It's a struggle to even write this blog. My handwritten journal these days is wooden, grasping, repetitious.

Absently, I find myself listing loved ones and friends lost in recent days and years, recording their names carefully and reverently on my journal page. Then I continue with those who are slowly fading from view, somewhat surprised by the length of my list...and ashamed how the dead and dying become lost or forgotten in the midst of our life and living.

No wonder I feel empty. As though I, too, am reshaping, transitioning.

I'm being taught.

I wonder...if you can meet life without understanding death, can you then meet death without understanding life?

"It never occurred to me that feeling empty might actually be the route to something deeper and richer within."
Tony Schwartz

"The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain." Kahlil Gibran

Monday, June 15, 2009

Shadow and Light

Spring’s initial burst of bloom has faded now, the confetti paths of apple blossoms and bilberry petals are past, blown free for another season, lilacs hang limp, wilting in the sun, the chokecherry and pincherry blooms are spent; the tiny ovaries that remain ripening to fruit.

The forest floor is a matted, rumpled carpet of violets, Canada mayflower, pure white starflower, butter-colored bunchberry.

Sasparilla turns from burnished burgundy to green, tangles of fiddleheads long ago unfurled to feathery plumes and new spires of cattails have eclipsed the old. The landscape is settling into summer.
This glorious season has passed so quickly, the transition lost in our own family losses – one tiny grandchild, taken before he had a chance to sigh and breathe; the other, my regal mom-in-law, at the completion of a courageous life, well-lived and loved.

After a time in the flat lands and straight lines of Manitoba, where we flew to comfort my stepdaughter in her tears, then back to NB to attend my mother-in-law's funeral, it was comforting to come home to the hills again...where you cannot always see what lies ahead.

We hiked a coastal trail in Fundy National Park on the weekend…we needed the respite, to grieve for our own losses and to dip our fractured hearts in the serenity of a living forest. We needed the slow, quiet, meditative meandering on curving pathways, sheltered by stately trees that have also seen their share of death and loss and change, yet grow richer and stronger for it.

For we know the dying is a necessary part of the living, as shadow is a necessary part of light. So we surround ourselves with that which brings us peace and we accept change and pain with assurance that all revolves, like the seasons; that death holds hands with life and pain hollows out room for joy.
And tears, like summer, will always come.