Peaceful happy-enough days, the green oaks darkening, the summer filled with birdsong. And yet waking with a darkness like grief, filled with panic and dread. Unremembered nightmares?
Tending two new herbs given to me as a gift, a pot of French tarragon, a pot of silver thyme. Bright silver shining leaves, that totem power of healing and turning food to ambrosia. Some shadow leaning over my shoulder as I water and call to the dogs. In a while I shall make what I optimistically call a ‘rustic plum tart’ , using aromatic small blue Normandy plums known as Quetsches, not too sweet. There are friends to email and call, neighbours to see. Those I love and who give this life meaning in love reciprocated. Doing all the right things, simple good things, and hoping something steadies me, stops the inexorable fall into an old black well of despondency.
This year ending, going into the unknown, holding in my heart this deeply loved broken battered old world, the crushed dreams, the horrors and and all that improbably beauty and good will. Those I have lost this past year, who have gone ahead into death and whatever lies beyond.Those spared. Those struggling and failing and stumbling along a stony path, those of us who have lost our way, those of us waiting for morning, for a new beginning, another chance. Moving here in this quiet garden between trust and cold terror, uncertainty, flickering hope. Asking for courage, to open up the heart and welcome the stranger at the door. To go forward, step by step into whatever must come. Each time the sea retreats.
The poems of Louise Gluck echo in me
In our family, there were two saints,
my aunt and my grandmother.
But their lives were different.
My grandmother’s was tranquil, even at the end.
She was like a person walking in calm water;
for some reason
the sea couldn’t bring itself to hurt her.
When my aunt took the same path,
the waves broke over her, they attacked her,
which is how the Fates respond
to a true spiritual nature.
My grandmother was cautious, conservative:
that’s why she escaped suffering.
My aunt’s escaped nothing;
each time the sea retreats, someone she loves is taken away.
Still she won’t experience
the sea as evil. To her, it is what it is:
where it touches land, it must turn to violence