Friday, July 16, 2010

Breath



Hurley with his hole to China, my feet (which he chastised for being too near his hole).
Crepe myrtle, running dog, Roo in chair.

Warm, shaded evenings are neutral on my skin. No heat, no chill slides across my shoulders. I am the air itself. I extend my aching limbs across the patch of green grass and dusty cement. One degree up or down would register, but I draw in thick, clear oxygen like water through fluttering gills.

Tonight my memory pulls toward missing pairs in the backyard. Two absent crepe myrtle trees. Two mourned dogs. Two lost citrus plants. Yet as I see the ghosts of last summer, young life fills the space, boldly ignorant. Hurley doesn't know his predecessors. Ad and Hank don't feel the echo of an uprooted tree. Life goes on unflinchingly.

And it's that same unflinching progress that's brought some neutrality into our lives. Stability, measured in lumps over the last year. Metered, so we wouldn't take any of it for granted. First the reassembling of our marriage a year ago. Then financial hardship. Joblessness. Uncertainty. Internship. Humble pie served up at a lean Christmas. Opportunity. Perseverance. Finally, a measure of success, a portion of neutrality.

It has been an arduous pair of years--one pair I don't grieve. Last year after E took the bar the first time, I wrote "so this is what normal feels like" yet I still needed to recalibrate my sense of what that was. With E passing the bar, I afforded myself a new sense of normal, of peace. As he prepares to take his place as a new lawyer I get the luxury of homesteading in that vision.

Life is rife with lessons right now. First: one need not dump her entire life in the gutter to change it. Hard work is an equal catalyst to abandonment, though much healthier in the end. Dumping my life, E, my hopes... it didn't fix things as well as commitment did. Second: plans are good and necessary, but life is wild as a puppy in the tall grass.

I'm so thankful, so full of gratitude for the healing and peace that have come into our lives this year. E and I spent so much of our early marriage asking each other "why us?" that I mournfully released ideas about fairness and balance in the universe. I'm not naive enough to look for a pattern of just distribution of hardship anymore, but I am deferential enough to the idea of change to appreciate our good fortune as it comes.

I am so happy there are not words. I feel like I can take a breath of neutral air without fear of the bite of cold or oppression of heat. Just clarity, breath.

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