There are holes where there should be people, holes where there should be plans and dreams manifested, and holes where there once was hope. Yet, that bodily clarity, coupled with gratitude at the forces of healing, is the nearest experience I can imagine to feeling–and loving–absence.
At a juncture when we’ve been asked, or forced, to give up so much, I take time this year’s end—out of obstinacy, or emotional fatigue, or perhaps yearning for some sense of control—to consider what I willingly choose to give up. So much has been taken already, but I’ll make the list a bit longer, out of (a very mature, measured variety of) spite. At the end of 2020, I hereby give up…
This year has taught me that there is nothing underneath. There is no safety net, no one holding out giant, pillowy hands to catch you when things fall apart. On this earthly plane at least, we’re on our own. The goodness in which we insist on believing: we alchemize it from fear. The faith that keeps us buoyed: we produce it, practice it, will it into being. Generosity, patience, kindnesses: we craft them from nothing save conviction, and dole them out as best we can.
We believe that labor will cure what ails you, whether it’s physical or mental or emotional—it may not be the quickest path, but it’s a righteous one and it feels good. Zizou and I hike together, in matching gear and early in the morning, through the forests of Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York. The tricky thing is discerning when the work is a process of mourning and when it becomes a process of avoidance. But it pulls me out of bed in the morning, it requires a cup of coffee and some clarity of thought, and it gets my feet moving underneath me.
Somewhere in your body
there is a hole
full of memories…