Happiness in life is making comebacks. We all experience loss. It lays us all low at some point. More than once even. The thing to learn to lean into is the knowledge, the self-assurance, you will get back to seeing and tasting and hearing. That the living will be vivid again. The joy full again.
I took a day trip to San Diego in the middle of last week. Put a message on my voicemail and toured historic sites. My brother and I walked through the Mission San Diego de Alcalá. We enjoyed its gardens and its sanctuary. Stepped down into the padre’s quarters.
A desk and a cot by a door that opens to a view. It was a hot day but pleasantly cool in the padre’s room because of the thick adobe construction and the breeze through the open doorway. It was calming, peaceful in the simple living quarters. Solid walls, a desk, a cot, a door, a view. The makings of comebacks. Strength to simply endure, curiosity, rest, an open heart that seeks the world outside itself, looking and seeing.
But what we have lived
comes back to us.
We see more.
From “A Tree Telling of Orpheus” by Denise Levertov
There’s a pond just ten minutes from my office. I’ve been past it so many times without stopping. It’s on a dirt road. It’s that little bit inconvenient. And I’m busy. Heck, we’re all busy, all the time, every day it seems. My car will get dirty, I tell myself.
I took the dirt road today. I pulled over and parked and let my car get dusty. Got out and walked the shoreline. The ducks preened in the sun while turkey vultures circled prey on the far side. There’s a boat tipped over with a huge hole in the bottom. It reminded me of Grandma Alice teaching me how to catch sunfish for fish fries. Bobbers and bib overalls. Oily rainbows reflecting off sunfish scales. Grandma as giddy as me with each catch.
It’s good to get off the paved roads and pull over–good to cast lines.
I like to drive on hot nights with the window down. Last night the unexpected smell of fresh cut hay reminded me of growing up in Wyoming and riding a motorcycle along the irrigation canals. I passed an old corner market as the sun set in my rearview. The store’s pink paint flaking and peeling. Its liquor sign glowed warm but I felt no pull unlike the year I pickled my sorrow to preserve it.
Memories, pleasant and painful, behind and beside. Driving toward the next corner expecting lilacs around the bend.
Watermelon tastes better cooled in a creek. The smell of sagebrush on the side of a windy hill better than perfume. I’m tempted to believe I’d write better if only I lived out of a camper with candles and a composting toilet.
Then I remind myself the negative voices will follow me even to Wyoming ghost towns and the only real key is to show up wherever, in whatever mood.
Went up a ladder barefoot to train climbing roses. Thorns, vertigo, and a headache from the sun. Pink peach tree blossoms the chant to be present even in the unpleasant moments.
Every great artist knows the magic of defying reality and frailty. At her peak, Whitney Houston was the greatest enchantress.
via The Voice: Whitney Houston (1963-2012) | Entertainment | TIME.com.
Her voice was her life’s purpose. Then she lost her way. We all have a purpose and we all lose our way sometimes. Her death is the biggest news because her story is a parable. Whatever it is that makes you soar, do that.