Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The Art of Losing in This Wild World

This evening I suddenly had a craving for some vintage Cat Stevens.  Listening to "Wild World" as I walked to meet a friend:  "If you want to leave, take good care.  I hope you meet a lot of nice friends out there..." I smiled because I have been so lucky; I cry for the same reason.  It's hard to keep saying goodbye to people I care about.   It's a hell of a lot easier to get by when I am surrounded by beautiful people in my life, sharing lovely experiences, but then there's the rub, right?  And although I know that there will be reconnections, maintained connection from a distance, and more and more exciting adventures to have together, the ease of walking down a street together?  Or dancing alongside one another on a random Sunday evening?  Not as much, or at least not as often.

Elizabeth Bishop writes, in her poem "One Art":

The art of losing isn't hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent 
to be lost that their loss is no disaster.

And, as I contemplate leaving behind yet another household of "things," I recognize that this is an art that I have mastered.  The loss of yet another couch or chair or end table is no disaster.

I lost two cities, lovely ones.  And, vaster,
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
I miss them, but it wasn't a disaster.

Saying goodbye to place is not so difficult either.  There are more.  There are so many places filled with undiscovered sights, sounds, and adventure that it's difficult to bemoan the moving on from one space to another.

However, her last stanza?

--Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture 
I love) I shan't have lied.  It's evident
the art of losing's not too hard to master
though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.

I understand that Bishop is referring, most likely, to a romantic partner, but the same can be said for friendships.  Saying goodbye?  Even when you know you'll see one another again?  Even when you know it's by no means a forever sort of thing?  It's not disaster, but there are tears to be shed, partings that tug at my heart, and a reminder that these moments are worth savoring, that these people are what keep my heart from breaking in two.   I've seen a lot of what the world can do, and I've seen friendships conquer most every harsh reality that can be thrown our way.  "Ooo, baby baby, It's a wild world."

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Through lines and Themes

I think about all of us stumbling through...looking for through-lines, for the theme that emerges in the patterns, while also trying to be attentive to where we are at any given moment.   As it is so often in literature, it is in life:  the theme emerges slowly and often down a plot line that we were reticent to follow.  It takes some time to put together the pieces, but once you do, it washes over you as if you had known it to be true all along.

We're all walking different stories, and hopefully owning each and every one.  The first post I made in this blog, referenced a conversation between characters in Lorraine Hansberry's A Raisin in the Sun in which two characters were discussing life as a long line that reaches into infinity, "and because we cannot see the end, we cannot see how it changes."  And I remember thinking how very terrifying this is at times.  And I've revisited these same fears again and again.

What has emerged in the past weeks, however, is the realization that in our shared humanity, we will each feel moments of trepidation, uncertainty, and, yes, fear.  And, in our best moments, we know these will pass.  I rejoice in those moments of synchronicity, when the theme emerges, and all of the seemingly disparate details, symbols and images align.  I am grateful to be the author of the story I'm walking in.  And I'm grateful for all of the characters in this grand adventure.

 I recognize that I don't want to be walking any other path, and that sometimes, the path you didn't even know existed, is the most right.  Funny how that works.  I'm good with a "protagonist learns to listen to her heart" theme interspersed with "honesty and love are all there is" and maybe some "resiliency of human nature."  Yeah.  All of those would be lovely.