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."

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