I helped a friend yesterday with a bit of yard work. Helped to plant a few flowers. Trimmed a tree. Pulled a few weeds. Burried a bird. Enjoyed these existing flowers coming to life in spring. I’ve always loved the persistence, and perhaps creativity, of flowers that grow among rocks. The yard care, and the company, were very renewing.

Four weeks ago I took a rest from posting in this blog. Though writing remains tremendously edifying to me, and is one of my offerings, I followed my instincts, to surrender even that. We were all in some surrender those days. And are in these days. I needed to be in the space of “no words” to follow some grief. To go further with the surrender. To rest in a slowed and emptied landscape.

Well, in the surrender and the renewal I found myself in an unplanned website redesign. The platform I was using was about to expire. I have to say it was fun to upgrade a few skills (after my giant gulp of “oh no”). It was fun to tend to my website, migrating a few materials, removing some, playing with look and feel. I loved selecting a few recent photos to highlight this site, scrolling through my phone from a few recent important gatherings.

In the last four weeks I spent a fair amount of time writing in a different way — on flip charts and grouping post-it notes. I think I needed to revisit in a very visual way what I was learning and what I was loving. I loved having those visuals on my wall, much like I love these spring flowers growing amidst rocks. Some of that will likely come out in the coming days and weeks of posts.

In one part of the conversation yesterday, my friend and I shared that we’d been going through what feels a full spectrum of CoVid related emotions every day and sometimes every hour. Grief. Fear. Surrender. Mesmerized appreciation. Joy. Panic. I’ve heard this from a lot of people I’ve been in touch with.

Such it is. We live in the times we live in. Until we don’t. I’m grateful for renewal. And tending with friends.

The Thing Is (A Poem by Ellen Bass)

I love these words, written by Ellen Bass, American Poet and Writer. Because they speak to the difficulty that so many of us know, that I know. Because these words speak to the simple of going on, that so many of us know, that I know.

I love the book that contains this poem, How Lovely The Ruins: Inspirational Poems and Words for Difficult Times, that was recently loaned to my by a new friend. I love having such a friend.


The Thing Is

to love life, to love it even
when you have no stomach for it
and everything you’ve held dear
crumbles like burnt paper in your hands,
your throat filled with the silt of it.
When grief sits with you, it’s tropical heat
thickening the air, heavy as water
more fit for gills than lungs;
when grief weights you like your own flesh
only more of it, an obesity of grief,
you think. How can a body withstand this?
Then you hold life like a face
between your palms, a plain face,
no charming smile, not violet eyes,
and you say, yes, I will take you
I will love you again.