Bobbers, Buoys, and the Broken Things
Will we ever feel stable again?
The end of November and most of December here is just gray, gray, gray. The bare trees like sticks are gray, the sky is gray, the water is gray, the ground is some frozen patchy mix of gray snow and gray ground. The snow doesn’t come in force until near Christmas, and Advent will arrive and complete in a monochrome joyless gray. We move toward winter solstice, each day growing shorter and darker, and sometimes have to hunt for the beauty.
I noticed this morning that a thin blanket of ice has begun growing out from the shores of the river. Some years this happens later, but not this unseasonably cold, gray year. We still have one whole month until winter officially begins. I love winter but I brace myself still, a learned habit from the many winters I have not loved.
I take inventory this morning, while laying in bed still, listening to the Canadian Geese call and respond to one another on the water. I press on my soul like a doctor pressing on a body, “Does this hurt?” “How about this?” “Here?” But the pain is generalized, I realize, not localized. “It all hurts,” I feel like saying, but without cause, without reason, without excuse. There is no one source for the aching I feel or the sadness that is palpable.
There is an unmaking that is happening to me that I won’t dignify with the catch-word of ‘deconstruction.’ It is not deconstruction in either the Derrida1 sense or the hip sense. It is a reforming, taking all the same pieces and manipulating them around in a different order. There is what I think about relationships, what I think about politics, what I believe about friendship and membership, what I feel about communion and community, what I know about God and humans. There is what I believe about love and marriage, and what I know about my love and my marriage. There is what I thought I’d grow old with and what, upon growing older, I find missing.
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