Yes, I’ve been silent a long time. At first, quite reluctantly. More recently, very deliberately.
I needed time to get close to the immediacy of my life—to feel the raw texture of my experience—before protecting myself from it through the screen of my words. Reflection makes life worth living, yes, but it can also be a shield from living: a way of coloring, deflecting, denying, evading, reconstructing and refabricating.
So much has happened: a great majority of it things that could have (should have?) been written about. Perhaps later (very likely later), I’ll return to all of it—the mass of unprocessed living—break it apart in my hands like fertile earth, ever so gently sifting, searching for something I might have missed, while I spent the weeks just resting in the cold, damp soil.
The metaphor of rich, dark loam is fitting here, because so much of the time elapsed since I last wrote passed in so many varieties of death and dying. Death and dying are words fraught with so much significance that we forget how much of life depends on (is consonant with?) death and dying. So many of our daily disappointments, our weekly worries, our monthly melancholies, our annual anxieties have to do with hundreds and thousands of unrealized little deaths…
(What is death, really, if not a conceptual/linguistic/dramatized shorthand for the end brought about by the sheer impermanence of life?)
So yes, it’s been a month (or two months?) of painfully and ungracefully dying in many (as yet untold) ways, of coming to awareness of defunct and dysfunctional ways of being and doing, seeing and listening, speaking and relating.
What did I get out of all of it? Profound humility is one: a newfound appreciation of the depths to which one can sink—and of the duration for which one can remain sunk. Humble gratitude is another: a perplexed, almost suspicious, awe of the velocity with which one can be forgiven—and grace bestowed.
The business of dying will never end, but it does follow its season. For now, the long, arduous, and almost painful winter is over. The soil is thawing. The birds are returning.
Spring is coming.
And with it, a song.