Archive for December, 2007
The Will of the Lonely
A conversation with a friend in a similar singular situation: He says he’s not dating anyone until he’s fine, until his problems become neatly reconfigured into forms that can be proudly exhibited to the outside world, like a classic car of the 50’s, formerly a rusty thing hidden in a barn in the back of the house, him secretly working on it, replacing the fenders, the engine, repainting and bonding the metal, until finally it’s rolled out, rolled out slowly with the chamois in hand to wipe it up, there for the public to see and admire. It’s ready. But he says he’s lonely. He says he doesn’t like getting hurt, and who would want him like that, like he is.
I tell him, you are fine. I smile and laugh and say oh well about being hurt. He must think I’m a loony sort of person, feelings with the depth of the last sliver of slippery used soap. He probably thinks I should even wash my mouth with it. But I’m right:
Watch the forests after a burn; watch the valleys after a flood, no many floods; watch the lizard’s tail re-grow, watch the beaver dams build and rebuild, and the salmon swimming and swimming, getting bloodied and mutilated in the passionate pursuit of doing exactly what it is that nature has demanded that we all do, and we do as long as we can possibly draw breath inside or move our limbs about or wipe our mouths with the last swallow of consommé: we live, we survive.
Do we do it well, do we do it with great ceremony and pride? We do it with abuses, with divorces, with deaths, with affairs, with losses, and they all hurt and we want to slink away into Some Place where no one will see us and identify us with the ease of naming the make of that fancy car. We think we can hide in a big city, or hide in a small city by staying to ourselves, thinking we are restoring something to great beauty by working for all we’ve got All By Ourselves, and then we forget to watch the disgruntled sea lions making room for each other on the rocks, the forceful carving of waves against the rocks, the geese honk honk honking, and that we are One Of Them, and that The Despair we will wear and wear on ourselves, and it might cut into our very skins as does the excruciating cut of the accidental fisherman’s filament into the poor necks of the sea lion. That sea lion? We turn our heads with the severity of it, we can’t look, he’s hurt, we can’t save him or cut that line, but he pushes and pushes, living as long and as well as he can until that line breaks or he dies with the infection.
We will all die.
Nature demands that in the meantime we live, demands that we wrap ourselves into the going on on on of the earth, of the sunrises warming our faces, of the earthquakes that obliterate our living spaces, of the losses, so many losses, one by one, we hold so tenderly and then they slip away; we glance at them slipping far away, like dropping a key over the side of my kayak: I grab, and it’s gone, twisting, pausing, bright, then dimming, and gone. And we can’t stop. This earth, it is harsh, and it is tender, and it is forgiving, and not forgiving, but it is guaranteed to go on and on. And the love: and the shame: and the hurts: and the beauty: and the joy: we grab it, we grab it all. We grab it because the Earth Says So.
Wait? Wait and wither and be quiet and lonely and safe. Grab and grab heartily, let the losses and the scars wave about us like colorful plumes and proudly live. No one needs to be lonely.