[New] Sharing from my journal—lions and hawks and sunsets, oh my!
Journal | Week of August 1, 2022
Hello & Namaste!
With my book, Grieving Us: A Field Guide for Living With Loss Without Losing Yourself, being out for more than a year, I’ve been deeply touched by readers around the world. They’ve trusted me with their intimate stories of loss, I’ve tried to help where I can, and their feedback is guiding me to shape additional resources for living with loss and with joy.
One request that has popped up is to share more from my journal. Perhaps you were one of my readers who especially liked the journal excerpts that started each chapter in Grieving Us.
So, this is the first of a pilot weekly offering of snippets from my daily writing (tidied up a bit ;-). My journaling is a way of talking to myself, as you’ll see. If it resonates with you, great, please let me know by posting a comment or sharing your own insights. If you’d rather not hear from me, there will always be an Unsubscribe option at the bottom of each email I send your way. So, here we go . . . .
August 1, 2022 | Monday
Between the summer’s solstice and the autumn’s coming equinox, this morning. Light comes and goes, tidal. Loss is a shadow that slides along the wood floor when you’re not looking.
Evening, a puma (a mountain lion) shows herself in the waning light, out of the dense, green cave of sword ferns and redwoods. I missed her, but my neighbor caught her in his camera and sent her to me. Darkness has its gifts, too.
August 2, 2022 | Tuesday
Again, I say this morning. Each day, fewer before me. How many mornings do you remember?
Pulling a journal into my lap, I read randomly, April 6, 2014: the nasturtium goes down into the ground and comes back up with orange trumpets and green umbrellas, and further down the page, the petals have not fallen but flow free, laying bodies of color on the mud.
Now I remember that morning. Let’s hold on to this one, okay?
August 3, 2022 | Wednesday
My husband, late in life, tells me again,“This might be my last night.” Nearly every night for four years. I’ve run out of comfort words. “Maybe,” I say, “but probably not.” He nods, our hands clasped in one warm knot.
The first time those words tumbled out of me and into the air between us, they seemed hollow. Tonight I realize both his words and mine are the only real words. No matter who says them, they’re true.
In the mirror before sleep, I whisper to my face, “probably not.”
August 4, 2022 | Thursday
The Swainson’s thrushes have stopped singing, though I see them fidgeting in leaves preparing to leave. Their ethereal voices are an upward spiral in my mind. “One more song, please, before you go?”
The earth is turning. You can smell it in the mud, crouching to water a late-blooming Columbine. A flower can be a bird. Columbine from the old French means dove-like. Thank you Columbine for rooting here. Let your yellowy wings stay awhile.
August 5, 2022 | Friday
Mist. Part cool, part balmy. It makes a fine, shimmery net in my hair. Waves and curls. The skin over my hands, looking more like a much-folded map these days, drinks in the damp.
The body responds to whatever this world offers. Every strand and cell wants to say, “yes.”
August 6, 2022 | Saturday
Working on what I will teach, my mind is a room full of light and voices. Hours pass in moments.
Remembering my eyes, I look away from the glow of monitor, through the windows of my body then the physical room. Temporary daisies are shocks of white along our pond, and fuchsias dangle over the trickling stream.
Suddenly Dark-eyed Juncos, more than a dozen Band-tailed pigeons all gawky and wild , and a few Stellar’s jays explode upwards from their drinking and bathing. Pieces of something larger, scattered into sky and redwoods, they’re gone.
What’s up, friends?
So still. Just the sound of water doing its work, reminding whoever’s paying attention to just keep going.
Then I see. Sharp-shinned hawk has dropped on a rock. Hello! For the birds, such awful hunger waits. For the human, that hunger brings a brief beauty. Whatever magic lifts on wings must be fed.
August 7, 2022 | Sunday
Isolated so much these days, the opportunity to be with friends. Lifting my brush, I smile, pleased to be going some place that isn’t here. Pulling my hair from the brush, I think nesting material, then wrong season. I’m thankful to have hair and brush and people who want to be with me. Some have none.
Later, shadows lengthening, our dear friend turns on a music playlist. The night becomes one song, versions of Somewhere Over the Rainbow, spilling around us again and again, diverse voices, different styles.
We laugh as we look at the Pacific—a clot of clouds above and the grey-blue line where ocean begins. Between them, there’s a slot for the sun to slip through. Who hasn’t hoped for a stunning sunset?
We wait and laugh and sing the rainbow song. Dealing with a bout of vertigo, I sway, like an old sailor struggling on land, and hope it looks like dancing.
Surprise. When I realize the sun is setting, I see it first in the fiery-orange faces, lit and glowing, of my friends.
They’re happy. We’re. All. Happy.
I turn and watch the sun, a deep ruddy-copper, its last light casting a flaming path on the water, leading to us. When the final drop of sun sinks into the cold Pacific, I realize, No, not into the sea. It’s sending its light back home to each one of us.
I look into the faces, still happy, then close my eyes, memorizing the moment so I can take it with me.
The sun has always been within us. Remember that.
Anything above touch you or prompt a thought you’d like to share? Please leave a comment and maybe spark a conversation.
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