Thursday, January 2, 2014

Sudden Loss

This summer I spent a week at Squaw Valley in Tahoe at a writers retreat. My roommate was another female poet and she told me all about her sweet little family in Memphis, about her little 18-month son, Rainer. We've kept in touch loosely over Facebook and I was shocked to see an announcement on Sunday that Rainer had passed away in his sleep of unknown causes, just a few days past his second birthday. I feel so heartbroken for this woman and her family. I barely know her, but I know what a dedicated and invested mother she is. It all feels so unfair and it is such an unimaginable grief. I have to keep myself from imagining the moment that they found him . . . how language fails us in these moments. Loss is often too much for words. We haven't ever quite come up with the right containers for grief; it is still an unutterable experience. 

I know there's nothing I can do or say. It's not even my grief or my family, but maybe in a way it is. Shouldn't we all be touched when something this awful happens? It feels like the world ought to stop, at least for a moment, since there are no words, the world just ought to stand still for that little soul leaving it. I just wish it would. I really do. At least we could be silent for him when we don't have the words. 

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Coming Home


I was standing in our new garage today, painting the shelves that will house our books in the new house. The garage door was open and the golden light of the winter sun was slanting in as it slid down the horizon. I had just placed a fresh, unpainted board on the sawhorses and I leaned on it for a moment, surveying the street on which we will live for the foreseeable future. It was a surreal moment and I could hear a flock of geese honking overhead, migrating.
I'm done migrating now, and it feels a little odd after so many years of coming to and going from. I think I rather liked the change, although you wouldn't know it from the onsets of panic I get when moving. Still, it's just such a strange thought to own a piece of earth—as much as one can these days—and to know that you'll be staying in once place. I'm thrilled by it and afraid of it at the same time, but in that moment—with my hands on the smooth, fresh grain of the wood, the warmth of the departing sun, the birds on their way above me—it didn't feel anything like fear and everything like coming home.