ColumnConscious life, hear me roar.
“I want to go ahead of Father Time with a scythe of my own.” – H.G. Wells
My oldest brother, whom I had not talked to or seen in some 10 years, just left my house. For years, I’ve envisioned all the things I wanted to tell him. All that mess that went down when he left, how we all had to pick up the pieces, how I felt bound to hold everyone together and make them see the lighter side of things, but I didn’t.
I saw him standing in my home, looking the spitting image of my father, and hugged him and cried while he, big brother style, tried to make me laugh.
It takes a lot in this world to be human. To let go of anger and mend bridges we thought were burned or too weak to ever repair. To let time be the true salve for our hurts and realize that ultimately, life keeps propelling us all forward.
But oh, that in-between time of figuring it all out.
I started writing this column on Wednesday and it was to be on how much happens in a week of our lives. The idea came to me on Christmas when my grandfather died, gathered speed when my estranged brother called my mother to say he was sorry for her loss, held steady when my dearest friend called to tell me he was separating from his beautiful wife and crashed hard when my second oldest brother had a nervous breakdown Tuesday night from all the stress.
In just a week, life hung in a precarious place, diverging into two roads where at one juncture the potential for a complete emotional apocalypse was readily available and at the other, a place of learning and growth. By Thursday, I’d strapped on my sneakers and headed out into the cold morning to run until I couldn’t take it. Stop and go, stop and go, catching my breath, losing it all again, pushing, sweating and finally crying while running, realizing that no matter what happens in this world, I am in control of how I react within it. We all are. It just hurts sometimes, these pit stops in rest areas we didn’t expect to pull into.
Tomorrow is a new day and the Bufflehead ducks on the pond at the bottom of my street will be pushing through the water, quietly looking for food. Every morning when I walk the dog I stand there and take them in and watch the long slants of sun breaking across the water. All along the water’s edge they swim in groups, diving underneath for food in the dark silence they always come up out of. Sometimes, I hold my breath without realizing it until they pop back up and are safe in the warm sun. Until I know they are back with their feathered clan pushing further out into the blue, where they live without my help.
Between the Lines is a weekly column navigating the sometimes-sharp, sometimes-blurred lines of life and culture between city and country.