"It's as if a great bird lives inside the stone of our days and since no sculptor can free it, it has to wait for the elements to wear us down, till it is free to fly." Mark Nepo

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Melting

A heart is preserved in layer upon layer of ice. A new layer of frozen protection added for every soul wound that threatened to still the steady beat of life. The very first chilling walls almost certainly created by a primal body buying time for consciousness to take over the job of maintaining life. The remaining blankets of cold added consciously, intentionally, because no other option seemed viable.

Does a two year old know that pain can kill? Can she decide to protect herself against it, or does her body do that for her? When does she decide for herself? Seven? Eleven? Seventeen? Does she know the cost? Does she care? Survival is all that matters when it's all she can do. No time to be concerned about the cost when the promised price of unbuffered pain is death. She knows she cannot survive without her heart, and does the only thing she knows to keep it safe. She encases it in thick walls of solid water.

Year after year the heart lay protected, barely beating, beneath the treacherous frozen beauty. The walls of ice so thick that pain could no longer penetrate. The walls of ice so thick that nothing could penetrate. 

Finally the longings of all those hibernated girls threatened to stop the heart from within. Unfulfilled desires, it turns out, have the same capacity to still a heart's song as the pain they were being protected from.

How do you thaw something that has been frozen so deeply for such a long time?

The blow torch method worked for a while. Intense heat applied intensely. Speed and maximum results were the goal. Too much time had been lost, and the heart was crying for release. 

But the heart does not like to be treated roughly. Not even when it's for a good cause. Going from intense cold to intense heat is a recipe for intense pain. Feeling returning to previously frozen chambers burned like the fire meant to provide freedom. Nostalgia for the cool comforts of ice threatened re-imprisonment.

And so came the discovery that the mere removal of intention to freeze allows melting. An ice cube taken out of the freezer will eventually melt on its own, even if the room is very cold. Doing nothing resulted in its own form of freedom. This method was much less painful, but far too slow. 

Somehow in the slow ease of nothing, the heart came to believe in its ability to beat in the open and withstand whatever life has to offer. It became ready for the thaw to be completed. It became ready to release the final layers of ice. It became ready to trust its own song.

This awareness brought an amazing gift. The heart discovered that liquid  melts frozen and then water is water, embracing and absorbing itself. The last layers of ice are dissolved by the gentle steady summer rains of tears, compassion and loving-kindness. Ice cannot form in this warm wash of fluid life. Ice is no longer necessary. 

4 comments:

Jerri said...

"It became ready to trust its own song."

Thank God for this. Your own songs are glorious. So is your writing, which I wait for like Christmas.

Carrie Wilson Link said...

"Unfulfilled desires, it turns out, have the same capacity to still a heart's song as the pain they were being protected from."

Love that.

You gave me goose bumps, Deb!

Eileen said...

The thaw is complete and trusting its own song, is such a wondeful place to be. This was beautiful. Not many people have the courage to live like that. I admire you, so much.

Your writing is truly like a work of art. Sometimes it actually takes my breath away.

XOXOX

La La said...

"A heart is preserved in layer upon layer of ice. A new layer of frozen protection added for every soul wound that threatened to still the steady beat of life."

The tears welled up and flooded out with that first line!

Really. You are an AMAZING WRITER. You get me EVERY TIME!

My soul has been so wounded, too, starting at such a young age, and each person responsible seems to have gotten away with it all.

I love you, Deb.