"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

Saturday, August 16, 2008


I'm awakened by the face of the perfect full moon peering into my bedroom windows. Windows left open for hope of relief from this dying summer heat. Coyotes sing in the distance, taking up the night chorus from the owls who sang me to sleep.

Sleep is gone for good. My head is filled with thoughts of lace - a picture that came to me a couple of days ago that persists and seems to have a message. I get up and stand at the living room window, absorbing the moon's gentle light, aware of the lace being created in my yard by its shadows. The giant fir boughs, the water from the sprinkler, the more delicate patterns of my flowers  - all part of the tapestry of  moonlit lace. Light and dark. Full and empty. Life and death.

Tabasco has been gone three weeks. He is gone. Dead. Not coming home. The power of my grieving has caught me by surprise. But the power of grieving always does. I am never prepared for the unique pain and emptiness and relentlessness of it. 

The hole left in his stead is perfectly Tabasco shaped. His furry bulk, long tail, marmalade coat. No other can fill that particular shape, or the place he filled in my life and heart. I keep checking to see if he's back, and continue to find the hole where he once purred under my chin.

As is my pattern, losing Tabasco has touched other losses  in my life. Some old, some new. Some resolved, some not. Some being illuminated more clearly by the pain of this loss, much like the illumination of tonight's full moon. Each loss leaving a pool of darkness, a hole that cannot be filled.

The losses started early - too early. There is a hole where an accepting mommy should be. There is a hole where an adoring daddy should be. There is a hole where innocence should be.

I've spent a lifetime trying to fill those holes with substitutes. And it's only now that I realize truly that they can't be filled. Each has a unique shape, like Tabasco's, that cannot be filled by other love or more attention or fame or success or words or food. There is no comfort for their loss. There is only time.

And the life that happens around the empty places. The silk threads of relationship and love that give shape to the holes and that create a fabric that is whole and beautiful.

On my walks in the park this week with Toby, I've been running into spider webs spun clear across the four foot span of the trail. More air than silk, they are startlingly strong. If the light is just right, I'll see one and avoid walking through it, stopping to admire its symmetry, strength and resident weaver.

Holes are lace. Without the empty places, the shadows, the holes - without those things, lace would be thread. Nothing more. 

That offers me comfort. Knowing that the losses are part of the tapestry of my life. A beautiful and satisfying life. A life where a perfect sunrise over Lake Quinault, the return of a friend I thought lost to me, and the memory of a giant orange cat are  silk. Silk and shadows. Lace.

Photo by Lynn from Flickr


Carrie Wilson Link said...

I've been away from the blogosphere, and you're my first stop back. No accidents. WOW. This is amazing, in all my favorite Deb-like ways!! I want to know more about the friendship that came back!

I heard this quote recently, thought it fit well with your lace theme: "Catastrophe is the essence of the spiritual path, a series of breakdowns allowing us to discover the threads that weave all of life into a whole cloth."

I'll never look at lace the same way again. Thank you.


FrecklesandDeb said...

Lovely, Deb -- as usual.

La La said...

Oh, Deb. This is so lovely. YOU are so LOVELY. I so get the holes and the search for substitutes! My whole life as been a search to fill those places where love and acceptance and belonging should have been givens in my life but weren't!

I'm so sorry for your losses, but I am grateful for your WISDOM. You teach me every time I come here. Every time we email. Every time I think of you, I learn and part of me grows up.

Thank you.

Suzy said...

Stunning writing. Simply stunning.



Anonymous said...

This is so beautiful. I have spent far too much time trying to fill the empty holes,and now know why I am fighting a loosing battle. Losses are inevitable as are the holes they leave. As the parts of our lives continue to weave together, the holes will eventually heal with time. Lace is the perfect, most beautiful metaphor for this.

I am sorry for the pain of your loss. My the gift of time bring healing to your life.

Thank you for your writing. I always leave here looking at life in a much more beautiful way.


M said...

As I read this post again tonight, I continue to be at a loss of words. The imagery of "lace" and the emptiness that it contains that results in it's beauty amazes me. It's a concept I have never thought about, but it gives me so much hope.

Life for many people is full of hopelessness and emptiness, but we all have a few threads of something in our lives that hold us together. Your blog reminds me that it's the threads that we need to focus on...that is where the beauty in our life can be found. And like the lace, sometimes the more holes (emptiness) there is, the more beautiful our life can become.

Thank you for this beautiful reminder. Love

Jerri said...

You've been much on my mind in the last week. Katie was here and asked me to help search for her birth mother.

Mixed emotions for me, of course. But I have thought this would fill in a hole for her. Your gorgeous post reminds me that holes cannot truly be filled. But perhaps new threads will connect that hole into the fabric of her life, weave it into lace.

Thank you for this gorgeous piece of writing and for this understanding.

You are amazing.

riversgrace said...

You've been on my mind, too. It's the lace. The lace is real. The lace is consciousness. It's all of us.

I feel that kinship with your words and the way you feel your way through the journey.

Blessings, Deb.