"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

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Frost Heave


The ground of my front flower bed is soft, fertile, well-worked. For most of the year it supports a soul-satisfying and always shifting array of color, texture and fragrance. From crocuses to hyacinths to yarrow to lavender to bee balm. The alchemy of combining rich soil, warm sunlight and rain results in a treasure chest that rivals any collection of jewels anywhere.

For the short time the soil lays fallow in our climate it remains soft and receptive, waiting for warmth to return. But once in a while Arctic air moves down from the north bringing such intense cold that the moisture that once offered gentle liquid sustenance transforms into a harsh frozen solid.

Crystalline trees form and grow upward, strong enough to hold rocks and a complete layer of soil. What was once a smooth and serene surface becomes a terrible forest straight from a fairy tale enchantment. It takes over the landscape with the promise that even when the magic kiss of the sun breaks its power, its effects will remain. Nothing will be left in quite the same place. The soil will be even more porous than before, more tillable.  The newly unearthed stones will be removed in the spring planting, leaving the ground cleaner and even more receptive.

The ice forest reflects light on the grayest of days, but offers no warmth. Its harsh beauty, capable of drawing blood, refuses to hide anything, exposing everything.

There is no way to prevent an Arctic blast or the resulting frost heave, beyond the creation of protective layers so thick they keep the cold out at the expense of allowing any life in at all. And so I stand in this frozen forest, kept warm enough in the quilt of the many prayers and kind words and shared stories offered in these last days to surrender to its cold cleansing fire knowing it will leave the soil of my heart even more fertile than it was before.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart to all of you who have left messages of comfort and shared your stories and offered prayers. You are warm sunshine in this frozen landscape of grief and I will be forever grateful to each and every one of you.

38 comments:

LauraX said...

Oh sweet wise soul, this enchanted forest will indeed melt and leave behind richer, more arable soil in your heart...I am just so sorry that you must experience the intense freeze and bloodied cuts right now. Your words are beautiful, an early harvest from the tragic frost, already melting drip by precious drip.

yaya said...

Again I'm left with no words that could express my sadness for your loss...I hope spring comes soon to your heart and you'll find peace.

Wanda said...

Love. You, beloved.

Retired English Teacher said...

You insight and the beauty with which you are able to express your deepest pain, loss and hope is amazing. You've been on my mind. We will have to talk someday. We share so much of a common story.

God bless you in your journey.

Teresa aka JW said...

Look at that frost--the frozen world. I'm not a fan of winter, but it has to happen I am told. One day...it will be in the past and the cold will gradually grow warmer. We will remember that season, but the world won't stay frozen forever. I promise.

Take care.

Prayers,
T

Donna said...

You write with a beauty that uncovers the ice crystals of the soil and the hurt of the soul...
May the love of those around who care and those far away who also do, help to heal. Praying for you....Donna

MangoPeanut said...

sending love and love and more love

Jessica Nelson said...

Lovely post!
I'd like to see an ice forest; it sounds beautiful.

*hugs* for the New Year.

Tabitha Bird said...

Hugs Deb. Sorry I missed the post where you shared your grief. But I am thinking of you now.
All the very best for 2011 :)

Jerri said...

So much love for you, Deb. I am holding you in the Light, every morning and night, sending you peace and comfort across the miles.

M said...

Beautiful!!

I love you
Mark

Pam said...

Have only just discovered your heartbreaking news Deb,the depth of your grief so beautifully, sadly and and poignantly expressed.
I am so sorry for the loss of your daughter.
You will be very much on my mind and in my prayers in this the start of the New Year.
Though the frosts may be cold, the warmth and love expressed here is palpable.
I wish for you strong hope and comfort, and delight once more in your healing garden when the sun peeks through.(To every thing...there is a season... even of the grieving soul).
As others have noted, your words reach out - you have an insightful gift with words that develop strong chords of empathy in others and often leave me in awe of your wise ability.It is indeed, a precious avenue for healing.
Much love to you.

Stacy Crawford said...

You have such an eloquent writing style. I know that through much pain always comes hope. Hang in there.

Amber said...

Holding loving space for you.

Love love love.

ox ;)

Kristen Torres-Toro said...

Oh Deb, I just came back from break and saw your earlier post. I AM SO SO SO sorry... praying for you! That's all I can say because there is nothing else really to say. Praying for spring... praying for you.

Katie Gates said...

Dear Deb, This post was so evocative. Then your note at the end led me to your previous post. I am so, so sorry for your loss.

deborahjbarker said...

A fairytale description that leaves me breathless and feeling that I am standing with you in the frozen forest. How true that even from the stoniest ground hope springs.
Indeed, nothing will ever be quite the same but both the forest and you will emerge to warm sunshine some time soon I hope.

Gammary said...

Deb...Recently saw a piece about a species of frog(s?) that freeze as soon as they touch ice. They literally are little cubes as they shut down in the middle and then freeze. The thawing is the most "undefinable" as they thaw from the inside out...doesn't make sense as you would think their extremities would thaw first...but it is their hearts that melt first. I relay this to you as I believe the "undefinable" piece of love is the heart that if damaged or frozen is first to melt and re-energize the new life of spring. Your heart continues to throb the love that we all can feel, even in our sometimes frozen state.
Thank you.

Mary

kario said...

Love you and your connection with nature. Thank you for acknowledging the ice and know that we are all sitting with you as it does what it does to you.

Love.

Barb said...

Thinking of you, Deb, and hoping that when the thaw comes, your heart will once again be fertile ground.

Sandi said...

I am so amazed by you. Your words leave me yearning for more. I love the connection with the ice, and grateful to you for recognizing and sharing it. I can't help myself, but I love ice formations in nature. Yet, I hadn't thought much about how the ice leaves the soil more porous. Dare we believe it is a gift to find a heart more fertile after painful upheaval? I love you so much

Anonymous said...

This is just exquisite. Waiting for spring with much anticipation.

Love you,
J

Linda Myers said...

We're with you, with our warm hearts.

Carrie Link said...

That's a really beautiful way to look at it, Deb.

Prayers, prayers and more prayers.

Cloudia said...

Thank you for this lovely glimpse of your life in a different climate. Observing hearts
are all related. . .



Aloha from Hawaii

Comfort Spiral

><}}(°>


<°)}}><

Cloudia said...

Your blog's excellent/resonant title is what brought (lured) me :)

Linda Hoye said...

{{Hugs}} Deb.

colbymarshall said...

Thinking of you, hoping you are doing okay during this time. Sometimes, the happiest thing we can do is move one foot in front of the other.

Wanda..... said...

Just read your last two posts Deb...I have been away a few weeks. I'm sorry to hear such news, my heart and thoughts go out to you.

Midlife Jobhunter said...

My mom told me of this just today. We've both been remiss. I'm so sorry for your grief. Such beauty in your words brought on by your sorrow. No comfort, right now, I'm sure.

Take good care, Catbird Scout. Know we're thinking of you.

Charlene: the Polarblogger said...

You always inspire us with your beautiful expressions of your personal experiences, whether happy or grievous.
Your analogy between your life and nature makes your stories so fascinating and educational.
And I believe that writing about our feelings can give us comfort.
Thank you for sharing your life and emotions.

deb said...

I am silenced , really.
I wish you peace, Deb.

Amber said...

More love.

((hug))

:)

LauraX said...

holding you in my heart ♥

Terri Tiffany said...

Even in your grief, your words minister back to me. Again, I am so so sorry for the tragedy that happened.

Facing50Blog.com said...

I can only repeat the comment made by yaya. You have expressed your grief exceptionally poetically and eloquently. I hope that with your writing which can assist in the outpouring of emotions and knowing you have the support of so many of us out here that you will find a gentle peace in time.
My sincerest wishes
Carol

Donna said...

Deb...thinking about you today and wondering how you are....
THANK you for your kind comments on my blog...Hugs, Donna

Kathryn Magendie said...

I love those ice forms that push up from the ground - like some strange spring growth, yes.

Always beautiful writing and insights here, Deb.