Sunday, November 17, 2013
Often when I'm outside in these shortening days I can hear geese calling even when I can't see them through fog that seems to be the handmaiden of winter darkness. Come join us, I hear. Vestigial wing buds twitch and burn beneath my skin.
A morning driving in later than usual, late enough that the thickly clouded sky reveals both texture and form, I realize that beneath the myriad shades of gray flickers the faintest fire of pink. In the west. Not the east where one would expect to see a sunrise. I look behind me to be sure, and the east is as gray as the down of a goose. The pale blush stays with me for most of the trip to school before it's absorbed by sky mountains of thick moisture.
Even in these days when Persephone has returned to Hades and her mother's grief leaves the world to fend for itself, surprising bits of color manage to survive. Nasturtiums glow orange and gold. Geraniums offer flecks of magenta and salmon. Even roses unfurl hopeful reds into gray days.
Occasionally a strong wind will swoop out of nowhere, first tickling the tops of trees, and then scouring everything in its path below. Blizzards of leaves fill the air, along with maple seeds rotoring madly to the ground. Nakedness follows in its wake: trees stripped, the air empty and clean, my defenses breached.
Always this time of year fills me with a formless longing. This year is no different. Except the quality of yearning has shifted.
Before, I thought I knew what my wings would carry me to if I could only find a way to release them. That destination changed from year to year, but there was always some concrete missing thing or person or accomplishment that I believed I was destined to find. And that I believed would once and for all be my ticket to a life in the sky.
I finally know that it's not that simple. There will be no one event to release me from this sense that I'm missing something important. This feeling that life is passing me by and I'm approaching the end and I'll get there without having done what I came here to do. I feel more fully alive in these days of darkness in which everything is magnified like the flare of a dying star. Maybe that's enough. Each day received as a gift, approached with a sense of adventure, spent thoughtfully. Maybe the longing itself is an offering of love meant to be accepted and treasured and explored.