Beginner's Heart

Beginner's Heart

the winter of loss ~

I’m reading Pema Chodron’s When Things Fall Apart. She notes that death makes way for birth, and that birth follows death.

In my family, we’ve always believed (a kind of Oklahoma folk belief :)) that when one passes, another comes. One of my grand-nieces was born on the anniversary of 9/11. She was born while my mother lay dying.

And certainly there are, as Chodron reminds me gently, all kinds of births that result from metaphorical death: the loss of a job may be the beginning of possibility, for instance. A move from a beloved home may be the  doorway into a new neighbourhood, w/ new friends.


I’ve written often about loss, about the inadequacy of words (and yes, poets feel this, too). About the unavoidable sadness. About grief ~

But two deaths later, and the knowledge of how loved ones are (literally) at loss, I remain uncertain what to say or offer. I send cards, when I know an address. I post virtual comfort to Facebook. And I listen to music, as we do when words fail us.

So what I am sending to loved ones today, winging over the friend network, is the promise of spring. On an early March day, when temps hover near an unseasonable 70˚ and sunlight is as clear as creek water, spring is tangible. Winter is a bad dream, and there is infinite promise in the soft air. The hawk is sitting quietly in the park, just sitting in the sun. And the daffodils have returned to stand watch by the front door. Hard winter is a faint trace of mud on the deck.

Nothing lasts. Not life, certainly. But not grief either. Somewhere, right now, a cotyledon is splitting, sending a tap root down and a thin green shoot. Soon there will be flowers. And the pastel prance of spring. Then the vivid tumult of summer, and fall, and the cycle repeats. It’s a good thing to remember.


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