Taking Time to Heal
"Dig deep. Spread wide."
- Katherine Genet, The Singing
"This year, go slow. Then go slower."
Shey Zenker, from my birthday numerology reading
In what feels like a snap of my fingers, five months have passed since writing the December blog. January began with a surprise visit from my son for my birthday. Five days whirled by. After his travels home he came down with Omicron (he's healthy now). I caught the flu. Within a week, a two-month onslaught of migraines descended, finally managed with a memory of my son, not yet born though my belly large with his presence and no migraines for those nine months. My doctor said, "Ahh! You need more progesterone. And take your hormones twice a day. You need more support."
During those winter months I supported my writer/spiritual self with two poetry classes. Eighty percent of my poems were about grief as I awakened to the long, slow healing of dysthymia that descended after my father took his own life fifty years ago.
Ukraine was invaded. Dinner has been served with the nightly news almost every night since February. Two years and counting there is an ongoing surrender of normal to the demands of the pandemic, while living with climate change—this past winter snow graced only the few tallest peaks, the rain sparse here on the desert floor.
Everywhere I looked, compassion demanded I expand. Even on the toughest days there was a deepening and a widening. It was through my writing classmates' poems finding space on paper that stretched my capacity for compassion as I listened to them speak of unsayable loss in tear-born, heart-wrenching words. And it wasn't just me that was being transformed...poetry in her generosity took us all in.
Then spring came suddenly with its light, a bit more rain. The purple-leaf plum tree was the first to bloom in pale pink blossoms that defied the sudden dips into winter temperatures. All the plants called out for fertilizer, mulch, and protection from the exceptionally windy weather. Now in the Sonoran Desert summer and a persistent wind, I apply sunscreen and pull on my gloves and hat when I visit the garden——plant by plant I do my best to nurture them. I feel my roots grow deeper and wider each day, despite the heat. I feel my ability to love and receive love flowering, despite the sorrow etched in everyone's eyes.
On March 7, 2022, Margaret Renkle, writer and New York Times opinion columnist, wrote her column titled "What to Do with Spring's Wild Joy in a Burning World." It was such an inspiring and life-supporting piece to read that day, like a bear hug from a stranger, and so I share it with you:
"The world is burning, and there is not time to put down the water buckets. For just an hour, put down the water buckets anyway....Take your cue from the bluebirds, who have no faith in the future but who build the future nonetheless, leaf by leaf and straw by straw, shaping them and turning them into a sheltering roundness perfectly fitted to the contours of the future they are making."