This is the way of things

{Click to listen while you read –  because words and experience and music are all parts of the same whole.  This Is The Way Of Things – Spotify Soundtrack }


You wake up.  The sky is blue. The children laugh.  You forget to clear the breakfast dishes and the honey dries into sticky lacquer on the cover of the library book.  There are only hours separating you from the implosion.  You do not yet know this.  You may sense the approaching tempest, the remnant of some primitive instinct whispering losslossloss in the spaces just below the wind.  But you do not predict that this is the day.  You do not know to savor the aching sweetness of the final moments.  We never do.  Ignorance is not protection; this is the way of things.

But with a sharp crystal shatter it is done.  It’s a harsh slice, a vacuum of undoing.  Reality settles cold in the vastness of newly empty spaces. There you stand, dead center, eye of storm.  Face lifts to the heavens. Tender kneecaps find solid earth.  The body bends in a supplication that is the exact opposite of prayer.  Shrapnel of unwritten love letters spins the room round.  Scattered shards catch light and glitter with the fierce tenacity of things that will never be. It’s all slow motion now. There is a reckless beauty in the breakdown; this is the way of things.

You have stood here before.   You will stand here again.  In goodbye there is no first time or last time.  There is only this time, and the wrenching ache of it.   We are born with the knowing that this will come and come and come again.  The muscle memory of heartache holds no comfort.  Preparation is futile. Practice does not make perfect.  It is still – it will always be – gasping breath and primal howl and bleeding out from the places we hold most sacred.  The force of it will flatten, guaranteed.  Heartbreak has its own agenda; this is the way of things.

You pick up the pen, a desperate purge of words. You bleed letters now.  You always do when it comes to this. It’s a bitter end scrawl on neat lined paper.  You look down. Thick black ink seeps from pen, covering the soft pad of fingers, the raised veins, the curve of bone.  Darkness spreads across the page.  Your hand and just-written words are obliterated by stain.  It is fitting that truth flow has left body marked and words concealed.  It will eventually wash away.  The visible stain and the slow fade to forgetting; this is the way of things.

You stand later that night, on a street wet from rain.  Arms wrap around frail body, a desperate attempt to hold yourself whole.  Hazy streetlights glow, bone truth echoes in the damp night air. You look up into windows containing lives that could have been yours. But things fall apart.  Lives continue their trajectories without you. The heart gains new fault lines with each loss.  They slip against each other, and things fall down.   When the ground stops moving we patch things together as best we can. We are all earthquakes waiting to happen.  Parallel lives and the aftermath of disaster; this is the way of things.

And it finally comes, as it must.  That cry from your deep, ancient center.  The gash of loss. The frantic exile from skin and want and home. The full moon calls forth your grief song now.  Tear off your clothes, light fire to dreams.  It’s just you and the wolves and the unseen wild things.  The world spins on, – it always has and always will. But you belong right now to the exquisite otherness of loss. Give yourself over to it.  It is the only choice.   There is no place for you amongst the tame, pretty things. You must follow the spiral down.  The inevitable descent into the underworld; this is the way of things.

But dawn comes. Shadows lift.  You are shivering.  Naked.  Alone.  As alone as you have ever been.  The sun rises.   The earth’s waking rhythms are a call to rebirth.  From the ashes you emerge.  There is a tender ferocity about you now.  A solid core of strength at the center of grief’s deep well.  It is true, you think, that freedom is the only language our hearts know how to speak.

It is true that there are things in life that can never be explained to those who have not lived them.  It is true that loss is sometimes the only way to become more of yourself.    It is true that survival sometimes only comes from inviting a million different deaths. It is true that the first notes of that song will always transport you to a state of breathless worship.  It is true that you can be loved in a way that changes everything, and find that everything has remained exactly the same.   Layers of truth are always hidden in the folds of great loss; this is the way of things.

Your skin is a glorious road map of scars gifted by love and by devastation.   Your heart is inked with the essence of unspoken words and stories yet to find life.   Your breath will always remember what it was to love without translation. Your bones are the only things that know the whole truth.

The horizon calls to you now, speaks your true name. The name you were given by the universe the day you were born and the name that is whispered by the wind with every rebirth.   The name your spirit recognizes as belonging only to you. You walk forward as if compelled.

You walk eternally, hopefully forward.   This, always, is the way of things.


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