Down the rabbit hole

March 11, 2016

The people I’m looking for—I don’t know where they are.
I don’t know the color of their clothing. From across the park
I see the dark windows of my apartment.

Spring has arrived.
Let me not despair.

 

From 'Song for the Festival' by Gretchen Marquette

 

 

A strange thing happens when someone dies. You're thrown together with a bunch of people you're more or less familiar with. Together you travel down the rabbit hole until you reach a narrow kind of reality. Suddenly, conversations revolve around copper fittings, about who will walk where, about what to serve with coffee. Small, minor things and yet they encompass your whole world. There are also officials, who speak cautiously of the deceased, as if it were an honoured guest that should be cared for but not disturbed. This somehow makes the lost one both very much gone and very much present.

 

After a few days in this vortex, you find you yearn for the broad reality you had before, for the structure of daily life. You want pick them back up, your normal pursuits, your former way of being. But as soon as you step back into the world you knew, you find you have carried your grief with you. And as the people around you go about their business, you feel heavy, burdened.... You track back to that other world, because there are the people who understand how you feel. But then again the rabbit hole closes around you and again daily business keeps tugging.

 

The same goes for distractions; you're so busy you need to rest bot body and mind, but when you allow yourself some space, you find you can't relax and your thoughts keep spinning.

 

I am glad to say I did find the people I was looking for. They were there all along. Old friends, new family. Even strangers, names without faces. They were there in kind words and warm hugs. In unexpected messages, in sudden memories, in a hand on my arm.

 

The other thing that happened, at least for me, is that Death is suddenly present. Not the indivual death but all around. I became aware of the temporality of everything and it took away my joy, as if someone had dropped a heavy blanket over reality. And yet it is spring. Light lingers. Birds call out. Flowers come up in the garden. And I remember the wisdom of Tao: there are endings, there are beginnings, the only thing eternal is change.

 

There will be a time for bright colors again.

 

#thisweekinpoetry: Every week I look back at the past few days and try to find a poetic quote to match. Or maybe the other way around, I find good poetry and try to match the week with it. Whichever works.

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