Sunday, March 21, 2010

Breathing space

Nothing seems to want to unfold in a straight line these days. Moments of sweetest joy are followed by rough jolts of sorrow. I know, this is the stuff of life. But still. This past week has been a tough one - which possibly shows, even though I've not known how to articulate the half of it.

There's so much ache out there. In here. I feel as though a big chunk of cartilage is lodged in my throat - a heavy shape that I can neither swallow nor pry out. The throat is a place where grief sits. Which makes sense. Yesterday I learned that a dear friend's chemo treatment is not yielding the results we all so much hope and pray for. Another friend is in hospital awaiting bypass surgery. There are many reasons to stay awake, to light candles.

On Tuesday, my much-loved adopted grandmother farewelled her home of six - nearly seven - decades. At ninety, she grieves - as though it were yesterday - the loss, three years ago, of the man she's loved since her early twenties. How must it feel to leave behind all you have known? When I talked with her yesterday, she said we were not to worry about her, that life is about change, that she's at peace with this new reality, though 'of course, there are small adjustments to be made, dear.'

It's strange, isn't it, how things can change without a moment's notice. One minute, the world looks and feels crisp, benevolent and full of promise; next thing you know, the safe and familiar are tipped on their heads. I find myself looking inwards and outwards with a mix of astonishment, shock, and compassion.

For reasons largely unknown, these are muddle-some, meddlesome days. I don't know when last I felt this full and this wretched. I've been wondering, too, whether I might need to take a pause from blogging for a while.

It doesn't help that Sage, my sweet tabby companion, went missing on Friday. He's not used to being beyond the safety and cosiness of home and will be lonesome, hungry and frightened. The thought of him possibly not finding his way back to me has me weeping. I am listening for him, willing him please to come home.

On a brighter note, yesterday was the Equinox - the joyful advent of Spring in the Northern Hemisphere, Autumn in our Southern one. For the next few weeks, we will share similar day/night temperatures. The distance between here and there will not seem so great.

I wish I could draw a rim of light around everything.


  1. I'm very sorry to hear about your cat. I hope he finds his way home. Take the time you need.

  2. Your grief is understandable. Life is like a washing machine. Sometimes it spins effortlessly, other times it throws a wobbly. So pausing is more than OK.

    And a safe journey back home for Sage. Perhaps he’s taking a Mobius Strip type journey home and defying straight lines? If he is, he’ll wander by soon.

  3. Dear Claire, I hope you won't stop your beautiful blog. It's impossibly dark when it is dark, isn't it? And yet, we must bear the heaviness of it, the weight of it, or how else would we know the lightness and brightness of joy? Change is very hard. It hurts. Feeling betrayed and helpless and full of fury at life are the things that make us want to hide out or lash out. But, as everything else, this too will slip away.

    This is the quote I'm going to put on my blog today, but I thought I'd give it to you first. It's from one of my favorite writers, Isak Dinesen:

    "The cure for anything is salt: sweat, tears or the sea."

    Feel better, Claire.

  4. So many things at once, and the cat missing on top of everything else. I'm thinking of that frail, strong boat floating in deep seas.

  5. a little squeeze in my chest, all the way over here.
    Wishing you courage to ride those waves.

  6. Beloved Snail, thank you. Remarkably, he has found his way home. A small miracle for which I am most grateful.

    I pop over to your blog often and enjoy spending time there. I hope your knee is feeling much, much better and you haven't encountered any taxing cylists since your recent upsetting and infuriating episode.

    Take care.

  7. lmrb, hello. I have a bit of a 'thing' for Mobius Strips (recently made a set of four out of a piece of sterling silver.) and think you're right... Sage walked a Mobius Strip journey these past three days. He's come home calmer and more talkative (both are possible, yes?) than I've ever known him - as though perhaps he recovered a missing piece whilst out there in that wilderness.

    The washing machine is an excellent metaphor. And you're so right. Pausing IS okay. Thanks for this 'sage' advice ; ). L, C.

  8. Dear Vesper

    Thank you for the beautiful Izak Dinesen quote. I'm going to write it onto my studio wall.

    'Tis true; the healing power of salt is ancient and profound, especially when in a dynamic, liquid form. In order to dislodge 'stuff' in our systems and to help it move through, it's helpful to think as Isak Dinesen. We cannot know light without also encountering darkness. The underworld is an important place; in time, our eyes adjust to the shadows. All is well even when the opposite sometimes feels true?

    More musings from me soon. Thank you ++ for your gentle encouragement that I keep blogging.

    L, C

  9. Thank you, Mim - you have a gift for finding just the right words...

  10. Dear Melinda - thank you for this kind gesture, gratefully received.

    Courage is something we all need from time to time, isn't it... buoyancy, too.

    Warm wishes to you, Claire

  11. Claire, I think there is something truly magical about you. I am thankful to have found you here. I am glad I didn't read about missing Sage until he came home though. Missing cats dogs pets gone missing throw a panic in my heart. My cat = my heart. And all the rest! Imrb said life is like a washing machine. I do love that. Mobius cat! They go where we can't and know things we will never know.

  12. Hi Rebecca - I reckon it must be impossible not to respect a cat, don't you? They're such insistent creatures. So, saying, they can also be incredibly tolerant! As for their secrets... hmm. Perhaps it's best we not ask too many questions! Thanks for your magic comment, Radish King; I see it in you, too, and am glad our paths have crossed.