I am fumbling with my own words and they aren’t making it out of my journal just yet. However, though I have loved David Whyte for a while now, I had not read this poem until today.
I have nothing new to say about what happened at Sandy Hook Elementary School. I have no insights or answers or witty or wise words. My daughter, in her ten-year old wisdom said, “I feel bad for all of the kids who didn’t die too because they saw what happened.” Ugh. While their parents are feeling so blessed and lucky that their children are alive some of those kids have been traumatized and will have survivor guilt which is inexplicable at six years of age. I don’t even know how to broach the subject of why. There is no “good” answer to why someone shoots their mother and goes to an elementary school in a bullet proof vest with weapons to massacre teachers, staff and children. here’s no way to make that sense and it shouldn’t make any sense. Not really.
I realize we need to focus on mental health issues as well as gun control when making the “meaningful change” Obama spoke about because both are necessary parts of this discussion. O.k., I guess I had a few things to say…..
However, besides hugging my daughter extra tight and realizing that is a gift I get which is not ever guaranteed, the tragedy gives me the gift of perspective and a wanting to cling tight to living an authentic life and appreciating everything I already have. We just don’t know how long we have. I want all of my experiences to be as meaningful as possible no matter what.
Today, the end of a love affair does not carry the same weight or heaviness because it is a normal part of being alive and I am so happy and lucky to be here.
The Life Cycle of an Apple
I will not soil or spoil or let rot all the apples skinned and peeled in my memory which once had cores which I held in my hands. Their aroma filled dusty, musty and neglected air turning it fruity, sweet and full of possibility.
I will never forget the variations. Apples, green, on grilled bread with fontina cheese – new and fresh and tart. Apples mashing, in a pan, the steady softening I tended with a metal utensil and heat. Or caramel drizzled on a crumb-topped apple pie. How can I forget the taste of unexpected pleasure on my tongue and the satisfaction of turning on almost bad batch of apples into cinnamon-covered sustenance?
The skin of flesh touches too. How it warmed and baked my human core. My oven heated for recipes I had not known before. It does not matter that all of the ingredients didn’t mix and sometimes the temperature was wrong. The desire to cook from scratch was born. I now know the endless hope of curiosity and devotion which will forever fortify. This knowing is strong even now.
Even when the worm emerges from under the skin, when all I see are bruises and soft spots leaving scars and turning the center brown. Even when biting down only fills me with the taste of bitterness which I can’t yet spit out. This sensation is temporary. My palette has not yet cleansed with the chill of raspberry sorbet or time.
My soul carries all that was harvested before the Fall, before the first frost announced an end to that growing season. There are no more apples left to pick from that one orchard. Still, the seeds I swallowed are digested and savored.
Love always changes us for the better in time.