The Silent Times
on astonishment and grace
It is strange and beautiful, the making of a life, isn’t it? We live one day at a time, one poem, one magical, anguish-to-joy-filled day and then, hopefully, another one comes.
I’ve been living in longer and longer periods of silence in my 30’s. Sometimes I’m completely overwhelmed by the degenerating state of the world, but I’m always reminded that writing and nature both bring me back to the world and into my being.
In many ways, in that silence, I’ve been asking the question: “Where do I put all this?” because I can’t, I can’t keep it in my body all of the time. If you’ve known me longer than six months, there’s a high probability you’ve seen me cry in public (from laughing, witnessing something beautiful, carrying around a dog who’s probably too big to be held in the first place, or just talking with someone).
There is so much feeling that I’m graced with, and it’s perpetually moving through me. I wake up every morning with a visceral need to discover something real, something hidden, even if those things only reside in me. I’m not searching for some universal truth, only interior ones - that maybe, hopefully, at least one other person will resonate with.
I wasn’t born sick, so I’m not attempting to treat what roughly translates to the common cold for the soul. What I’m concerned with, by getting to the roots of things - is shorting the distance between who I am and who I long to be. That’s not some vague picture or wishful thought - I’m good with who I am and who I’m becoming. I trust my future self more than anything else on the planet because I know they are undoubtedly equipped to succeed.
It is an immense privilege and miracle to be here, today, in this life with you. Rilke wrote: “But because truly being here is so much; because everything here apparently needs us, this fleeting world, which in some strange way keeps calling to us … Just once: no more … But to have been this once, completely, even if only once: to have been at one with the earth, seems beyond undoing.”
That’s the type of present I’m trying to embrace, a here-and-now that is beyond catastrophe.