Walking my guitar across the campus lawn, after having howled for hours to nobody in the echoing chapel, I enjoyed the long view of the drop into the valley, full of joy and strength and dreams. I had no reason to think that anything would suppress them.
My happy youth allowed me to enjoy drama, even the morose (especially and deliciously the morose!). I filled up books about things I didn’t understand, and people who did understand, who had experienced heartbreak and even horror (amazingly) found solace. It actually occurred to me during that time that I would write less when I had aged more. That my Way was not walked and my Truth was not trusted and my Life was not threatened.
The losses I inevitably encountered became a gag. The same way that a drowning man might keep from expressing his predicament, in isolation and panic and fear that the water will come rushing down his throat, I kept quiet, distracted, and busy flailing my creative limbs. It hurts to grieve. And it takes courage to be still enough to think and feel.
Yet when I pick up the pen (well, that’s what we used to do), I find that expression is ready to console, if not to save, and to be a friend in the middle of the drowning. I imagine that the Who who listens is more ready to hear than I am to speak.
One of my friends wrote that we perceive grief as a beast, but that when we submit to it, we find its claws all velvet and quick to embrace us. Well, it was something to that affect. I find that to be the case…