I’m trying to distill the year into a single page, for my annual Christmas letter. Trying to extract the essential. Going through old posts, reliving the myriad living details, weighing again the losses (childhood house, accustomed place of work, old family friend, time for writing and cooking and being me).
Listening to the Emerson that I have taped outside my cube (despite the edict to keep everything inside)—
“Let us be poised, and wise, and our own, today”—
and learning that I am enduringly myself, despite it all, inside it all. Like the pink grass that we found on the big island of Hawai’i always growing back first on the lava, or like the waves of busy thought and unrestful emotion that our mindfulness teacher says let break overhead, while we imagine ourselves sitting calmly in the deep, still, underneath waters of the ocean (being the deep waters, the clear, sunstruck waters I picture with that splash of yellow fish), I find the cracks in misery and poke my nose out, curious and stubbornly determined, hopeful beyond hope, and irrepressible.
“a wind has blown the rain away & the sky away & all the leaves away, & the trees stand.”e.e. cummings
Yes, the trees stand—stand still.
Distilling: making stiller than still. Poised at the brink, still.