Some farewells are cries for help
My sister told me to start a gratitude practice. Several people have suggested this, actually, when I tell them I have been uneven of mood. I find this suggestion condescending. I will show my gratitude when it is provoked!
But let me tell you, I have had trouble with gratitude because of its size and shape. Sure, we know what it means to be grateful. I know that we do not take for granted our lots in life. However, there is a density, or a volume in gratitude that I can not feel. Months pass between phone calls and then I’m grateful when you finally talk to me. That cannot possibly be the practice I am to maintain.
Happy as I am for good tidings, sheer luck, care...I become, also, desperate. I do not think it is a coincidence the news was full of speculation on a submersible implosion this week, or that lightning struck before we convened for A Relentlessness. I wanted to die by lightning. Billy says to me when I realized I said this out loud, “don’t do that.”
Do you know what an osier is? I shared with someone recently that the most significant sound memory of my childhood was the wind breezing through willow trees that lined the block I grew up on. A psithurism—my absolute favorite word. Osiers refer to willow twigs who by use have been defined by their inclination to be braided for baskets. And this is the metaphor I want to share. A braid, as much inclined to be articulated with wind as to hold everything we dare it to.
I have to tell you so much more. There has been so much. I wanted to make sure I started with this.
And the parable of gratitude is a way to tell you at least once that the effect of a musical provocation cannot be overstated. And it is still grief. And it is still farewell.