I sit here, tender with tears.
There is a type of bird one sees at the beach. Mrs. Terwilliger, the teacher who inspired me to become a nature guide used to say about a flock of these little birds: “Now you see them. Now you don’t”, and it was true. Now you see them and now you don’t. It’s like with the golden swing of Aspen leaves in the fall. Now you see them and now you don’t.
So it is with grief. Yesterday morning I woke with my heart area, front, back, and all the way through in such pain I thought I might be having a heart attack. This morning I feel my heart pinned to the bed. I don’t want to rise ever again, and yet I do.
And yet, I’m not always in pain. Sometimes I’m light. My son Jeff came immediately upon receiving the news of my brother’s passing, and spent the night and we rose early to go to Pierce Point in Point Reyes where I go when someone I love dies.
I went there every week for six months after my mother passed. I walked out on a piece of land that separates Tomales Bay from the ocean. One can view both at the same time, bay and ocean. One stands between. Jeff and I walked two miles out along the land, then, sat, and after a time, walked back.
My mother, after she passed, came to me as a Cardinal. It was February in CT. and a cardinal sat outside the glass door looking in, beckoning out. Then, when I returned home, I was drawn to Pierce Point where I felt her holding a portal open for me so that I could see that what I perceived as a three-dimensional world was in other scenarios a matte painting and flat. I could open to more.
Yesterday, as I sat there, leaning against a rock, looking out at the ocean, a Great Blue Heron flew right by. There’s nothing like seeing a Great Blue Heron, especially in flight, especially right before one’s eyes. We got in the car, and were driving along, when another, or the same one, came and paralleled our car. There is a landscape where all is one heart.
I’ve known this place before, this place where grief rises and falls, becomes heavy and light, wings stroking and lifted, this place where the heart uses the weight of grief, uses it like air, to rise and fall, and live.