NORA L. JAMIESON
Not this, Not that
Today I feel heavy, even as everything, the ferns, the weeping cherry trees, the tangy green buds leaf out, all reaching for light after their necessary descent into the darkness of the frozen black earth. I step out my door, the large stone slabs of my walkway warmed by the sun, the pungent scent of the fresh earthy mulch rises to me. Rick spread the mulch a couple days after his dad died of the Covid-19 virus, working off his grief.
So many hearts now still are frozen earth, even as life rises up around us. A teacher once said,
people often die in the winter because spring asks too much of them. Now I know it also asks too much of the grieving. All this light, the nearing sun, the full moon, ask of me memories of days when I was chosen by love, drawn by the quiet ecstacy of the Mystery. Now I stand like the dying Hickory tree along the path that will one day fall to ground and offer itself to the earth, to the fire. But right now life blooms all around me, this one who grieves, who has seen many springs, who fell in love in spring and stayed for a lifetime. If only I could reach an imagined equanimity in my loss.
It is the third spring since you died. These last three also bring memories of treatments, pain, held breath and nightmares of such deep loss and lostness I cried out your name in the night. You were still her to comfort me. Yesterday Dorothy and I went to your grave and laid velvety red rose petals on the stone, on the grassless, still grassless, length of your body. I hung a spring wreath on the shepherd’s crook, and wept.
The mysteries of the delicate layers and faces of grieving reveal themselves still. Beyond understanding, beyond analysis, as beyond as emergent life, the marvel of birth. And now the isolation not only of grieving, but of “sheltering in place” as they so quaintly put it. I feel like one lone orchid in the hot house of longing, of desire for one glimpse of you, your touch.
Like Miribai, I lament the severing of the lover and the beloved. Something inside me unfolds, or folds in on itself, some cell division of grief, perhaps growing a new heart. I hope it is a heart that can nourish the pain and peace. I don’t know, I am not privy to Her mysteries. Nor am I victim. Who am you? Miribai asks. Who am I now? Neti neti she replies, not this, not that to whatever I can come up with in answer to the question.
I know the wise ones say I, we, are Love, rainbow light and unfabricated space and compassion at our core, there is no separation and never has been. I bow down to this truth I know in my heart. Nothing is gone, you are not gone, there is no death, there is no separate me. The flesh and the Spirit in union.
But I am a woman of flesh, a woman of beauty who longs for touch, your touch, the flower at the center of my being longs for your caress like the flowers long for the pollen bearing wind. Touch me alive again, open me out to life, fertilize the soil of my being. See me. My Beloved. The Beloved. Enter this vessel, I want to want to live. I want to hold it all, death/life, the peeling layers of the dying tree revealing its heart wood, the pain of love, the treasure of it, the beauty of the Mystery. May I accept everything, everything. This too, yes this too. And now, this.