washed clean

This week feels as though the world has been holding its breath. Yesterday, news of a kayaker found in a logjam, captured by the river and held in a fierce caress, waiting to be brought home. It is a pogniant reminder of that other life which he has slowly pulled me away from; the life I long for some days. The life I am glad only appears in brief flashes of my silent defiance. A rare trip to the river, a full backpack, a slightly worn climbing draw. An echo of my own shaky voice, “I’m fine.” or “I’ll go alone.” Memories of friends at the ends of climbing ropes and the crest of waves who are now gone, forever summitting, climbing, descending. When we hear news of missteps like these, he always gets a look of concern mixed with gratitude. He’s grateful it wasn’t me. And to be honest, in my own selfishness, so am I.

I have been reminded this week of my own mortality and my own limitations. My body becoming softer and less sinewy, I am more designed to bend and shift these days than in the past. Instead of fortitude and strength, I seem to be possessed of elasticity. I hate the aches that form in my shoulders after a day of working with hammer and saw, or shovel, or hiking boots. I hate the funny little ridge that has formed along my hips and below my abdominal muscles. I hate that there is give to my body, in places nearly a half inch before the smooth hardness of muscle. A friend of mine snickered that my expectations of what I should be able to accomplish at my current age are abnormally high, and that is why I have been feeling let down.

I expect quite simply that I can accomplish most things. Physically, I expect my body to be tireless and strong. Mentally, I expect to be able to solve most problems fairly easily, even if I am perhaps lacking in the requisite skills or experience. Today, I discovered once again that I had overcomplicated yet another home remodeling problem, costing myself more money than I had planned, and costing more time than either my friend or I had allotted for. I am already two days behind where I want to be. I must return to work soon, and dear god, my body hurts.

All of these things encompassed my thoughts when the sky began to slowly tear open, and rain began falling softly on the back patio, the rosebeds, the fruit trees. The rhythm a soft melodic tapping, a quiet demand. As if the world was saying to me, “Enough! This is enough for today. Go inside, open the windows, and breathe. We will begin again tomorrow.” It was as if the world, who was holding her breath, let go. Every unspoken thing which has filled the air the last few days falls quietly to the ground, as though cleared away from our paths. And with that, we all take a deep breath, quietly lift ourselves from the logs, and go home.

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