Sunday, 17 August 2014

"We are shining...and we will never be afraid again."

I last wrote here in February. Half a sun ago. Six whole moons. It is August now. I look back along the length of those months, and they warp and shift, the way a heat haze makes the desert air shimmer. A trick of the light. A dissolution. A rippling apart, a coming-back-together.

It wasn't a conscious departure. Only that the words left, for a time, the way words sometimes do. I know that they always return, like the geese after Winter, glide in on wings whiter than they were before, making their noises, ruffling their feathers - I know this, I have lived through these wordless seasons many times, and am used, now, to weathering them. I go to ground, like the bears do, like the hedgehogs in their bristled sleep. I wait it out. I wait for the days to stretch and the light to lengthen. I wait for the turning.

In July, I wrote in my diary: The words have settled in my bones like sediment. They will not rise the way they used to, like birds, like bees, like the fizz in a glass of champagne. It's an inconvenience, their absence, because there is much to write about. So much change. I feel like the spark struck from a bit of flint. The woman pulled from a rib...

I drank a lot of coffee. I read a lot of books. Sometimes, there was sun, and I did those things in the garden. Sometimes there were whole weekends in pyjamas. I ran baths so hot that I couldn't see for the steam, and lay smouldering in the water like a blind queen. I bought myself roses.  I went on a date with a beautiful boy, and I felt that lovely flip again, for the first time since the last time. And still the words were quiet. It wasn't always comfortable, but I gave them their room. I didn't root. I didn't ruffle. I didn't try to engineer their return. It made me itch, sometimes, the waiting - the way a broken bone itches as it strengthens itself under plaster and re-knits - but it was a lesson in patience. A lesson in trust.

This last year has been the toughest and loveliest and richest and hardest and most rewarding of my life so far. "Experience", says CS Lewis, "is a brutal teacher. But you learn; my God, do you learn." And oh, I am learning. I am learning and learning and learning. I have learned more, I think, in the last year of my life, than in all of the other thirty-two combined. I fell in love, and learned how to be vulnerable. I fell out of love, and had to re-learn being alone. I felt so crushed at that time, the heaviness of heartbreak weighing down on me like the weight of the whole sky, so that I thought I would never get out from beneath it. But I wasn't crushed, in the end; I was only changed.  

(Remember this for the future. For times of uncertainty. Difficulty. Change. Times when the words won't come, or your heart is broken, or the weight of the world itself is on your shoulders. Remember this. That diamonds are formed under just that kind of pressure. That leaves, under that weight, can alter stone).