An Essay or a Letter

“Write hard and clear about what hurts.” – Hemingway

I have nothing to offer. The sun rises and sets behind oatmeal clouds. I think my friends believe that a few hours of sunlight is a laser treatment for the mangled tissue that piles up along the ventricles. It's nice to know they care though. “Be the light” and all that jazz . . . I still wake. I still make my bed by tucking hope into the sides. I still do my best to stay aware of what is.

There are things that I miss though. This collection of joys and depths and aromas of life that make up Jessica has a fingerprint. And though the seasons roll through without regard to whom is observing it all, Jessica's DNA is inescapably mapped out to be affected. The absence of sunlight breaking through is more than just a backdrop for the details of life. Energy in measurable effort is expended trying to make up the difference of missing light. Building fires, keeping lights on all day, forcing movement so that the very nonhuman act of hibernation does not take over entirely . . . all of these things rake through a typical day in order to avoid death. With so much effort and consumption devoted to existence for 6 months out of the year, what does it mean for the sunny months? What does Jessica mean?

In April, do I commune more entirely with existence in a way that erases winter's sentence? Living moment to moment is just as much a dip into true reality as it is a survival tactic; so, the first full glorious day of sunshine in spring should be a location of ascension. By almost every account, it is. Yet, how does one abandon all the pathways that supported life in the darkness? Conversely, how does one handle being a repository for complete expansion day after sun-filled-bird-chirping-flower-erupting day without the old wineskin bursting? Don't give me the adages about how maybe it's okay for the old to pass away or about how it is symbolically good for the skin to break open to allow for growth and new life. It doesn't go down that way. Sure, with eyes closed, chin tipped towards the all encompassing savior burning in the sky, all is well. But after, when inside the house tending to the needs of a communal existence, there is an ache to diffuse in the sunlight again or more or always. Every spring and summer day begins with the work of balancing the desire to be swallowed by the sun and the work of assimilating one's place in the world.

During this yawing, the length of days is noticeable, at first only subconsciously, but like aging memories, dawn and dusk blur away from their longest recollections. Winter is always imminent. There are those sweltering, melty days of summer that should keep frostbite at bay. Yet they do not. Like the shimmering heat mirage in the distance, winter's millstone is visible just ahead of summer months that flee.

Winter hurts. It isn't my first choice to write about the tar that keeps me anchored at the edge of the abyss. But this bleeding and constant wincing exists on the other side of bookstores and cabins in the woods and hey-I'm-alive-aren't-I moments.

But darling, listen: in all of this murkiness, I still know love when I see it and feel it and read it and become it. I am not lost due to that lucidity. Writing what hurts is just a place to start. Let's see what happens next.