Please, don’t stop…

Stories seduce, and I, I fall freely into their embrace. To revel and despair as they bid me, to endure and delight at their mercy. And while they surge on a hidden course too compelling not to explore, there is no obstacle insurmountable. No danger or evil too perilous to face. No broken heart beyond repair. Is it any wonder I go willingly? Or that I tremble as I do?

As lives unfold and faces grow familiar, each dutifully brings voice to all that is good and bad within the world. Mine as well as theirs. Stories told within stories birth the desperate wish for glory and redemption, for restoration to safety and happiness, and I remain their breathless captive. Rage, love and anguish felt on their behalf make me persevere. Page after page, until they are triumphant. Vindication! It was right to believe. Right to hold out hope. With them I am freed. All is right once more, and better than it ever was before. Predictable, and yet… infinitely more complex and surprising than promised at first.

Somehow, mingled with this beautifully sweet exultance, there is a deep resentful sorrow, acrid with the pang of parting. It is, after all, their lives I have lived. Their tears I have shed. Their blood I have spilled, and I do not wish to leave them now that finally they are home. But stories hold no care for what becomes of their audience after the final words are wrought. We do not belong there and are not intended to linger, but rather to move on to the next and be spellbound anew. Such is the nature of stories, and perhaps for most this is enough. More than enough. But for me it is a reluctant extraction back to a reality that seems lackluster in comparison. I do not want other stories. I want more of this one. Please?

Nevertheless, beloved voices must needs eventually fade into an unwritten everafter into which I cannot follow. They remain, together, living perpetually in the grace of their final glory, while I, a mere mortal from a far more ephemeral world, must part. After everything we have been through together, there is no more. And the loss is mine, and mine alone.That is perhaps the hardest part, that sudden sense of loneliness while memories and emotions linger still. Like dying embers of a once life-giving fire, still kindling enough warmth to whispering alluringly to me. That impending void is a chasm of grief that rivals any peril lived with the story itself. Worse, its only ending is Time’s slow numbing of memory and the awkward awareness that it will happen whether I wish it or not.

Still, relentlessly, I covet the seduction nonetheless. There is, I think, a madness, as well as a blessing, shrouded within the gift of imagination. After all, how else can one defend in sound mind the pursuit of an inevitable and heartbreaking end? 

Please, don’t stop…

Sweet silence

I like the silence. I like how it’s suddenly just there adding space. Between events. Between people.

Breathing space.

Sometimes life feels like a dodge ‘em ride to me, completely void of plan and purpose save for bumping heads and tails anywhere with anyone. Sometimes in jest, and sometimes by accident or in fierce competition or territorial disputes. Kind of takes the fun out of it that way… but it keeps us alive. Keeps us rolling along. Moving. Just because.

Silence stops all that. Makes us stop.

Suddenly there’s all this room and we’re all alone within its confines. What do you do with it? How do you fill it? The thought that maybe it doesn’t necessarily need to be filled doesn’t hit till later on…

Silence makes time slow down. It makes the world seem strange. Closer than usual. And for once there’s time to look at it. Time to be part of it, not just live in it. Time to do something – again or for the first time. Time to go somewhere once familiar and cherished. Time to go nowhere at all without it feeling like a waste. No guilt. Just space.

Space for oneself.

And space for others…

… that’s why I like the silence…

It makes more room.

Sweet silence

Weekly Photo Challenge: Abundance

Half finished dinner plateThere is no happiness in sheer abundance, nor any fulfilment in having everything. Those things lie exclusively in having enough.

A few years ago I found myself saying an involuntary goodbye to someone I’d rather kept a friend. It was one of those things that kind of just happened. We’d grown apart, and rather than a halfhearted rescue attempt that would only cheapen and further dilute what we had shared, it was better to sever the ties honourably.

“I wish you enough”, were her words to me.

At first it stung me as an odd and unkind thing to say. Why not wish me “all the best” or wish me “well in all things” as people normally would. I wanted grand wishes. Big words. I wanted “all the best”. Instead, I got “enough”? She wished me “enough”????

Angry and hurt … and probably lost too in many ways … I browsed through old letters she’d sent me during the course of our friendship, looking for some of the warmth and love that had been between us. Subconsciously searching for a reason to justify my hurt feelings. Until I found one quoting a poem I know she loves:

I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright.
I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun more.
I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive.
I wish you enough pain so that the smallest joys in life appear much bigger.
I wish you enough gain to satisfy your wanting.
I wish you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess.
I wish you enough “Hello’s” to get you through the final “Goodbye.”

– written by Bob Perks

After that, it was hard not to see the grace in her words. It was harder still to remember that we were no longer friends.I realised then that given the choice between “abundance” and “enough”… I’d choose the latter any day.

The photo of a half-finished dinner is taken at a family dinner in my parents garden a few years ago. I remember how ripe and lush the garden was with blooming flowers bathed in the rich golden light of the setting sun and birds singing all around while we chatted and ate… and somehow I just felt compelled to capture it in some way.

The plate in the picture is my grandmother’s… she is the heart and soul of my family and the only person whom I have ever known to truly have an abundance of unconditional love, time, attention and support to give to others.

I guess there are more associations at play here that may make the connection between the photo, the story and the theme of the week somewhat oblique.

Sorry about that 😉

Weekly Photo Challenge: Abundance