killing weeds.

May 31, 2012

one day last week i got up when the sun showed herself so i could drive to the littlest of starbucks and look across a little table in to the eyes of my lovelier than lovely friend ruthie as we drank big coffee in big cups and threw words across the table in a sort of speed verbal {and ever tangential} ping pong match.

this is what we do, ruth and i. we live our lives and have our adventures and feel the bigness of living with our hearts as open as possible and then we carve out a little time at the crack of dawn over steaming cups of coffee in a coffee bar and throw as much talking and listening as we can in to that condensed hour or two of sharing stories. i’ll look at my phone to see the time and if there is anything more than a half hour left we scream for joy that we don’t have to part company yet.

last week’s date was a bit different though, and both of us got weepy and overheated in moments. this was the coffee date that happened to be The Last Coffee Date before ruthie and her matty turn off the path they’ve been on since returning from france two years ago to move down a different path far from this humble town we call home. and though my heart beats with happiness for them, i also feel the big hollow space in my chest that means someone has hurt me or someone is leaving. and dammit if i haven’t lost enough people from my heart and my vicinity to know that when someone leaves your world for another, your world is different, be it infinitesimally or in sweeping big strokes of change.

there are people who accompany me through my days even though they may not physically be with me, and it’s like an asterisk right beside their name that says, this is one of the ones that can wrap me in love from a million miles away. loreen is my biggest asterisk, but there, too, are junebug, and signe, stephen, marylou and rene, shar, and my javier. these are the friends that, no matter how much time passes, pick up right where things were left, be it a year or a decade since we have looked in to each other’s eyes. and now, with ruth’s departure, i will learn again to be loved by her from afar. and she me.

today, in my car, in pink early morning light, i sat at a stoplight and watched an old man with very gentlemanly clothing and a sweep of white hair meticulously moving down the sidewalk in front of his house with a spray bottle. he was very intent on the job he was doing, though i didn’t yet have any idea what it was. as i drove by i saw him leaning down, spraying the tiniest sprigs of green – weeds sprouting through the cracks of the step-worn pavement.

what was he doing out there, before the world was wholly awake, fighting the weeds? it was so early for this tiny demonstration of our need to create order from chaos, impose control on abandon, twist clutch from surrender. such decisions – the ones that are about letting something be or making something be, are ones i’ve watched myself weigh and make for many years. my impulse to impose a sense of rightness upon a perpetually changing landscape has softened as i’ve gotten older and learned to allow for sitting in something without needing to shift it, but it is there nonetheless. and when i dig down deep to figure out the why of such an impulse, i arrive at the same place again and again: safety. reining in the wild growth of the world around me makes me feel safe. and safe is such an easy place to be.

some evenings ago i spent time with a new friend whom i find direct, quirky and nicely familiar but not too familiar. he is funny and has the hands of someone who should build things. we shared a sweet evening; there was simple, delicious food, and wine, and miles davis, and the spring air coming in through open windows. there was a cardigan and some candlelight and a few very un-funny jokes which, if memory serves me, must have been mine. we moved from kitchen to dining room to living room easily, voices became soft and the distance of politeness and unknowing closed. and in the ease of it all, and the warmth, and the quietude of a sunday night, i let go and got lost. i trusted in the moment. i felt safe.

when the atmosphere shifted from whispers to a sudden exchange of goodnights, i moved from being lost in the moment to simply, lost. my sense of safety fell away from me like rainwater rushing an umbrella, and in that moment i lost my footing, too. that hollow space, the one that sits in my chest when i am injured, felt grand canyon wide, and my grace was there, at the bottom of that valley, though i implored her to stay intact, and stick with me. she may have been standing on her head, so incongruous was the moment, and i couldn’t find her. that it was the tiniest of moments, and a small and necessary movement toward practicality, and nothing to be swept into sadness by, was not lost on me, and yet i felt the air leave my body. and since the unanticipated resonance of that shift, i’ve been trying to figure out why.

here’s what i got. i am surrounded – gorgeously surrounded – in my daily life by friends whom i have known now for a good long time. and though our lives are different and full and all of us in our own ways are pulled in a dozen directions each day, we adore each other. deeply. satisfyingly. lovingly. exasperatedly. sometimes frustratingly. it is real and steeped in time and history and we are all just so damn spoiled by so much love.

and here’s the kicker: it is a visceral envelopment, one based in decision, not just by me but by all of these people sharing my life as i share theirs. it explains my heartache that ruthie will be far away and i will not be able to see my most loving and present friend. for we have both chosen to be here. deeply. satisfyingly. lovingly. exasperatedly. sometimes frustratingly – i know. i beat these adverbs to death in a prior paragraph – and now that choice will change shape as ruth’s life changes shape.

my decision to be here for her, physically, is taken out of my hands, and i feel powerless. the quell to my heartache is knowing i am not losing her friendship, and she is not losing mine; i just won’t have access the way i have these two years. with me are a handful of other close friends who are similarly letting go. and so we commiserate, and get strong, and figure out what this new relationship will look and feel like. thats the tonic, the one that heals and soothes: we all get to participate in How Things Will Be in this next chapter. and participating helps, it restores a bit of purpose, and yes, power, as fleeting and transitory and ultimately non-existant as it is.

which pulls me paragraphs back to my foot-dragging shift from an intimate space to a practical one. practicality is a huge part of my life – it has to be – and oh, the dreariness of practical decisions at times. with a business and a daughter and a household and a slew of animals and with family both immediate and extended, practicality rules the days. and yes, it is safe – it quantifies and qualifies all that we do from the little to the big and the medium in-betweens. it has its place, certainly for me it does, and though it may rule my bigger moments, i have learned to fight tooth and nail to keep it from ruling the little moments as well.

for the little moments are where we take refuge, and go in, and listen to our breath, and hear our own heart beating. it is where light gets filtered through afternoon curtains, and rings from glasses that shouldn’t be there fuse with the coffee table, and collarbones shimmer and elbows knock in to the hard spaces and the not so hard spaces. music moves up and down the spine effortlessly. food tastes better here in the small moments, giggles stretch out languidly, as do legs and arms. breath starts, and catches, and holds itself. eyes close, scents warm and swirl, and conversation moves to a very different kind of tempo. dust bunnies gather in corners, dishes pile up in the sink, and the work load on the table may just be there an extra day or two. call it stardust, or moondust, or allowing for something organic or spontaneous, because it is tender and important and should be so utterly valued for its small moment-ness that sits outside the realm of the day-to-day business of living life.

or maybe it’s just about allowing for color, like the young hues of delicate tendrils and tiny leaves, pushing their way up through cracks in the sidewalk. for what may be a weed for some – interrupting the squares and right angles we impose upon nature (which has her own very deep and rhythmic sensibilities) – may for others be a wash of sweet and tender green, imbuing an otherwise safe and practical landscape with a glowing cluster of beautiful little moments.


5 Responses to “killing weeds.”

  1. Nicoletta Says:

    that was lovely.

  2. lisa d. Says:

    lovely kl. i miss you and miss talking to you. ruthie, best of luck on your next chapter.

  3. Sharlene Says:

    Kerri Lynne
    Beautiful….as always…thanks for the mention, Smoochie. See you soon…Shar Shar

  4. June Holmberg Says:

    Thank you for your beautiful words! They ‘wrap me in love from a million miles away.’ I’m sending my love to drape over your shoulders. Love to Ruth on her new journey too. – June

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