Every Wednesday

Every Wednesday, I will post something about grief. Sometimes it will be a reflection on an aspect of grief’s landscape. Now and then I will share from my own journey of grief, because in the sharing of our stories we find strength and build a community of people that support one another. To follow, please leave your email address.

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Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Ashes


Journal entry 31

The cones of the Giant Sequoia won’t open until the trauma of a forest fire sweeps through, burning away the underlying bushes and small trees. The seeds fall into the blackened earth, germinate, and grow from the ashes. 
Out of the destruction of the old, new life rises.

Ashes are everywhere this month. On the desk in front of me are Evelyn’s cremated ashes, waiting for me to take root. This is what I hold in my hands, ashes, the residue of sorrow, the setting down and stepping away from a love I held dear. I lay down my past that has frayed, tired of the struggles, tired of trying to make sense of the tragedy, tired of the dying and despair. 

I gather with others in the evening to say that I can’t do it alone. I take the broken dreams from last year, set them in a bowl, and burn them with fire. I am letting go of what has been and placing my hope in ashes.


Before dawn, the whooing of an owl comes through the dark forest. A band of light brightens on the horizon, moves over the land, and warms the aromatic pine duff on the forest floor. I head off like Basho, the seventeenth-century Buddhist poet, hiking the trails above the ocean in the mountains of southern Japan, following the light on an adventure with nature to see what the day will reveal, believing that one day I will find joy. 

  

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