Is it possible to love so desperately that life is unbearable? I don't mean unrequited, I mean being in the love. In the midst of it and desperate. Because knowing it will end, because everything does. End.
There might not be a measure of happiness left in a life, but there could be beauty and grace and endless love.
When we are most scared is the time to summon our clearest concentration and move forward, not back.
There is a pain you can’t think your way out of. You can’t talk it away. If there was someone to talk to. You can walk. One foot the other foot. Breathe in breathe out. Drink from the stream. Piss. Eat the venison strips. And. You can’t metabolize the loss. It is in the cells of your face, your chest, behind the eyes, in the twists of the gut. Muscles, sinew, bone. It is all of you. When you walk you propel it forward. When you let the sled and sit on a fallen log and. You imagine him curling in the one patch of sun maybe lying over your feet. Then it sits with you, the Pain puts its arm over your shoulders. It is your closest friend. Steadfast. And at night you can’t bear to hear your own breath unaccompanied by another and underneath the big stillness like a score is the roaring of the cataract of everything being and being torn away. Then. The Pain is lying beside your side, close. Does not bother you with sound even of breathing.
Pursuing fun is exhausting. Having fun is just fun. Much more relaxing just to do your work, don't you think? I mean if you enjoy it.
We love surfers for the same reasons we have always admired doctors and pilots and firemen and shamans, for the same reasons we admire excellent soldiers: because despite themselves they have bowed to a force much greater than themselves, which in this case is the wave, and submitted to the gnarly rigors of its discipline. They have allowed themselves to be shaped and polished by the sea. They have given themselves up to this greater force, day after day, year after year. Crushed and punished, battered into something tempered and resilient, and sharpened to an edge by constant refinement. They are warriors in the best sense: by bending to the often brutal demands of surfing they have transformed themselves into beings who can respond to great violence with grace and humility. And beauty.
That is what we are, what we do: nose a net, push push, a net that never exists. The knots in the mesh as strong as our own believing. Our own fears.
Grief is an element. It has its own cycle like the carbon cycle, the nitrogen. It never diminishes not ever. It passes in and out of everything.
She collapsed. I stepped forward and caught her. I thought of two trees nearly unrooted and leaning against each other.
Did you ever read the Bible? I mean sit down and read it like it was a book? Check out Lamentations. That's where we're at, pretty much. Pretty much lamenting. Pretty much pouring our hearts out like water.
How you refill. Lying there. Something like happiness, just like water, pure and clear pouring in. So good you don’t even welcome it, it runs through you in a bright stream, as if it has been there all along.
So I wonder what it is this need to tell.To animate somehow the deathly stillness of the profoundest beauty. Breathe life in the telling.
When her mouth found mine I disassembled. Not exploded like a bomb or anything, but came apart. A few pieces at a time. They floated away, went into a kind of orbit. A splintering galaxy. An extravagant slow motion annihilation. The only center was her mouth, her hair. It was her. A reconstitution around the core of her.
Life and death lived inside each other. That's what occured to me. Death was inside all of us, waiting for warmer nights, a compromised system, a beetle, as in the now dying black timber on the mountains.
Still, some nights I grieved. I grieved as much at what I knew must be the fleeting nature of my present happiness as any loss, any past. We lived on some edge, if we ever lived on a rolling plain. Who knew what attack, what illness. That doubleness again. Like flying: the stillness and speed, serenity and danger.
Maybe freedom really is nothing left to lose. You had it once in childhood, when it was okay to climb a tree, to paint a crazy picture and wipe out on your bike, to get hurt. The spirit of risk gradually takes its leave. It follows the wild cries of joy and pain down the wind, through the hedgerow, growing ever fainter. What was that sound? A dog barking far off? That was our life calling to us, the one that was vigorous and undefended and curious.
The reason people are so moved by art and why artists tend to take it all so seriously is that if they are real and true they come to the painting with everything they know and feel and live, and all the things they don't know, and some of the things they hope, and they are honest about them all and put them on the canvas. What can be more serious?
Missing what most of the time? The babbling faceless agora, the fame, the parties, the pop of flash bulbs? The lovers, the gaiety, the champagne? The solitude carved out of celebrity, poring over charts by a single lamp on a wide desk in a venerable hotel? Room service, coffee before dawn? The company of one friend, two? The choice: All of it or not? Some or none? Now, not now, maybe later?
Happiness was not a word that seemed to apply anymore, when she had lost so many close to her. There was a contentment that felt deeper, that acknowledged and accepted the quieter offerings of small joys-- of love and occasional peace in a life that was full of pain.
He's a cocky SOB. He knew the Nick Adams Stories. Probably a frustrated English major who graduated from college qualified to drive a cab.
Rock rock. Back and forth. Lull. Push. Release. Swing back. The stars, the leaves, even the sound of the creek throbbing back and forth. Of a boat. Of a hammock. Of a child's swing. Of a womb. Back and forth. Rock rock. Smell of cold current, of stone, manure, blossom. Sleep.
Surfing is a life path. You have to really commit... You have to let go and have faith that it's gonna work out when you take off.