At 2:30 pm today, a huge part of my life is ending. And all day (all week, all month) I’ve been struck by every fucking cliché that people use to comfort or sustain themselves through such moments. They just sneak up on me, wash through me. They’re as insistent and melodramatic and pointless as a cyclone. The way this ending contains a beginning. The way letting go has been hard, but necessary. How new growth follows destruction, just as some trees burst alive with epicormic growth after a bushfire. How this last in a series of changes has required courage, and been the source of so much pain. How much I’ve learned, and changed, and grown because of what happened. How these experiences have made me who I am today. All that tired, empty, hollow BS.
I’ve been reading poetry and lying on the back lawn and looking at these enormous blue Toowoomba skies and remembering all the beauty, and all the pain, and letting it go. Letting it all go.
I’ve been reciting Bishop’s ‘One Art’ with its insistent, heartbreaking refrains.
I’ve been remembering Fleetwood Mac, how we played it on repeat that last awful summer while I worked on the puzzle we never finished. How for years afterwards I couldn’t listen to that one song of Stevie’s, or see an image of Bruegel’s “Tower of Babel”, without being flooded with emotions I couldn’t even name. But which were partly rage and sadness. Helplessness and fear. Mixed up with images of you, kissing her. And memories of the last time I saw the she-oaks I had planted outside my studio: a surrounding forest of my favourite trees that I never saw grow beyond waist-high, though you once sent me a photograph of their yellow blooms. Of the last time I smelt the citrus tang of sunset in that forest, and laid a fire, and lit the candles, and poured the wine.
This ending will come, for me, not with a bang, but with a whimper. Lawyers in a distant room will seal papers and send messages. There’ll be a phone call. I’ll be standing at the precipice looking out over the range when I take that call. I’ll be listening to Stevie Nicks, to ‘Landslide’, because how could I not, in this moment, be listening to that sad, honest song. I’ll be trying to be grateful for everything we had, and hoped for, and lost. For all those years. For you. For what we shared. For the time I spent in that place, the things that grew there, and those that died, and for those I am still hoping will be resurrected. For love given, taken, held. Love treasured and love lost. And for the beautiful future that I know is rising over all of our horizons.