Sometimes I feel alone in the world. Like lately. To borrow Joni Mitchell’s words: “It’s coming on Christmas, they’re cutting down trees, they’re putting up reindeer and singing songs of joy and peace — I wish I had a river I could skate away on.” I just went to the post office and, while standing in line and then being waited on by the postal man, I began to cry. Nothing too obvious. I kept my head down. Call it lonely. Call it scared. Call it whatever you want.
I notice that I live in a place in a time in which people don’t cry and just let their hearts be seen by their fellow people. It’s weak… it’s too much… it’s a burden… those are some of the things I’ve sometimes thought about people who cry, who show their insides on their outside. Those are some of the things I imagine, then, that “you all” are thinking or would think if you saw me crying in line at the post office. Or crossing the street. Or sitting here in my chair. In a world where people hold such beliefs, it follows, then, that out of consideration and kindness (believing it to be less-than-good to be seen crying), we pretend not to see when someone is crying right there in front of us, or doing their best to hold it together in spite of the fact that their face looks like the ravages of a hurricane.
One of the subtle gifts of having your heart broken wide open and not being able to hold it in while standing in the Davis Square post office line, is that you see the world differently and senses that otherwise lie pretty dormant come out to play. I think of my rain-filled childhood winters in Southern Chile: rain, day after day after day… what’s a child to do? Enter rubber boots! Hello puddles! Since there’s not so much at stake in times when much seems lost in the throes of grief, the world becomes really really basic, boiled down, somehow, to its essence: the colors more stark, the dreams more vivid, the sounds fuller, the senses heightened.
I like this quote by Gregory colbert (Ashes and Snow): “Ever since my house burned down I see the moon more clearly.” If you, like me, are wishing for a river to skate away on, you might enjoy Gregory Colbert’s exhibit. And if you see me in line crying, it’s OK to notice and say hi. Want to go play in the puddles?