I am aware of my written silence these last few weeks, but it’s not from lack of material. The small things have still offered their treasures: a new bracket fungus on the latest dog walk, the red flaming tree across from the platform this morning, the warmth of the train car itself on this frosty morning, the wonderful milder weather of the weekend, which allowed us to sow the rye seed, and hope for the short green growth that will remain through the snow, and then finish off next spring.
No, rather, it’s hard to write about small things when a large thing has happened: the unexpected death of a friend. Something so “big” makes small things vanish in significance. We ask, does it really matter to catch a breathtaking view of the sea from the top of the hill, or to read something wonderful in the book on the nightstand? No; we fall silent, or we should, at the fullness of life, the tearing of that fabric, and the power and miracle of our next breath.
There was travel to and from the memorial service, and pondering, wrestling, mourning, believing, the testing of faith, believing again, and now the semblance of return to daily duties. Friends carry marks on their hearts for others’ joy and grief. As I write, another friend’s son will have surgery today. Another friend grieves a family loss of a month ago. Commuters on this morning’s ride know nothing about these things, but how easily, how probably, many carry similar loads of their own.
The tragic side of “large” can sideline the “small,” rearrange our joy and pierce our hope. I look into this large loss, and see nothing small at all. And when I look at my small, I am tempted to see nothing large at all. Perhaps the blog, like life, will be divided for a while.
I end this looking up and out the train window; a mute swan floats by.