Monday, June 28, 2010

Life is precarious. Tender. Short

Today we went to a nearby canyon and witnessed the life cycle of frogs. Hundreds of tadpoles, tiny frogs, and those in-between. Some frogs with tails, and some tadpoles with two legs. We walked upstream, BOY & GIRL plunging their hands in the shallows to scoop up any creature they could. Pausing for lunch, we sat on warm rocks, our backs to the sun. The scent of wild sage, so prevalent in Southern California, filling our senses with summer.

It is in nature that I feel most in my skin. There is something about moving my limbs on a hiking trail and taking in the brilliant blue sky. I realign... come into my body again.

It's been a very emotional week, and I needed this respite from a world that seems to be daring me to be stronger at every turn. Spending time with my children, caught up in their moments of discovery and wonder, was healing.

We are so very fragile. All of us. At any moment our lives can change. Often, without warning. Especially challenging to those of us who like to be in control. Or, think we are... But, there is no controlling our destiny, really. Other than the immediacy of what is at hand. And even that ...tenuous at best.

As I watched the frogs still holding on to their tails, I thought of both the burden of that tail -for the added weight, and the comfort of still having something that is familiar. Indeed, how alike we humans are to this stage in a frog's life. Sometimes we can't wait to get away, yet we drag our baggage behind us.

Life is precarious. Tender. Short.

This week my beloved nephew was struck down by a crippling mental illness. A friend is leaving her husband for another man; uprooting her life for new-found love. And today... Today, I had word of a close friend's brother dying in a helicopter crash. A father to two young children. One, a baby of six weeks.

Sometimes the pain in the world seems too much to bear.

It is essential to grieve. Then to let in the love and light that are all around us. Because without each other? We are lost. Life is here. We just have to see it through the ripples...


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9 comments:

smalltownmom said...

See through the ripples...that was profound.

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

It is so staggering when all of those things happen--I don't know about you, but sometimes I feel guilty because they're hitting me so hard when they actually happened to someone else. But I guess that shows we are human and empathetic.

I'm so glad you had the day with your kids--that is so important when we are surrounded by sadness and terrible news.

yogurt said...

I'm sorry for so much bad news. The tenuousness of our life, our loved ones, can feel overwhelming sometimes.

On a happier note, I think you and I could vacation well together. Give me tree shaded trails and streams and tadpoles.

Kate said...

Beautifully and tenderly written; these are truths that are only too easy to ignore until the fragility of life hits us in the face with the reminder that this moment is all we ever have.

Thank you JCK.

Kizz said...

A friend of mine was injured this weekend and she's been staying with me so I can help her. She'll be fine but it's going to take a while and it's frustrating and we don't really know the extent of the injuries yet. This morning was hard, things in the house got broken, we're bored of each other and she hates being slowed down. On the way out to the car service we started to joke, though, and laughed and laughed. Partly about the joke but partly that laugh so you don't cry laughing because this could be our summer, this could be months and we could be doing this every day no matter how bored or frustrated we are.

It felt good to laugh like it must have felt good to hold the tadpoles. The world is not playing nice these days. I'm so sorry.

ruth pennebaker said...

Oh, Jennifer, you write so poignantly of those times when life's too much and too scary to bear. The only good that can come from it is that those times make our lives more precious. Still, I know how hard it is.

painted maypole said...

i am glad you are able to find moments of grace and beauty among the hard things. kids are greawt reminders of this... being present with them.

Wendy Claire Barrie said...

Oh Jen, I miss you, and i's clear we need a good long chat... much love...

Jen said...

I am so sorry that there is so much sadness and bad news surrounding you lately. Like I said, if you need to talk, you know where to find me.

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