Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Chosen Fragility


It was dusk. That magic that happens when the air seems to shimmer and glow as if Mother Nature were letting out her breath. The day's heat slowly bleeds away; the trees becoming silhouettes, black statues against a tangerine sky. Somewhere in the distance I could hear dogs barking and the laughter of children.  Summer alchemy. That perfect blend of elements that seduces the eve to visit for a time.

Our front porch roof is rimmed with white fairy globes.  Their gentle drape illuminates the hanging ivy and hummingbird feeder.  Beneath are my potted herbs, rosemary and thyme and mint.  A six foot tall avocado tree fills the corner next to the table I mosaiced last summer with blue and green glass, painstakingly broken by hand on a tattered kitchen towel while I knelt on the front walk.  The antique playing board and chess set is to my right; my puppy, dear Hazel, at my feet.

I leave the lights on round the clock.  Our home welcoming no matter if you're arriving for dinner or at midnight exhausted from the day; or awake before the dawn, sweet sleep forsaken you.  I fear I dismiss the electric bill for peace of mind.  Rather selfish of me, I suppose.  What one is willing to pay for tranquility, hmmm? 

It fluttered into view.  On a crazy loop of a crashing flight, the moth fell heavily onto the back of my hand.  I could feel the tiny feet clutching, a grip that might alarm if I wasn't so astonished.  Its wing was damaged.  The dust that grants their flight missing from nearly half the crooked appendage.  It wobbled a bit, seeking better purchase on my flesh....and then lay still.

I don't know how long I sat there, my hand resting on the knee I had pulled up into my chair.  The night settled herself slowly into the neighborhood.  Softly she began to wrap the houses within my view in her cloak of quiet, nestling little heads to slumber beneath the stars.  The moth, so fragile...clinging to my warm skin, somehow seemed desperate, even in its unstirring perch.  Though perhaps this was just me...seeing myself.

Somehow for me, there is strength in anger.  Even in the midst of betrayal and shock.  Maybe it's because, though the storm is raging and the sky is black and I am forced to make decisions I never anticipated--I am still the one taking action.  Though this may only be a desperate act of self-preservation, I choose. 

Every relationship is a choice.  Yes, emotions and feelings are grand, but we all know those days when it is simply putting one foot in front of the other, the plod of choice and commitment, rather than the merry twirl of flutters and desire.  This is the day you get up with the flu and still make dinner...because the children must eat.  When you haven't slept in 45 hours and you still go to work because the bills need paid.  When words no longer have meaning, and actions are all that remain.  Yes, somehow even in the stark trenches of choice, I find strength.

But then there is a moment...a pause.  After you've chosen the plod--you've chosen to stay/try/commitment and vows and I meant them...regardless.  Suddenly, after weeks, months of choosing....you realize the flutter has returned.  With gossamer wings and delicate bones, that chrysalis of daily choice has metamorphasized into something else...become something more. 

Hope.

And in hope....I am painfully, staggeringly, vulnerable.  The winds of hope can lift you to the heavens...and smash you on the rocks leaving broken bits and shattered ends.  Hope moves the choices to another's hands.  Pries the power from your grasp leaving you staring at calloused empty palms.

Hope paralyzes me. 



The fireflies have settled in the trees, like God's Christmas lights out of season.  I can smell the rain coming.  I shift and with an ivory blur, the moth plunges out into the night.  I hope it lands somewhere safe. 

I hope.



22 comments:

Shelly said...

A life adorned with hope is always the richest way to live, even though hope draws back the armour, even the skin and says to life, "Take your best shot."

You, my friend, live a rich life with warm poetry and love lighting the way for you, as you light the way for others.

terlee said...

Hope is the dust for your own wings. Revel in the flutters.

Some days the only thing that keeps us going is hope, in whatever form it takes...

Robbie Grey said...

This was amazing. The little bit of summer alchemy stuck with me. Hope, I find, is always good to have.

BamaTrav said...

The existential angst of being.

Mary said...

Hope is what lets us keep going on sometimes. I felt every word you wrote...

FrankandMary said...

I'm not well versed in the hope thing. Doesn't mean I do not appreciate it in others, since I definitely do.

You do not always come off as accessible(I don't trust all-access people anyway), but you do always come through with your fine, delicate gift of peel back the brain communication.

Chantel said...

Shelly--it's the "take your best shot" that scares me. Love your comments...

Terlee--you're right, whatever form indeed.

Robbie--thank you, summer is magic, don't you think?

BamaTrav--oh, the agony! lol This "being" thing is harder than it looks.

Mary--it does. And I'm so glad you're here. :)

Mary--your honesty is incredibly refreshing, do you know that? That was the best compliment. xo

Out on the prairie said...

Such a nice feeling after reading this and I'm ready to retire for the evening.

The Empress said...

Every relationship is a choice.

I am going through so much right now. WIth my mother's late stages of dementia, and meeting her over again every day.

I can't even type without tears in my eyes.

Yes. paralyzed by hope.

Maybe one day, before she dies, she won't have to ask who I am when I call.

The Loerzels said...

I've been there, but I never could've written anything this captivating to describe it. Thank you for putting into words. I hope hope isn't fleeting, but finds a home and nestles in.

Confessions from the Hairdresser said...

Hope is TERRIFYING!

I hope for your hope!

And happy safe fourth for you and the men!

Slyde said...

your blog makes my blog look stupid....


plus, you're a hottie...

Chantel said...

Prairie--thank you, hope your evening was pleasant.

Empress--my heart aches for you. What a difficult time...and what an amazing blessing that she has you. It is the hardest thing to be what you may one day need. I care for my 97 yr-old grandmother for months at a time....she gives me grey hair and makes me buy more wine. (lol) But I've learned so much about life and about myself in this. You will be in my thoughts...

Marie--thank you...and me too.

Adam--I know! And thank you darling!

Slyde--does not! lol

ND Mitchell said...

That this was a wonderfully described experience-the descriptions of the porch in the evening took me right there-what a fantastic writing gift you have Chantel. Then, when you merged this with the idea of hope's fragility, it really took off. Glad I read this. I rmembered a line from a U2 song "Shout for joy, if you get the chance..." I think this is good advice...
David

Brian Miller said...

pretty cool that moth found you...and you found a bit of yourself in it as well...anger is not a bad thing...it is an emotion...which then depends on what we do with it...much like that hope as well..hope can def be scary...but also very beautiful....absolutely love your descriptions of the porch and progression of the day as well...

leave that light on...smiles.

Shea Goff said...

I had to return now after having read this post the day you presented it but not having any words to describe what you have done here. Not much of a writer, am I? It's just that well, hm, um, you're quite brilliant and not in one of those put the words in some algebraic formula to get the desired result time and time again. Your work is natural and personal and presents itself as almost a whisper while conveying such an intense and universal truth. How beautifully you present us with hope, all the while showing us your gift, your talent. I think at times we humans can for whatever reason squander our talents. I am so grateful you don't.

Mel Heth said...

I think that even when hope shatters us on the rocks, we somehow always mend ourselves. Always re-find the hope.

I'm reading a book right now called "Broken Open" and it talks about the phoenix process - the burning and rising from the ashes. I wonder if you would like it.

I also want to have you over for dinner just so you will write something as beautiful as this about my house and my neighborhood. :) It's gorgeous.

Pearl said...

There is nothing so insidious -- and heartbreaking -- as hope...

Pearl

Mom of the Perpetually Grounded said...

Just Stunning! The flutter...yes I know that. Lovely.

Chantel said...

David--good advice indeed, and thank you for your kindness.

Brian--the lights are always on, no worries. :)

Shea--you leave such elegant, sincere comments. They make my day again and again...

Mel--I'm going to look up that book, it sounds rather applicable at the moment. And girl, I would LOVE to come to dinner! lol

Pearl--truth, those words. *sigh*

Mom--thank you dear.

Paige + Shauna said...

I needed to read your message today,
especially - all relationships are a choice, and some come to a close,
because you have moved on - both
know it - one wants the you that
no longer exists.

yes, hope as my pastor says:
become addicted to hope - I am.

thank you, chandra.

Susan Struck said...

Your writing is so beautiful.