Tuesday, October 2, 2012


I burned myself last week.  I've had a lot on my mind lately and gazing out the kitchen window, I got a bit lost watching the leaves fall like amber snow upon the lawn.  There is something slightly bewitching about the sizzle of a roast; searing before it will be nestled into the pot, draped with onions and herbs, and left immersed in broth to simmer.  Something snapped me out of my reverie and turning I reached for the metal tongs now left for long minutes in the flame...

Two inches of the flesh on my palm--the kind of burn that you almost hear before you feel.  I must of made a sound as my son was quickly in the doorway.  I stood quietly with my hand submerged in the dishtub.  "Are you alright, mum?" he asked. 

I smiled, "I will be."

For that is the secret, isn't it.  No matter how deep the pain, how unbearable it seems as it scrapes and tears and breaks our bodies, our dreams....our souls.  No matter the wound, there is the balm of time.  The bandage of memory, the antiseptic of grace. 

Funny how the physical pain fades so much more quickly than that of the heart.  I've come to possess such a tolerance for corporeal injury as to constantly wear a smattering of bruises I've no idea how were acquired, scrapes and cuts that I'm amazed to discover when pointed out by the boys.  These are merely the companions to a life of labor; refinishing furniture, installing floors, sanding ceilings precariously perched atop a ladder I'm certain holds a personal dislike of me.  And then there is the treacherous land of the kitchen--knives and fire do not mix well with hurry and distraction.

I didn't want to look at my hand.  To see it somehow makes it hurt more, doesn't it?  Kind of like mulling over an insult or argument.  I sprayed on the Bactine (I believe we own four bottles of this magic mist--even keep one in the car...this probably says something about our family), covered it with gauze, and returned to finish getting dinner started.  Oh, how it burned.  Seemed about to ignite the bandage, did it rage so.  I bit my lip...tears in my eyes, though perhaps it was due to the onions I sliced. 

Life goes on.

There would be hungry children lingering about in three hours and there was still potatoes to mash and laundry to fold and floors to sweep and.....

That second hand ticks....and the clock turns.

I wish there was a Bactine for the heart.  Sometimes a single sentence uttered in anger lingers so long as to tattoo itself on the walls of my mind.  I wish I was better at dismissing, banishing these things to the woods where they would be lost amongst the ferns and trees, so much mulch. 

I'm not.

Then again, if I were, perhaps I wouldn't be as careful at guarding my own tongue.  I am conscientious to an extreme, painstakingly so, of the agony unscrupulous words can induce.  We all must live with the tragedy we cause....some learn from the past, some do not.  I have made mistakes I care never to repeat.  This tapestry of life is woven of a million threads.   

We choose the colors.

It's raining today.  The green of summer is fading, relinquishing life to give birth again in spring.   As I type I can feel the pull of the new skin on my hand.  The damaged tissue cracked and peeled, now replaced by soft pink flesh.  Unlined still, its tenderness is a constant reminder for me.  Not only to be more prudent where I choose to daydream, but that I am stronger than I sometimes feel.  That healing is innate as much as of will....that new flesh, new hopes, new mornings await. 



Robbie Grey said...

That was profound.

Shelly said...

Ah, my friend, and that deep sensitivity that makes you the gifed writer you are also holds your heart open to those word bullets and flames. I am praying the new skin of healing rises up soon inside, just as it has outside.

In the meantime, a little Bactine of a hug from me to you.

The Empress said...

Oh, yeah.

That post makes me think of so much.

Things we don't want to "metaphorically" see b/c the paincomes to mind.

Things it's better to keep our eyes closed about, but then if we don't tend to that which is injured, how can we heal?

Beautiful. So much you've given to my soul here today.

So very much.


Wow, that was awkward said...

I like how you turned a totally space-case painful sounding burn into a life lesson. I'm calling you next time I stub a toe!

Mary said...

Everything we do makes us who we are. So while there may be things I regret doing I wouldn't change a thing I've done.

Glad to hear you're healing.

Shea Goff said...

I am so glad you are here.

Anonymous said...

Having read this, I just realized something, I have never once been sick a day in my life, not even a cold, nor even injured. That's odd.

ND Mitchell said...

Hope the burn continues to heal. Glad I visited today. There's always something profoundly truthful to be found in your writing Chantel.

Guilie said...

What a lovely musing piece on pain and healing. Yes, were there Bactine for the heart :) I'm convinced there's a reason there's not, though. Maybe, like your burned palm, injury scrapes off old tissue, regenerates the skin to a newer unlined texture. Maybe more resilient, maybe not, but new. Perhaps we need that, the renewing, in our hearts too.

Thanks for the visit to my blog earlier! I'll definitely be coming back to yours :)

Chantel said...

Robbie--thank you, though I feel nothing of the sort. lol Just sore...and a little weary.

Shelly--I suppose you can't have one without the other. *sigh* And thank you. :)

Empress--yes, seeing what is real--painful, but necessary. xo


Mary--I envy your certainty. :)

Shea--good to be back, thank you for helping.

BamaTrav--are you a vampire?? lol

David--thank you, kind words.

Guilie--I hadn't thought about it quite like that, perhaps you're right. "Renewing" is a much better perspective...

Anonymous said...

Indeed, that vulnerablility keeps you from sharpening your words with mean-spiritied sentiments. That said, little hurts can be little deaths. There is no fentanyl patch for the heart, & in some ways I am glad of it. ~Mary

Freckled Philologist said...

Lovely friend,
Glad to see you here again. I always miss your writing when you're away. It's purely selfish I admit, an addict to artful descriptions and poignant prose and you're a master.
So many powerful messages brought to the surface by your painful burn. I particularly relate to second to the last paragraph and have copied it into my handmade book of favorite quotes.
The cold is creeping into the Northern Spanish high plain, but just the right weather to welcome a healing winter.
To recovery, health and happiness!

thea mia said...

I like the way you think. Being burned didn't turned you into this whiny person but a strong ones. I love that. That's a strength of yours.
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Matt Inwood said...

It's good to see you back, Chantel. It feels like too long since your last post. Some lovely passages in this post. That sleeve of bruises and scrapes gone unnotice resonated with me, as did that spoken sentence that imprints and can't be erased from your thoughts. I hope it's not so long a gap until the next post.

Anonymous said...

so true: a single sentence uttered in anger is tattooed on the heart.

Adriana Iris La Dulce Vida said...

Love this post and was glad you had updated.

Chantel said...

Mary--a fentanyl patch for the heart...I'd make a mint. *sigh* You're right, some things are better left alone.

Mary--I am so honored to be found in your book, thank you! Spain sounds lovely right now...

Thea Mia--thank you dear, if we cannot learn from our pain--we risk succumbing to it.

Matt--it's good to write again. Sometimes there are seasons in life that are just not right for sharing...

Paige--yes, it is. I wonder at the graphiti on mine....

Adriana--thank you so much.