Updated: Feb 3
Today I stumbled upon four pure white swans on the Clark Fork River Delta
Grey clouds toped the deep pastel blues and purples of the distant North Idaho mountains
Towering evergreen and bare cottonwood trees lined the snowy banks
My presence startled them
They took off from the emerald turquoise water into the sky
and I could swear someone was shining a stage light on them
the way they were illuminated
against the winter sky
Their wings hit the river's surface with such force
clapping their heavy bodies into flight
The four white lights circled tree tops and then were gone
A single feather was left behind
Gently swirling with the current
The feather followed me as I walked higher up on a bank paralleling the river
After awhile I hiked back down to the water to collect my kayak and paddle on
I turned up river and there was the feather
Drifting into the snowy pebbled shore where I stood
I picked it up
and ran it across my cheek
Strength in grace
Touched by the sky and the river
Last night I had crawled back into my mind and dissociated from my body
and let my old life run me
I woke up full of shame
I had taken the kayak out to clear my mind and come back to me
The softness of the river feather on my skin was what I needed
It opened me up like a patch of blue sky
An image from the day before came back to me
The dad carrying the child with the shiny swollen bald head
and deep jagged surgical scar inscribed from ear to ear
That image took me right back to my own shiny bald 8 year old head
and the toxicity
that I got lost in
Leukemia, a cancer of the blood, is about the brutal killing of inspiration
of the water maps of our bodies
of the blood vessels of life
These two words have been showing up a lot in my life recently: restriction and flow
Holding on and letting go
There's this disconnect between the story I've told and the recognition that the same body I inhabit now is the one that I inhabited then.
How do I accept it and let it go at the same time?
Holding the story in my heart is profoundly different than holding it in my head.
Maybe it's in the acceptance that I finally let it go.
My relationship with my body has been 90% taking.
What I gave it has been a transaction, not love, compassion, or understanding.
I was so desperate in my own skin as a kid for connection and pleasure that I self-soothed the shit out of it, to a destructive degree.
And I didn't have the tools yet to know anything different
I stored messages of not belonging and not being lovable
and normalized a home environment that contaminated me and shut down every emotion I experienced
even too much joy
was too much
My parents did the best they knew how to do. They didn't have any tools or guidance themselves.
But what I had learned is that life is a box
filled with the weight of a heavy boulder
and edges that define me
not a river
bending and curving
channeling in deep gorges
and expanding into the meanderings of least resistance
The cool thing about these awarenesses of the life that was
is that now I have a choice for the life that is
To continue being the weight of the boulder
or the river
Theres a reason I touched the gently swirling feather and not the birds in flight today
Surrender to the grace of the rhythm of the waters