Thursday, February 20, 2014

First through the door

“All I know is a door into the dark”
Seamus Heaney

My door is painted with flowers.  It is inscribed with words in a fine and artful hand.  It is collaged with vintage marbled paper.  Am I the last woman in America to know about Lily Pulitzer prints?  Yesterday I saw the imperative on an image of her design that every woman needs to own a Lily Pulitzer dress.  I'd rather have the bedding, thank you.  That is not the point of this.
A door into the dark.  I take from that a door through which Heaney walks first which allows us to follow.  An act of courage, of selflessness, of defiance.  An expression I learned decades ago, "The only way out is through," is what keeps me digging and poking into places I'd rather cross the street to avoid.  The rose as what seems an enduring talisman sidled up to me in the autumn of 2012 and suggested finding some rose-patterned socks to wear with red flats (ruby slippers? our symbols are not always clear).  I found socks, a sheer and significantly under-priced scarf and a favored scent from long ago.  Wrapped in roses, whatever trials by ordeal awaited seemed less daunting.  At least they would be prettier and smell better.  I was not consciously arming myself.  As I've done many times before, I was heeding the intuitive nudge that has never led me anywhere but onward.

The only truth I can tell is my own, with the hope that I don't fart around and dilute it.  There are parts of it that I've yet to share, again trusting to intuition that the moment will arrive and that I will know it when it does.

Heaney's quote was not given with reference to any work from which it was taken.  The interpretation of its meaning is entirely mine.  Feeling as I do that poets are the fearless front line when there are any caves or terrifying post-apocalyptic ruins to be explored, I assumed his words described his work, his singular task.  Armed with whatever gifts we've been given, what muscles we've developed through focus and hard work, we are all asked, over and over, to open and enter those doors into the dark.  It is our darkness, human and ordinary and nearly unbearable, somehow made just slightly less paralyzing by two things:  whatever it is that gives us strength beyond ourselves and the trust that, in ways we will likely never know, others are close behind us.


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