Lessons from the Desert

“There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.” – Leonard Cohen

One saguaro, two saguaro, three saguaro, ten. Hundreds more lifelike cacti appeared as we made our way into the Sonoran Desert, away from the sunset, away from home.

The darkness was more comforting than usual as I lay my head against the cool glass of the car window.  I couldn’t take my eyes off of the night sky that looked less like a thin blanket scattered with holes and more like a thick, itchy wool one spangled with stars; the constellations drawn with light. 

There’s something about the desert that feels reliable while I’m unraveling. It’s resilient and can be held accountable. It’s consistent, tried and true. It knows all of the secrets.

Maybe that’s also why I can never seem to get away from it fast enough.

I’m not sure where postpartum ends and grief begins. Entangled ribbons of depression and anxiety. Words that sometimes feel too big and not enough. Words that grow in size when I say them out loud. 

Grief seems to amplify everything. Those uncomfortable particles of myself, old thought patterns and coping habits all come bubbling to the surface.

Those parts I dislike about myself seem to be readily available. But the parts I love, a little more hidden. Where am I amidst the brokenness?

I feel so much less understood in the world without my dad here.  He knew me and respected me; he was like me. We could relate to each other on a soul level.  He was someone who would genuinely listen to my travel itinerary or the intricacies of my work or other important things that many people would lose interest in. Without him here, it feels like one less person who is a mirror to my true self.

My acupuncturist reminded me today that brokenness is actually just a way for the light to come in. In Japanese culture, when a piece of pottery breaks, they seal it with gold in a process called Kintsugi, so that it’s actually worth more than before. Breakage is a part of the history of the object, not something to disguise. 

I like to think I’m being patched up with gold. That all of the light from the stars, all of the love from here and there is all slowly helping me put the pieces back together.

Someday I will feel as light as a road runner across the desert sand. I will feel as sturdy and confident as the Saguaro cactus. An arm here, a nub there, unflappable in harsh conditions…simply unbothered. 

 

2 thoughts on “Lessons from the Desert

  1. Really REALLY good

    On Tue, Mar 12, 2019 at 3:44 PM Altered Latitude wrote:

    > Jenna posted: “”There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets > in.” – Leonard Cohen One saguaro, two saguaro, three saguaro, ten. Hundreds > more lifelike cacti appeared as we made our way into the Sonoran Desert, > away from the sunset, away from home. The dark” >

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