life between the pages

“I spent my life folded between the pages of books.
In the absence of human relationships I formed bonds with paper characters. I lived love and loss through stories threaded in history; I experienced adolescence by association. My world is one interwoven web of words, stringing limb to limb, bone to sinew, thoughts and images all together. I am a being comprised of letters, a character created by sentences, a figment of imagination formed through fiction.”
Tahereh Mafi, Shatter Me

Tuesday, May 31, 2005


We wanted --no, needed --this rain. It came up from the Gulf, swept thru Alabama, Atlanta, the Carolinas, and was over by nightfall. It left us cooled by calm breezes that followed on its heels, quietly hemming the darkness like fine lace on the silken shawl of night. The crickets and other small animals chirrup a sweet melody, marking time to my thoughts. The dishes are washed, laid in the rack by the sink, the towels folded and put away. Sitting opposite me in our library, my husband sketches a portrait of a highland soldier in time to the ancient melody brought forth by a celtic songstress, her dark voice husky as the night wind, and equally as haunting. Surcease --a mechanism by which we let down, relax, find ourselves and our thoughts. We are quiet, yet the world around us is humming with vibrant life. Surcease is when we fall into step, find ourselves picked up and carried, by rhythms or emotions. It is not a time of nothing. It is a time of everything.

The pinnacle of surcease is when we two are together ...we match ourselves to each other’s rhythm, we are the water that rolls up from the depths of the ocean, we become the tide itself. We are no longer ourselves, we emerge from our cocoons to become something completely different, more than human, no less than gods. There is undeniable power in love, it is the coupling of two energies, and so can never be denied as anything other than something more than the whole entirety of our separate beings. Surcease. Could it really mean --a joining? It can never happen without a catalyst: surcease never comes in and of itself. It is always the result of something. It is added: it satisfies a need, usually a deep longing, depletion, or hunger. Perhaps that is why we feel as if we are more than ourselves when we are together: because we are. We receive more than we can give to satisfy our own needs: our depletions are filled, we no longer lack.

And so, the truth is that the earth, no matter the richness of the soil or the lush canopy of protective forest, needs rain. Without the addition of the catalyst of water, seeds do not open, roots dry up, the ground cracks open and releases the remainder of the nutrients it has held onto since the last rain. Why do we listen when people say, “You don’t need anyone else. You have yourself.” We may as well say the earth needs no rain, the tree needs no water, for both hold their own, even for long periods of time when necessary. But eventually the earth dries up, the tree withers, the leaves fall from the stress of holding on and conserving against need. The truth is, nothing but the coupling of rain can preserve the earth. We are not so different. No one is an entirety unto him, or her, self.

We all need someone. For surcease.

1 comment:

snee said...