The ancient ache tugs like moon does tides; A soft but relentless pull from distance that cannot be escaped. I find it curious how this is the case, but mostly intermittently these days. I take some, small delight that the old urges no longer are insurmountable. I’m not quite sure when that happened; It is relatively recent and decidedly a relief. The only thing worse than feeling a compulsion to express care is finding dead silence, not even an echo to indicate it is heard, understood, or found in any way worthwhile.
It is not really an ancient ache, but that it mimics the true one; Polity of pattern that unfolds repeatedly. I could explain, but it would only make sense if you already have the seed of it within you. Otherwise, it is just so much water over rocks; carried far away to distant shores that you would never dream of even if you could.
The irony is that it was never about ‘me’ or ‘him’ or ‘them’ or ‘that time’, ‘that place’, ‘those situations’. It never is, you know; Instead, it is the sad and sorry state of replication; old memories painted over new circumstances, senopia and palimpset, the new creation forever affected by the ancestor.
Does anyone ever, truly, let go of the story, the past, the memories? Maybe I’m the only one who cannot manage it. Hah. No, sorry, I can’t be that arrogant. I think it must be a human delusion to continue watering the withered in some, odd hope that it will forgive the drought and spring forth, evergreen.
I think we know, the first time we find the still, quiet fledgling laying by the sliding door; The first time we see the mess on the shoulder of the road. We know what the totality of death is, and we know the great unknown that hovers; a hulking behemoth of impossibility that cannot be understood or avoided, cannot be more than the biggest boogie man of them all.
Maybe that’s why we do it. Maybe that’s why we water pitiful, withered weeds. An act of hope or of desparation. Perhaps both.
It seems to run in two to three month cycles, this ridiculous notion of tending an otherwise abandoned and dead garden. I’d like to think it means more than avoiding endings, death, or the unknown. I would like to think it’s more than my own Baba Yaga-esque madness; caring for the dead as if still alive. There are a number of cultures who honor the dead in similar ways, though likely not as closely as I have in these last years. (But maybe that is arrogance, too?)
I told a friend the other day that the reason I care for friends of theirs that I never knew was, that by doing so, I could demonstrate that the things and people they care for have meaning and importance to me; For that reason alone, with no need of another. They looked at me as if I were mad. Perhaps I am. But it seems to me that honoring the things and people that those you care for honor is one of the best ways possible to show someone you think of, notice, and respect their feelings.
Irony again, of course, as I have spent the last few years sharing that remembrance and honor with someone who could not possibly care less to hear of it.
I haven’t quite learned how to stop doing it, the caring or the honoring. But I have learned to keep it to myself. Well, mostly. You’re reading it here so obviously it has not become the secret prayer. Or maybe it has, in its way. This is mostly me, muttering and mumbling to myself because I finally get that there’s no care or interest for it in the mind of the one with whom I would wish to share it.
Ancient ache. It tugs. I rock slow with it and try to make it comfortable. The most comforting thought I can manage, the smallest trickle of water on dead leaves and withered stalks is to say with a sigh that is both relief and regret, “This too, shall pass.”