'Twas Ever Thus

Monday I sent my second-born off to college. 

No, you didn't miss anything. I still don't have children. It's a metaphor, on which I can't elaborate. Yet.

It was an important day. I wanted to celebrate, because this second-born has been with me for more than a decade. 

And I wanted to take a quiet moment to ... "mourn"? Not quite the right word. But "celebrate" doesn't capture the full range of emotions around the experience. There's a letting-go of this entity that I've held (lightly, firmly, with despair, with hope) for so long.

I wanted to recognize the moment for what it is, yet another change in this time of accelerated change. 

So I clung to that mixture of feelings yesterday, in spite of political leaks, in spite of elections and pandemics and campaign promises and lies under oath. 


I also recognized yesterday as my mother's 105th birthday. She's not alive on earth to celebrate, but I can celebrate: so I did, and I do. I celebrate her life, her choices, her determination and courage and mistakes and humour.


This morning, I found myself thinking about a woman from Ukraine, born in Europe in the second half of the twentieth century, who's lived several decades. She's seen much political and personal upheaval. At some point In the past two months, she packed up her life -- perhaps children and grandchildren, perhaps not -- to escape brutal attacks on her home and herself. 

This woman is a writer. 

When she fled, she bring her laptop? What about a flashdrive? Does she have some sort of key to her passwords (a mnemonic device, a list on paper, a list in her phone?) so she'll be able to access her work-in-progress from the cloud, once (IF) she lands somewhere safely? 

Will she be able to share her work with the world? Will she -- and her children and grandchildren -- even survive?

I don't know this woman, but I know she exists. Other woman, similar and not, make their way in the world. I hold space for all of them. 


This spring, I have moaned a LOT about weather, as we got snowstorm after snowstorm and more weeks than expected of temperatures colder than -20C. 

I have ALSO felt my creative energy returning -- beyond the "I received a grant so I have to produce" energy. The "Wouldn't this be fun to examine?" energy. The "I can't wait to get to the page" energy. The kind of energy I've experienced only in flashes throughout the past several years. 

The kind of energy that lets me BOTH celebrate AND let go, that lets me recognize my mother BOTH as a flawed and imperfect human (as I have written about her) AND as a multifaceted, complex woman who has raised another, in me. 

I chose to protect that energy yesterday, even as other things happened. 


It was ever thus: celebrations and mourning at the same time. Upheaval and safety. Creation, in its many forms, co-exists with destruction. 

We celebrate. And let go.