Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Tears and Streams

I once went through a period of years without ever crying. It got to the point where it concerned me a little. It’s not that I have any kind of fetish about crying. I don’t look for opportunities to cry or anything like that. But, I do find crying to be one of life’s high emotional experiences, and I generally rate such experiences as good.

Crying is so cathartic. When I cry it gets at something that can’t otherwise be got at. An itch gets scratched that can’t be scratched any other way. It shakes stuff loose that otherwise stays stuck. And so I started to be a little concerned when, over a period of years, any number of very opportune occasions came and went, and nary a tear was shed. That is, I had moments when all the necessary ingredients for crying were in place: some emotional impact had been absorbed, the flood of feeling that seems always to auger the release of tears swept over, the necessary threshold of tension had been reached, and the setting and company was condusive. The tears just didn’t come. Never having been resistant or self-conscious or gender-opposed to crying (I’ll admit even to a little pride, that even in the era before sensitivity became manly, I was capable of shedding the studly tear or two) I began to wonder if something in my soul had gotten clogged up. Maybe I was in need of some emotional drano.

But I was spared any extraordinary measures. I began to cry in my sleep one night, and I came out of some emotion heavy, but totally forgotten dream, with tears streaming down the side of my face, and with my heart open in that particular way that only tears can bring about. So these were tears that, despite being tinged by whatever sadness had descended in the night, also bore qualities of joy, and of relief. They were the kind of tears that somehow confirm that all is right with the world.

I cried here at Cloud a couple of weeks ago. Unexpectedly, while recounting to a friend the story of a long ago acquaintance, and his grief at losing his wife of many years, and the peculiar and touching way in which this withdrawn and silent man expressed his grief. It was one of those unexpected cries that seems to come from nowhere, then is gone.

I had another like that, a couple of years ago. Sitting in the apartment of an old friend in New York: I was introduced by her to a fellow artist who was also a poet, and who’d brought along a book of his poems for us to see. And, not being particularly interested – I wanted to visit, not read – I flipped open the small volume randomly, and suddenly my heart was wrenched open by the words wafting up from the page. I could do nothing about it – I was in tears, and deeply moved. I cannot remember the poem now. But the situation caused me to remember him.

But none of that’s what triggered this post. It’s not why I’m writing this.
What draws out these thoughts and memories is the experience of Cloud this week.

Water is everywhere. The spring thaw is on, and water is coursing in rivulets and streams, collecting in puddles and in the proverbial babbling brooks. It's spreading, rushing, sparkling and dancing across these acres, everywhere we turn. We hear it and smell it, it is present in the mud that squooshes under every footstep. And it rains down in tiny droplets that a month ago were the latest snows. It’s beautiful. And it seems as spontaneous and fresh and as freeing as those unexpected tears.


1 comment:

  1. i like the theme of water that flows throughout this piece...a thawing...