THE GREAT LIQUIDATION
By: Lauren Anderson
Spring is my favorite time of year. Seriously. Say what you will about the delight of living in a place with a warm and predictable climate– I don’t begrudge anyone their joy. Especially those people out there who hate hate hate being cold.
But that’s not me.
If given the choice, I want four seasons. Give me the abundance of summer, the nostalgia of fall, the rest and quiet that blankets the earth in the winter– and the renewal and rebirth of spring.
I guess I need the reminder that the days are leading to something new, ya know? And when life seems to click along in a monotonous pattern, the weather can really F a lot up! At it’s best, it’s exciting. And at it’s worst, dangerous.
And when the going gets unbearable, seasons are an excellent reminder that THIS TOO SHALL PASS. A reminder that no matter how big we may get in our britches– Nature is always more powerful. With one foot of snow it can cut us down to size.
But back to spring. I could spend time talking to you about bunnies and babies and buds on the trees, because that’s the stuff of poetry, and all pretty great in the scheme of things. But we know all that. We love all that.
Instead, I want to talk about the wetness.
The water. The sheen on the concrete. The icicles dripping from the rooftops. The sound of water flowing into the gutters. THE RAIN ITSELF.
If winter is still and quiet– the sound of spring is as loud as the water rushing. Asking me to wake up! Reminding me to stay supple. Let us rejoice in the drench!
A lot people complain about the wetness of spring.
But to me, spring is like a naughty dog emerging from a lake after jumping in without warning. You want to get mad, cause you had plans– but when you see that smiling dog face come back to you with tail wagging, it’s impossible to be angry. It’s dirty, and there’s a good chance your car seats will smell like wet dog fur, but the joy was WORTH IT.
Sure it’s messy, but what a great reminder that I’m alive!
* * *
So cut to the other day. I parked my car after a long night doing this and that. Truthfully? I was not having the best day. I felt a hardness and a listlessness inside of me.
I sat in my dark car not wanting to get out yet. And so before I gathered my things to head indoors, I pulled out my phone to see what was up.
Does anyone else do this? I call it “milking the transition”. It’s me purposely wasting time in between moments. I’m not at work or home or heading anywhere. I’m in between point A and point B.
Giving myself a pause. A moment. All to myself. I get to be in limbo.
And I find it tremendously restful. It’s technically a time waste, but to me it always feels like time well spent. Especially when I’m not in the greatest mood.
I scrolled through my social media and stumbled on an article on Medium.com entitled, “Three Magical Phrases to Comfort a Dying Person.” By Jenny Harrington. A mother that lost her son to cancer.
I don’t know why or how, but I clicked on it.
I guess I wanted to see what it had to say. I have a new and deep interest in grief and how we all talk about about it. Or perhaps more accurately DON’T talk about it. I wanted to hear this new perspective.
But you guys—WHY DID I DO THIS TO MYSELF?!?!?!?!
The first paragraph had me crying almost instantly. And by the end I couldn’t see my phone screen because I was balling so hard. Big, gulping, wet tears splashed down my cheeks. I was unable to stop.
The pain and the beauty of what that mother said to her child was breathtaking. Deep and human and impossible. As universal and ancient as the story of humankind. I was struck by her strength. I was moved by her ability to rally for her dying son. I was in awe of her grace.
I almost didn’t make it through.
I was a puddle. A pool. A drench of emotions just moved through me. My scarf literally wet from tears. It’s as if my eyes decided to have a liquidation sale and everything had to GO GO GO.
My emotions moved from winter to spring in the 10 minutes it took me to read that article.
I clicked off my phone and sat in the dark for a moment, either thinking big thoughts about the human condition, or nothing at all. Honestly, I can’t remember.
I eventually gathered myself together and the tears stopped, I took a few deep breaths. I was glad I read that article. Even though I don’t know what it’s like to be in that situation, I felt connected to her. There is so much power in the truthful telling of a story. I learned something new. I was moved. I sat and thought about her son for a good long time.
And when it was finally time to get out of my car and head inside–I felt somehow, renewed.
The hardness and listlessness that I was feeling when I first parked had melted away, and I felt supple again. More forgiving of myself and the people and events that turned my day hard in the first place.
The story moved me to be sure. But I think it was the actual act of crying that restored me.
The rushing of “water” moved me from winter to spring. I felt open again. Renewed. Liquid.
When I got into my apartment, I went to the bathroom to blow my nose. I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror and laughed. My face was streaked with mascara. Leaving jet black migration patterns where the tears rolled down my face.
I looked like the lost band member of KISS.
I laughed again. And couldn’t help being reminded of the beauty of spring. Yes, when things melt (like my face) it can get dirty. But perhaps that dirty– that melt– that liquidation is also how we can restore ourselves.
* * *
I feel this same thing every time after a good workout at the gym. The sweat dripping from my forehead is just like the icicles dripping from the roof. The rushing of my blood is like the rushing of the river after it thaws.
My skin slick from effort is a fantastic reminder of the mini-seasons we go through inside our own bodies. And even if I’m sedate, and don’t move for a very long time– er, long winter— I know spring can come again.
The wetness reminds me that I am supple. Capable. Proving over and over that I can bend and still be strong. Like the mighty bamboo. At once, I feel open. Forgiving. Liquid.
The silence and stillness of Winter melts into the rains of Spring. Of tears. Of sweat.
And I emerge from the water renewed.