Friday, March 31, 2017

#SOL17: A Place Called, Here

Rainy Day Blues Triptych (M.A. Reilly, 2009)

Stand still. The trees ahead and bushes beside you
Are not lost. Wherever you are is called Here,
And you must treat it as a powerful stranger,
Must ask permission to know it and be known...
                                     - David Wagoner, Lost


I am reading a blog post the other day and the writer mentions the Northern Lights.  I think of Rob immediately and sadness overcomes me. He will never hear the Northern Lights.  Most people speak about the colors of the lights--the sight, but my husband was adamant. He wanted to hear them.  
"Hear them?" I asked.
"Yep," said Rob. "They crackle, pop, hiss. It's like a radio station you almost have tuned, but not quite. Lots of static."
"What causes the sounds?" 
I listened, somewhat, as he launched into a lengthy explanation about charged particles and solar wind. And now I wished I had listened better.  
13 months after his death, the list of things my husband will not do is longer than the time at hand. He will not witness his only son graduate high school in a few weeks, nor send him off to college. These are things he will never know. I thought we would do most of the bucket list we informally compiled across the decades. I thought at the very least we would get to retire together and take that trip across the country we so often spoke about. It never occurred to me that Rob would die so quickly, so young.

Sometimes loss feels overwhelming and I want to slip the knot that tightens around my throat each time I think of the things that my sweet husband will never know.


I have been lost the last year. The threads and narrative of my life have unraveled quicker than I can count to ten, and my hands have not been able to mend what has been torn. A year of grief alters the landscape and being lost has become more familiar than not.

David Wagoner says we should treat here like a powerful stranger and I know he is correct. Wherever I am standing feels strange, foreign.


Go ahead, I tell myself,  be lost.
Say it out loud.
Yell to the sky, I am so lost!


And I think the hardest lesson grief teaches isn't simply, Stand still.
Rather it is: Let comfort find you.


Friends, the very earth we call home is the comfort we most seek. And in the last year, the earth has found me, recasting the unfamiliar in cloth I have worn before.

I have learned to stand still and to trust that comfort will find me.

The birch trees have bent towards the ground and found me.
The wind has wrapped around me like a fine silk shawl.
The river has risen and taught me how to wade in, troubled water or not.
The cardinals have called to me near dusk. I have watched them wing from tree to tree and followed. An aerial map that has led me home.

How could I know in the depth of that grief, that it would be a baptism of sorts?


Wagoner tells us:
"Stand still. The forest knows
Where you are. You must let it find you.”
And I have.
And it did.


Stand still, friend.
Wherever you are is called, here.
Let comfort find you.


  1. I am so glad comfort has found you. Your stories of Rob and life going on without him are powerful, moving, honest, beautiful and heartbreaking. You are an exquisite writer.

  2. I hope that comfort will find you. You should turn this journey into a book. It will resonate with many. You are a gifted writer and artist. Thank you for sharing your journey with me.

  3. You are so honest in your writing. It is powerful. The idea of letting yourself be found is brave and quite comforting. Be well, and be comforted during this challenging time. I can't begin to imagine it.

  4. Your words, though grief-stricken, are beautiful. May comfort continue to find you, wherever "here" is for you from moment to moment. If I may, please take a moment to read my post today, for it echoes your sentiments via words from a book I finished today--we must allow a field to lay fallow as an invitation for the seeds to come on the wind.

  5. Thank you.

    "All this he saw, for one moment breathless and intense, vivid on the morning sky; and still, as he looked, he lived; and still, as he lived, he wondered."

    Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows

  6. Maryann, you write about your brave journey with grief so eloquently. I have been following your blog, unable to respond from wordpress, though I have been moved with every post. Thank you.

  7. It is a journey where "here" can become different things for different people. I've been glad to read of your thoughts, especially this month. Thank you for sharing some deepest feelings, and sometimes how they have changed, how comfort has come to be with you, Mary Ann.

  8. That you can say, in spite of still grieving, that you know to let comfort find you, is a journey itself. I hope comfort will stay with you, Mary Ann.

  9. I too hope comfort can find you. This year, during March, I realized I was not alone in part thanks to your words which give credence to my own loss.

  10. Sometimes loss feels overwhelming and I want to slip the knot that tightens around my throat each time I think of the things that my sweet husband will never know.

    What a line. What a line. I cannot thank the Universe enough for the chance to express myself through my blog and to have found and connected with those who understand....I mean really really understand. I hope that my presence helped you remember that you are not alone....and I understand. Please continue creating. I will continue to read through the list of literature.....I am so so grateful. Sending you love and comfort. -Barbara


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