Things have been really grey lately. Everything is a big effort. I'm kind of embarrassed to write about it because this kind of sadness is dull. I bore myself. It's as though I'm stuck at the bottom of a big hole in the ground. Poem by poem, I'm digging myself out, and I know from the voices of loved ones which way is up, but I can't really pretend to be anywhere else at the moment. I have to make reluctant friends with this situation.
(Image from here)
So what are you trying to tell me, deep dark hole? To stop dreaming of the stars (and one particularly bright little star)? That my little slow-crafted words will come to nothing? That I am one and the same as the slippery grey-black clay on every side of me? Come on, hole, teach me your lesson and then we can be done. I'm not going to be bullied into silence and self-pity. Enough of that.
I'm not at all prejudiced against holes in the ground - in fact, my daughter lives in one, as do many of my favourite trees, earthworms and root vegetables. If dirt is my destiny, then bring it on, dirt. Show me your microbes, let me remember what dirt smells like, and the grit of it between my fingers.
Time moves slowly under the earth. Things are hidden, processes work slowly but powerfully. Minerals are crushed, underground rivers carved, liquids percolate drip by drip, continental plates grind past one another millimeter by millimeter - all monumental changes occurring at a pace measured in centuries rather than minutes. What else is down here? Things unwanted or forgotten, buried and mourned - so many things lost and wasted which are slowly being turned back into the earth itself. Nothing goes away down here, but is slowly transformed, releasing water and nutrients to feed patient tree roots, or our lawn. This is where rivers are born. Nothing flashy or spectacular, just cold humble earth.
Dear hole in the ground, that's what I'd like - some of that persistence - slow elemental momentum. The ability to slowly work through this sad stuff with earthworms and use it to grow something good.