gypsy and bone

such a magical eve. the moon still moves, full and luscious, towards the southwestern sky. i dance with her on my balcony tonight, strains of Hans Zimmer's Aurora drifting through the open door and windchimes lending their spell. 

i'm in a deep study of grief these days, bringing it up close and personal, becoming familiar with an unexpected layer which has surfaced for me. i've grown to welcome it now. i surrender.


this i know to be true: grief keeps you soft, if you let it. keeps you tender and warm-blooded and human; keeps you on your knees, on your face, your soul close to the earth. there is healing in the earth. i googled the other night in a sleepless hour: can't handle the grief. because what then? i've learned to surrender then too. i can't handle the grief? okay. deep breath. here i am. this is me in the unhandling. i will let this be. i will sit and observe.

it is dark and holy work.


my incense is all ash, now, and i'm too contemplative to light another. i listen to Magic Flow by Anugama and i sway as though a wee babe is cradled at my breast. earlier, i clutched my arms close when i danced in the rising moon, my own interpretive display of comfort and sorrow. i let my hands float out beside me, curve and arc against a velvet sky.

my body is singing. my body moves through a journey of her own. my body expresses what words cannot because there is no language for this. there is no language for anything anymore.

monique duval spills poetry in the moonlight: there is wanton truth in my bones.


i drove by a church the other day, a huge sign gleaming in the sun: grief recovery. my friend sat beside me. "i could go there," i said, pausing at the stoplight. i don't go to church. but remember? i can't handle the grief, either. sometimes we turn to former comforts in the unhandling.

"yeah i don't think so," she said.  

i drove on. "there's no place for my kind of grief," i said. and there's not, so it just sits there, suspended, raw, pulsing. what will you do with me? asks Grief. i want to reach out and poke it in the side with my finger, just to see what happens.


i don't want to change anything. i want things to be just as they are, free. free means the whole story. the love and the ache. the full and the empty. the hunger and the peace. it's both/and everything. 

how free is free? really.  

free means saying yes to grief.  


my friend and i sit before a crackling fire and drink storyteller wine out of glass jars. it is a pinot noir with an alluring label. i pick wine sometimes based on labels and you're right; it's not the best way to choose a bottle but my wild poet bones can't help it. this time i am pleasantly surprised. it is slightly sweet for my taste but very good.

how free is free? we ask, swirling our storyteller wine. we talk of religion and spirituality and mystery. "i don't know" can be the most honest answer there is and we use it liberally. where do we belong? i don't know. our roots are buried deep in a world which won't have us anymore. what then? i don't know. what about having all the right answers? i don't know.

i am determined to see for myself that free means free. before in my life, free meant free, but ... free, unless ... free, when ...

just like love. love, if ... love, when ... love, unless ... 

my gypsy soul is restless, like usual, but she's not brash. there's reverence in her wild. she whispers in my ear: remember? we follow life.   


i am raw, primal, strong.

soft, surrendered, tender.

it makes more sense now, this sacred kind of tension. these necessary opposites, these mirrors. they are like magnets before and behind me. in this polarity i am held up, guided, contained. the energy moves through me and brings clarity, understanding, peace.

it is both / and. both and. both and. the handling and the unhandling. the knowing and the unknowing.  the spirit and the flesh. human and divine.

there is room for all at the table. there can be no other way.

Hillary McFarland