From the ashes
When I said that sometimes you need to blow it all up and start again, this is not what I meant.
I was speaking figuratively for f$%* sake. But the universe burned my house down.
“The best laid plans of mice and men go often askew... your small house in ruin... now you are turned out for all your trouble ...to endure the winter.”
Mr Burns was right.
My plans are in ashes.
Burns. That’s ironic.
What shall I do?
My beautiful little oasis saved me during the divorce. Now I have to let it go. I guess if I was missing the nudges from the Universe before, she flat out pushed me off the edge now.
That life is over.
Be reborn from the ashes.
Breathe in and out.
Summon the spirit of the Empress. The Phoenix.
Sprinkle the ashes all around.
They will counteract the acid.
They will foster clover for the bees and make a tea for the tomatoes. They will hasten the decomposition of the manure.
Let go of the bullshit sister.
Spring is coming.
Plant a new garden.
I am the iron butterfly
Forged in the fire
Blood, sweat, and tears
See me for who I really am
Not what you assume me to be
I am strong
I am fierce
But I will not crawl on my belly any longer
I will meet my brothers and sisters in the garden
Where hope blossoms
And we will travel across continents on the winds of change
Spreading it like pollen
I am the iron butterfly.
The day of Laura’s funeral in 2020, which I attended via zoom, after many tears, I went outside and planted sunflower seeds. It was May in Minnesota. We were past the last frost. Spring was in the air. For the first time I had a large open sunny field to plant whatever I wanted.
My garden, this little farm, it helped save me. Going outside, sun on my face, hands in the dirt, thoughts of the future, of flowers, it was healing. Gardening is inherently hopeful. If the fire sent me into a cocoon, planting those sunflowers was what started to help me break out of it, the genesis of Iron Butterfly. There was a ray of sunlight through the darkness.
I reflected on the following words from CS Lewis that day:
No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear. I am not afraid, but the sensation is like being afraid. The same fluttering in the stomach, the same restlessness, the yawning. I keep on swallowing. … There is a sort of invisible blanket between the world and me. I find it hard to take in what anyone says. Or perhaps, hard to want to take it in. It is so uninteresting. -CS Lewis, A Grief Observed.
This is exactly how I felt. In shock, moving through the world as if underwater. Before heading outside to the garden I jotted down some thoughts:
Laura was the best of us. Her soul glowed.
As Anthony Doer pointed out in his Pulitzer Prize winning novel, we call color visible light, and “mathematically, all of light is invisible”. I’m going to believe that although I cannot see Laura anymore, and I cannot see the light inside her, I am going to believe that she is part of the light surrounding me, and nourishing these tiny plants, and continuing to make the world beautiful.