These photos made me start thinking about the ropes that bind and break. What ties us up and keeps us stuck? What loops around us til we are able to break to find a freedom we never thought possible? If we look at grief through the metaphor of ropes, what can we discover? For me, I found the ropes that bind me to be unswerving, forcing me to look at the things I would normally be averse to...and thereby breaking through to things I've never understood because I'd refused to look. Taking it to a poetic exploration looks something like what's below for me.
by Kara LC Jones
[inspired by “confusion is an asset” exercise in Walking On Alligators, p. 78]
It is so easy to turn away from it.
I don’t want to see that.
Gawd, I want nothing to do with you, The Unanswerable.
Why do you plague me?
And are you truly unanswerable?
What if I choose to NOT turn away.
I will turn off the phone and email.
Turn off the music and barrage of, “let’s just talk about this.”
Close the door to the kitchen where I could easily escape into scent and harvest.
Refuse the vision of others so readily available in print or film.
Refuse to let anything turn me away from The Unanswerable.
Looking squarely in your face: interesting. You are just a mirror.
I. Me. My whole being. My experiences here alive. ALL Unanswerable.
We create meaning to find ground, to feel balanced, to find ways of making sense, connecting with others. It is damn scary to feel knocked about by the solar winds. It is damn scary to accept that absolutely nothing makes “sense” but rather was simply made up by someone before you. It is damn scary to accept that what we call connection is surface, pacifying for now, fleeting in the extreme. We came thru the birth canal alone. We go back to the dirt alone. Whatever we share along the way is great, but cliché: You can’t take it with you. Damn scary stuff.
Is there even merit to learning to Be Present when it is All Unanswerable?
I mean we prize this. Lean into the ungroundedness. Be still in the chaos. Float rather than fight tide.
But is any of it anything but an exercise in surface? Who is to say I am any better off that way than the chaos of the ones who are actively running, addicted, hoarding, exhibiting? Who’s to say I am any better off than then ones who swallow questioning, put their heads down, work-a-day, shelter in their homes, do jury duty without a squawk, learn to walk without raising any fuss? Who’s to say that my choice isn’t just another in the myriad of coping mechanisms we have available to survive this barrage of being alive?
I do what I do because it feels good.
I do what I do because it is easier than trying to fit what feels good to another’s skin.
I do what I do because that is as much as I’ve learned so far.
I do what I do because I just want to escape to a world of my own making, my own word and heART.
I do what I do because The Unanswerable is ridiculously present in all things.
I do what I do because I can barely grasp the reality of what is happening to me.
I do what I do because I can barely convey to you what is happening.
I do what I do because you can barely find ways to try and understand what is happening to you, let alone whatever I try to convey about my experience.
I do what I do because, in the end, it is all ash.
The ash of my dead sons is precious to me because I am still alive and feel the empty space of them.
But when I die? The ash of me will be ground, the empty space of me filled, and there will be no one to appraise the ash of my dead sons anymore. And so we all are ash. It is all ash. No more. No less.
You ask, “What is the point?”
One answers, “There is no point.”
The other, “You make your own point, your own meaning.”
But I suspect neither extreme to be. The vast range between them neither.
Rather it is Unanswerable.
And so, if I choose to be unswerving?
Then I stand full face with The Unanswerable.
And I am simply a long list of “what to do now” that stands between the first heart beat and the last.