Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Just Words

concatenate kän-`ka-tə-nāt v: to link together in a series or chain
battue ba-`tü n: the beating of woods and bushes to flush game; also: a hunt in which this procedure is used

Two definitions I can’t get out of my head. They’ve been floating in the background since they appeared, one after the next in my Word a Day calendar,  during my first two days of sickness.

They’re not really words I want to walk around using. But their meanings seem to have their own soul-sound, separate and more gentle than their spoken sound. The meanings, and the timing of them, linger.

to link together in a series or chain

Do you do this? With books, for instance? One leads to another, which leads to another, and you look back and find they have been stepping stones across a river of despair, or lack of faith, or confusion. Or with music—one song, one composer, one album leads to another and you find your taste, your self, who you want to be?

the beating of woods and bushes to flush game

Maybe at one time or another you have felt yourself—mind, body, and soul—working on something. Waiting for some answer or insight. But it can’t be forced. It may be years before you can look back and see it. Or, maybe more accurately, years before you can look back and see it better. Always, maybe, it will be through a glass darkly. And still you find yourself beating at things, hoping something will come fluttering out into the light.

They’re just words, but they’ve been talking to me about a process. Being sick has fed into it, too. I feel both like I’ve been chasing something out and like I’ve been following a path, linking light to light, insight to insight, to get myself where I need to be.

That’s where you are right now. Physically and otherwise. That’s you.

I feel like I’m writing to you from some foreign place, friends. Today, day 10 of pneumonia, is the first day I’ve noticed a real difference in my breathing. And I still need to rest.

And these words—just words, but also a presence with me in this strange place—they speak of things that are just and true:

Sometimes you have to wait.

Sometimes you have to keep making links, following the chain where it leads.

Sometimes you have to flush out what’s hiding. Even that, I suppose, takes a fair amount of waiting. 

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  1. Karen, this pneumonia has you in its grip, doesn't it? I hope so much that you're feeling better by now. At least you --and we, by proxy-- received some beautiful insights from it. xo (alison)

    1. Alison, it really has had me in its grip. I've never experienced anything quite like it. I'm definitely doing better, finally starting to have hope for my lungs, although I still have some recovering to do. (Thank you!)

  2. I'm so sorry to hear of your serious illness and hope you are much recovered now!

    And this post. . .sometimes indeed! Hindsight is always so much easier for me.

    Don't you just love words?!


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