The Landscape of Loss

I live in the landscape of loss. It is territory marked out by sudden dips in the terrain, deep heaving sighs and often total abstraction. Nothing seems real. It is from this landscape that I learned the braille of being.

When feelings get too intense, one resorts to simply existing in the moment. That is where my friend Peter, of Bigger Than The Sky, located himself. This was in the era before phones became cameras. Even back then, he was a fugitive from thought.

It happened so quickly and so complicatedly for him. A drastic accident, a life shattered into one glorious peace. How fortunate I was to have corresponded with him for several years.

He never resisted the great drafts of sorrow blown his way by my emails. On the contrary, he held my hand, walked me through it, pointed out the silence he loved so much. We never met in person. I did not know his last name. My life has been like this. Your life shatters and the flame of consciousness is all you have left. There are times when you would prefer it simply go out, but it gets stronger. You see your flaws magnified to the tenth power. You understand devastation at its core. You have nothing.

I live in the landscape of fullness as well as loss. So full of simple living that the idea of complicating it seems ridiculous. I have moved to a place where nothing becomes anything much. There is a rising and falling of the breath and activities take place.

The activities change nothing; they simply come and go. I think Peter and I would take up exactly where we left off, if that were possible. I would write and tell him of something I had done or felt, and he would reply as he always did. I will share a poem I wrote some time ago.

For Peter

I will meet you out beyond the breaking
how will I know you
for you have disappeared into your life
and come out no one, ho ho.

Perhaps a memory of you will
light the blueness of the sky
and I will recognize the taste of conversation
we once had and then
we disappeared into the fire.

~Vicki Woodyard

One Comment

  1. Vicki, a beautiful, heart-felt post in every way. Your lovely poem is such a wonderful tribute to Peter. I love what you said about our flame of consciousness and how, even when we want it to go out, it becomes stronger. And I love the cat photo – Peter would have loved that!


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