Sometimes when I look in the mirror, I feel brittle. My face is set, full of worry and the obligations of life. There is an edge I can not name that builds, and shows itself to me in a glance, or an unexpected reflection in a passing window.
My husband and I have lives that are too busy. We behave like separate ships on the sea, sending signals and flashes of light while moving in turbulent waters, our attention fully given to navigation.
But once in awhile all that turbulence stops. The sea calms and we drift slowly into shore, rediscovering each other like long lost friends, wondering how we ever drifted so far apart. Those times are precious to me, the coming back times. The sharp edges of our lives melt against candle light. Our faces soften. Our bodies reach toward the warmth of one another, and suddenly I no longer feel old, rigid or brittle.
We lived in this soft place when we met. We could not pull ourselves from it, but now it takes a snow storm or an act of love to remember the truth of who we are together.
The scent of ginkgo and vanilla blend in fragrant oils and infuse the space. A musical tapestry woven with harp and voice washes away the outside world. The phone is unplugged. I study the way my hair falls against my face in the shadows on the wall, as I tenderly stroke the white of his beard, and trace the lines of his lips with my finger. Our bodies find each other in celebration.
When did the mundane gain so much attention and power? When did the entrance to this soft place become veiled and difficult to find?
We have been in retreat, but I can feel the tide approaching. The sea is calling and we will soon slip back into the way it was. There will be day after day of appointments, business meetings and obligations. In the evening we will embrace, have dinner and fall dead tired into our beds, or stay up half the night to meet excessive demands.
During those times, I will remember and long for this retreat. I will imagine our shadows and tenderness played out against the bedroom wall and wish for it. I will notice, and wonder how we can slow down enough to find the veiled entrance into this softer, gentler place.