i am an acronymous and inedible alphabet soup of mental illnesses and syndromes and disorders. i wish it wasn’t so but what it is, it is, and today i scooped the letters into a pile on the table before me and built a wall around them with my two arms, the way a small child protects the toys he doesn’t want to share, and tried to make a new word from them, a word that was mine and made sense. but no matter the cerebral acrobatics i performed, there were still too many consonants and not enough vowels, which was somewhat disappointing and made my head ache, so instead i made a palindrome.
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i found a feather today and thought to bring it to my daughter who collects the things she finds along her path and presses them in her journal, but then i looked closely at it and wondered how could i lay such an offering before someone i loved so dearly, with its dirt and dark grey brown-ness, weighted to the uneven patchwork of the patio by heavy rains. they say that to find a feather on your path is to receive an answer or confirmation to the question you’ve been seeking and all i can think is if this dirty matted thing is my answer then i worry about the state of my mind.
i want to happen upon vibrant, clean, smooth feathers and tumbled turquoise sea glass, a whole and sturdy pine cone or a blossom, pink and perfectly petalled. i could make a mandala of those pretty trappings and construct an agreeable caption as proof of a magical life lived, which i’m sure is true for someone somewhere in the world today, but the coastal paths i walk deliver only the gifts of lazy dog walkers and chewed gum, and even if i grubbed around in the dirt of my garden for hours i would unearth no more than chips of concrete or a tulip bulb that failed to start or the roots of a flower no longer flourishing because my thumbs are soot, not sage in colour, and the things that grow here do so in spite of me, not because of me. there’s a wrangling of robust vines and hardy shrubs, fighting for space across the graves of lost pets and i can no longer tell which is winning, though i’m not sure it matters much as long as there is green and there is life.
there is green and there is life, and though i may not make a mandala of pretty things, or even the unlovely, the unruly or the feathers of dirt and dark grey brown-ness, i can gift them to my daughter who collects mementos and know she will make space for them beside her pressed petal assemblages, and i can weave poetry from the sticks and stones and broken bones of words they said would never hurt me and we will speak endlessly and openly about them for there is value in the things that fall apart too.