“Now what will I read?”
The book I had just completed was almost too good to put down. But, there I was, at the end…there were not more pages to turn, just a blank page letting me know the story was over. I slowly set it down on the bedside stand and pouted.
“We have a ton of books,” my husband gently reminded me, glancing at me over his eyeglasses. He, of course, was not in the dilemma I was in. He was only halfway through with his book. His story would go on for many more days.
The evening shadows were slipping in the window, curving around our red drapes, whispering of nighttime. I could hear voices from the park behind us. Moms and kids, packing up their evening picnic, ready to head home for baths and bedtime reading.
I glanced over at the bookcase. The one my husband had nodded his head at.
“I’ve read all those books,” I said. The look on his face told me he heard the petulance in my voice.
He did not respond with words. He merely gave me the, ‘and so what?’ stare. Because… we have a basement full of books. No kidding. Full of books.
Words are such an integral part of my life. Words are friends, and companions, and colleagues; they fill my world with possibility in ways too hard to explain, sometimes.
My entire life has been made up of the power of words. I have lived through some amazing conversations. I have written dozens of letters. There are books on shelves in our library at home that may never get read, and there are hidden diary entries that are long lost now.
It’s safe to say I have read entire libraries – why, back in 7th grade, I visited our local library every other week and took home at least 7 or 10 books, to carry me through until the next visit! I was the most prolific reader in my entire grade!
Words are like air to me. They pulse in my heart and make my throat throb. They live in my eyes and fill my soul with sustenance. They grasp at my mouth, filling it with laughter; I can feel it now, the sense of it, bubbling forth like water from a burst balloon thrown against a worn barn door, on a hot summer afternoon!
And yet, today, on this warm day in Colorado… On this day, where my work requires me to compose and share words… This day that exists as no other in the full eons of the universe… I am without words.
On this day, there is nothing but silence in my throat. Silence in my thoughts. Silence in my heart.
Words are not the use, just excuse, today. A line from a poem I wrote oh so many years ago. Because there are days when words are not the use…they do not mean what you want them to mean. They do not convey the anguish or the sadness. They do not shout about the unfairness or the injustice or the absolute anger.
Words are like crippled birds today. Birds that want to chirp but can not even hobble about the concrete, for wont of falling.
There is poetry somewhere that wants to be enough. But, even poetry is not the use, today. Poetry lacks purpose.
My heart breaks. And still, I am but one, a small one at that, in the greater experience of this day. I am a muffled voice, lost in a corner somewhere. In the light, where the world watches, there are others…whose voices must take precedence. There are others who feel the pin-prick of disbelief, even stronger than I. There are others who are without words, though…not silent. Not at all silent.
I fear that words will never be the same.
I tremble a little, because I have never been without words, before.
I sigh a little, because I need to make some noise, some sound, some utterance, however invisible or inconsequential…to replace the words that fail me.
And still, the words I have always relied on to support me in whatever crisis or experience this soul has had to live through, turn away from me.
I have no words, today.
Because the heart needs love, not words.
Because the soul cries for healing, not words.
Because each life left behind has to find its own words.
And my words…they will pulse in my throat, unsaid, a torture for a time. Until they flow outwards, lifting to the universe of all things, silent creatures that gain momentum as they soar.
And so, I will wave good-bye and believe that those words, in their silence, will meet me somewhere else, someday, when I need them most.