An Abundance of Potions

Day 18 – Elephant Emotions

Good morning to all 229 readers. I woke up to a loud crash this morning; a car hit the stop sign at our intersection, ran over the raised-bed flower box, and sped away, leaving soil and treated lumber in its wake. Everything is a metaphor right now. Also, please be safe. —Jack

Today’s challenge: Create a memorial space.

At first, it was a stranger, an anonymous someone—who spoke a different language than you, and lived a remote country.

Then it was a specific doctor, a specific nurse—still remote, but with names and faces.

Next it was someone you’d heard of: that one athlete, that one politician, that one musician.

Now it’s someone in your community: a civilian police dispatcher, a 43-year-old local entrepreneur, your district’s state representative, your friend’s university colleague.

Soon … you’re bracing for Soon.

Pull back, for a moment, from thoughts of Soon. Make time today to set up a memorial space in your home. Make time to honor, now, those who’ve given their lives to crisis.

A memorial doesn’t need to be a religious shrine or altar. It doesn’t need to be elaborate. Find a space on a windowsill, counter, or the top of a dresser. You can lay down a handkerchief or towel, and set a few objects on top: small stones and shells collected from the beach, flowers picked on your daily walk, a handwritten poem. Light a candle or some incense and, if you feel inclined, say a few words.

Know, when you do this, that you are not alone. Even elephants mourn their dead. They show what is, from the outside, recognizable as grief. Embrace your elephantness. Give the process your whole attention, and let whatever feelings might come, come. For attention, as you know, is a form of love.

I want to go back
to the beginning.
We all do.
                 I think:
Hurt won’t be there.

But I’m wrong.
Where the water
Bubbles up
At the spring:
Isn’t that a wound?

(Gregory Orr)