But first, a question: What are you hearing on this the 11th of the Rauhnächte, the “days between the years?” I’d love to hear from you. ~ Hans
RAUHNACHT’S LIED 11: SURRENDER, ONLY SURRENDER
“Is it any less difficult for lovers?
But they keep using each other to hide their own fate.”
(Rilke, Duino Elegies 1)
I listen as we walk through the dripping forest,
Pausing & causing her to stop & listen with me to this song of the trees, to
Notice their straight & true nature, their straight & true beauty, silent & terrifying song of silence.
Is it true? Is it true that the beauty I see and feel is just the beginning of the terror I will not understand?
I think of this, today, as I see her, this troubled heart flying like Benjamin’s angel, backwards into chaos and destruction. So familiar, to me, this backward flying away from myself.
I think of this, today, as I saw her yesterday, flying from the terrible beauty of what’s she’s made, what she’s allowed, fuelled with her love. But not quite enough of herself… I see her, so afraid to fully surrender.
But who among us is ever ready for this sacrifice? Who am I to judge her as she tells me with her words that she has —again!— the taste for intimacies that has been for too long (too long! and how long is that? has she lived through her dead zone or has she stood on its threshold and resisted drinking it in as deeply as is required?)
Yes! Finally! Again! To feel that appetite for life that seemed lost…
But I hear only this: the terror chasing her, as it chased me, masked by these visages of the wonderful. My addictions, all of them hiding my own fate, to walk through the dead zone and its loneliness and stillness and silence until I discover the beauty of my solitude.
I resist & I resent her resistance. It reminds me too much of my own, and the regrets I’ve earned for flying away from my fate.
Because I knew? Because I know. Because I know this running from the terrible beauty of annihilation, sacrifice, complete and abject surrender.
And so it is, with me. To run. To hid.
How often have I know this? Too often. And I resent being reminded, withing that no one else should suffer this way, should make themselves and those they love, to suffer through this.
I stand. I point to the still and silent and righteous song of the forest. Believing that, perhaps, this beauty will show her, will allow her to fall apart, and in falling apart become herself.
One of my daughters has advised me to let others live their lives.
This is why I have children: each one of them, pulling me back to myself, humbling me, reminding me that all of these souls have their own way to stumble.
I am reading Rilke’s Duino Elegies.
Also, the ancient tales of goddesses and men and women and strange creatures who move between the earthly and the divine, most recently, the Selkies.
I am walking the dark forests and the grey beaches and I feel the radiance of my beloved.
I am standing guard for solitude and mystery.
I am watching my friend flailing, again, against herself, imagining herself flying.
I am struggling to be the friend she calls for.
Knowing, perhaps that the terror she funs from is my terror too.
But, older now, less certain of myself, more exhausted from the running, more able to feel this aching in my heart, I am surrendered. The terror no longer terrifying, but a shimmering, a beauty that I cannot describe, only feel and know, and trust.