I started my week with great sorrow, hearing news of a heartbreaking tragedy grafted on to an earlier heartbreaking tragedy. Both suffered by the same two friends. It is a circumstance of such enormity and difficulty that I would never feel right writing about it. I have no purchase on that sheer cliff, no business being there. I can only watch from afar and pray that the ropes slung over the cliff’s edge will hold them on their long climb to safety.
I have nothing to offer. No rope. Other people have rope.
I have only my far away watching and praying, my hope through binoculars, seeing the tiny specks of people on the cliff wall climbing one hand up, one foot up, one hand up, one foot up. I keep my eyes on them and not the abyss.
And think of this.
You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about your despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting —
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.