I sit, looking out into a snow patched yard, a tangle of woods across the street, and think about impermanence. Have I been holding on to...everything? I grew up with Depression Era parents. We didn't throw things away, we recycled them. We recycled old cars like friends recycle wives. Sending them from parents, to children to cousins to more children. Rarely has a car left our family, even when on its last gasp of combustion. Fidelity to the machine.
When my husband left, I held on, just like I held on throughout our thirty-some year marriage. I held on to the things he left behind, his art work, his grandmother's china, his books, his pictures. I told him that I wouldn't be like my friend Ellen who cooed over her ex's picture saying how much she loved him and then threatening suicide if he didn't come back . He didn't come back. She didn't die.
But now, after four years, I have traveled the globe, I have made new friends, and gotten new hobbies, but I can't settle on anything. I can't commit to anything and know that it is forever. I hold our children loosely, trying not to strangle them, not asking for anything from them except what they are willing to give me. My stranglehold is on our stuff, our pictures and memories from all those years. Our accumulated furniture and animals and pets. My property and farm. The woods. The two tiny houses with their barns. The garages and storage units, slowly being emptied of our lives together.
I look at the woods across the gravel road, snow under the trees, and over the grass which peeks out in greenish filaments. I think of impermanence, of the woods changing and disappearing, of the grass turning brown with the heat of a warming earth. I wonder how hard should I fight to stop the changes, or do I surrender to the impermanence of everything.