Footing Lost

I dig my toes into the rocky incline. A skiff of gravel skitters down, tumbling endlessly, I cannot hear where it lands. The bottom is far below. Looking down, I can see clouds hovering underneath me. I am high enough that the place where I began isn’t visible, it hides beneath a cover of storm clouds, grey and swirling. Up here, as I pull myself further up, the sun shines upon my shoulders. The sky is a brilliant blue, with white cotton candy clouds. I keep climbing, distancing myself from the stormy ground below. I don’t know what the plateau above looks like, but I long for flat ground and stable footing. I reach up and grasp at a root emerging from the rock.

It snaps.

Suddenly, I am scrambling, rocks and dirt begin to funnel down around me, I slide, scraping my skin, dust grinding into my wounds. I am falling, slipping down this slope, wind howls in my ears and I plummet below the cloud cover, into the cold, torrential rain.


I came home from work today on shaky legs. I had a sense of panic. I was on edge. Everything seemed too bright, too real, too harsh. My eyes couldn’t adjust. I squirmed uncomfortably, I felt restless.

I caved. And I cried.

It’s been months since I’ve broken like this. I can hardly recall the last time I sobbed under the weight of the world. I buckled in the grass, hot tears on my face. I pressed my head to the earth and wept.

I clutched at my firefly necklace and I begged God not to take anything more from me.

I composed myself, wandered inside and climbed into my bed.

I slept, shutting out my mind, retreating into a world of quiet.

I find myself halfway down that steep incline, wedged into the rock, covered in blood and gravel.  Rain drenches me and wind chills me to the bone. I manage to crawl up onto my knees, rocks and grit piercing my wounded skin. My head reels, my vision weaves, distorted. I breathe deeply as the pouring rain pounds my soul. I breathe in this storm until my mind clears, my heart slows, I regain balance. I pull myself up to my feet, digging my hands into the dirt above. Slivers of blue sky are revealed to me, far above this tempest.

I reach up and begin the climb again.

“Grief is a most peculiar thing; we’re so helpless in the face of it. It’s like a window that will simply open of its own accord. The room grows cold, and we can do nothing but shiver. But it opens a little less each time, and a little less; and one day we wonder what has become of it.”

Arthur Golden, Memoirs of a Geisha

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13 Responses to Footing Lost

  1. Kate says:

    So sorry you had a tough day. You describe it with eloquence and poignance, so much that my heart hurts for you. Grief is an unpredictable visitor. Sending prayers your way.

  2. bebeparler says:

    Beautifully written. Keep climbing up. We’re all on our own personal Everests of grief and pain. Look up and wave.

  3. It’s funny how giving life, even for such a short time, gives us such a renewal of life and our senses. A person who has never given life can never really be able to experience it as real as you do. Every scrape, pain, sting, we feel. Our babies opened our eyes to a dark but beautiful world. Just imagine how beautiful the top will be, just from the glimpses we’ve had. Sometimes I think the harder the time we have dealing with this depends on the value of the life you created. You had a beautiful beautiful soul pass through you dear friend. The next shall be even more beautiful and give your soul even more awakening.

  4. Grace says:

    Thank you for commenting on my post on TSW and for linking to your blog. I wish I’d been able to read it in June, to see that I wasn’t the only one, that life goes on, but the pain and grief come and go as they will. It’s been an awfully long summer, filled with the highest of highs and lowest of lows. And now the school year is upon us, with a much less forgiving schedule. But I can tell that we are both strong women and we will climb that steep slope, no matter how many times we lose our fitting.

  5. Pingback: Towards the Glow | Hang Your Hopes From Trees

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