And here is the serpent again,
dragging himself out from his nest of darkness,
his cave under the black rocks,
He slides over the pine needles.
He loops around the bunches of rising grass,
looking for the sun.
Well, who doesn’t want the sun after a long winter?
-- the opening lines of “Snake” by Mary Oliver
from House of Light
It has been a long winter. A few of the followers of the previous iteration of Sassistas know the reasons behind the Sassistas “winter-death”. Specifics of this life passage will be published off and on in the sassosphere in the months to come. Long story short, we were both battered by life blows: the deaths of too many beloveds, the loss of paid employment, the wearying worry of blood family matters, the abandonment of lifelong friends and the diagnosis of double depression. We were knocked flat and woke up in a dark wood.
On the day of our last Sassistas post – October 14, 2013 – I (Sharon) wrote in my journal:
When will things get better? When will I feel better? When will I not feel so dark and heavy?
Exactly one year later, this past October 14, I copied into my journal two quotes:
From Gilead by Marilynne Robinson:
I believe there is a dignity in sorrow simply because it is God’s good pleasure that there should be. He is forever raising up those who are brought low.
From You Must Revise Your Life by William Stafford on where his poems come from:
. . . an attitude that assumes and lives in the light of a different perception, one that accepts what comes, is not surprised by chance, but does not give up a tough, sustained gusto about living.
Even though life for the Sassistas has not gotten substantially better -- and in one dimension of loss, decidedly worse -- we are grateful that our sorrow has deepened our dignity and resolve not to give up a tough, sustained gusto about living.
That gusto was certainly fueled last weekend when the Sassistas celebrated their 10th anniversary in Lewes, Delaware. Walking the beach one morning, we mused about why our relationship has lasted. We landed on three things: kindness, spaciousness, and most of all, laughter. Hand on heart, we promise that despite the war we continue to wage, we still laugh all the time and will continue to laugh. You will, too. Count on it.
The closing lines of “Snake” by Mary Oliver begin:
There are so many stories more beautiful than answers.
Look for those stories here. Read them. Tell them. Cherish them. And thank you for faithfully following us much like the snake Mary Oliver followed which inspired these last lines:
thick and musky he is
as cirular as hope.