Last week words came easily, like water filling a tidepool at dusk, effortless and inevitable. This week a lot of big things happened, and words got blurry. I started my fall semester. I slowly, achingly gained enough elbow flexibility to wash my face with both hands. I saw my dad go into and come out of brain surgery. I walked a lot and carried a lot, having yet to figure out how much stuff I actually need for a day of school. I ate hospital cafeteria food with my mom, and we listened to one another. I brought ice cream and morning buns to my dad (on different days), watched football (twice, on different days), and saw his determination and lucidity gradually return.
This disease is brutal, and so are the treatments. Individual lives are at once unflaggingly strong and terrifyingly tenuous. Like the confident, floppy-leafed maple trees that shelter tiny hopeful seedlings, we live in infinite beginnings and endings. We are at once anchored to minute, temporal details and awash in the broadest expanse.
The expanse got big this week, like a sky so wide and open that there was nothing to do but float. I gave up on explanations, and efficiency, and doing dishes, and being ahead of whatever game I’d thought was worth playing. I noticed little things. I took pictures. I met my classmates. I cried behind my sunglasses, and I found people who let me cry without them. I cooked, and ate, and laughed, and eventually even did my dishes.
I don’t think this life gets easy, or at least it doesn’t stay that way. But it keeps
getting beautiful. Relentlessly, effortlessly beautiful, in detail and expanse.