There are days when I feel I am inside my husband’s skin. I touch the keys his fingers clacked swiftly over on his keyboard. Swirling out in a vortex he created as a screensaver are photographs of us and of the parts of the world he selected among all of the wonders he had seen through his camera lenses.
To see these images through his eyes is also to see a comforting image of him as our friends do: “We think of Jim now, in a special place, camera in hand, snapping photos of wonders of nature we can only imagine.”
To my right is a pile of envelopes he would have opened, jettisoning their contents after carefully entering any important data into his computer. (Under my care, the paperwork has blossomed like fungus into enormous, undifferentiated piles.)
His chair would have sighed a somewhat stronger squeak when he settled his larger frame into it to settle down to do paperwork at this desk. He would have been listening to music from his ever-expanding store of it.
I look outside at exactly what he would have seen from this old window–although the view outside would have been far tidier, and the bird-feeders better filled.
For the day, one of my favorite love poems, Love Sonnet XVII:
No te amo como si fueras rosa de sal, topacio
o flecha de claveles que propagan el fuego:
te amo como se aman ciertas cosas oscuras,
secretamente, entre la sombra y el alma.
Te amo como la planta que no florece y lleva
dentro de sí, escondida, la luz de aquellas flores,
y gracias a tu amor vive oscuro en mi cuerpo
el apretado aroma que ascendió de la tierra.
Te amo sin saber cómo, ni cuándo, ni de dónde,
te amo directamente sin problemas ni orgullo:
así te amo porque no sé amar de otra manera,
sino así de este modo en que no soy ni eres,
tan cerca que tu mano sobre mi pecho es mía,
tan cerca que se cierran tus ojos con mi sueño.
I do not love you as though you were the salt-rose, topaz
or the carnation-arrow begot in flames.
I love you as are loved certain dark things,
in secret, between shadow and soul.
I love you as the plant that does not flourish, and carries
hidden within itself the light of its flowers,
and, thanks to your love, there lives darkly in me
the quickening aroma that rose from the soil.
I love you . . . I don’t know how or when or where.
I simply love you, no problem, no pride.
I love you thus because I love no other way,
except this way, in which I am not and you are not,
so close that your hand on my chest is mine,
so close that your eyes close on my dreams.
The Mary Oliver poem I read at Jim’s memorial service seems similarly apt to share again today:
From the complications of loving you
I think there is no end or return.
No answer, no coming out of it.
Which is the only way to love, isn’t it?
This isn’t a playground, this is
earth, our heaven, for a while.
Therefore I have given precedence
to all my sudden, sullen, dark moods
that hold you in the center of my world.
And I say to my body: grow thinner still.
And I say to my fingers, type me a pretty song,
And I say to my heart: rave on.