The Black River of Loss


Disappearing into nothing

Sorrow is irrevocably paired with kindness.  Perspective can be pain’s companion.  Fear of what lies ahead may be mirrored by hope.  What’s lost has been perennially entwined with what may be found.

Loss can be as much about transformation and adaptation as it is about dissipation.  One does not ordinarily wish to lose things, but we are powerless against the sea changes wrought when the universe takes away what we have loved.

Yet love’s labours may not be lost so much as they will be reconfigured for us, and we may even learn to find beauty in the world we occupy after such loss.  “At Christmas I no more desire a rose/ Than wish a snow in May’s new-fangled shows, /But like each thing that in season grows.”  (It’s an observation not remotely worthy of Shakespeare’s metaphorical finesse . . . but I confess I still crave roses in December; I have, however, come to accept that roses will no longer be coming my way.)

Mary Oliver’s Blackwater Woods captured both sides of the muddy divide:

Every year
I have ever learned

in my lifetime
leads back to this: the fires
and the black river of loss
whose other side

is salvation,
whose meaning
none of us will ever know.
To live in this world

you must be able
to do three things:
to love what is mortal;
to hold it

against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it go,
to let it go.

About Stephanie

In her spare time, Stephanie works full-time, and then some, as an attorney. She has published articles and delivered talks in arcane fields like forensic evidentiary issues, jury instructions, and expert scientific witness preparation. She also is an adjunct professor at a law school on the banks of the Charles and loves that dirty water, as she will always think of Boston as her home. You are welcome to take a look at her Facebook author page, or follow @SMartinGlennon on Twitter. All content on this blog, unless otherwise attributed, is (c) 2012-2020 by Stephanie M. Glennon and should not be reproduced (in any form other than re-blogging in accordance with Wordpress protocol and the numerous other wee buttons at the bottom of each post) without the express permission of the domain holder.
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4 Responses to The Black River of Loss

  1. rutakintome says:

    Love is the only thing that makes sense and, it is also senseless because it always costs everything that we are at the core of who we are and, there is no guarantee that the investment will have any kind of return…yet we must love. Wonderful post.

  2. Marie Keates says:

    Beautiful. The only defence against the pain of loss is not to love in the first place but that seems a high price to pay.

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