>> Thursday, January 21, 2010
Walking in the coldest of colds energizes me like nothing else. I love it; the work of it, the bite, the blast, that visible puff of breath -reminding me I'm still alive.
Last night I left the car parked and hoofed it from one stop to the next. Cold on my face, body warm in my coat, I felt it --that things are gonna be alright.
The stories on my heart sit heavy and dense, a weight on my chest, like a wet pack of snow. But these stories aren't only mine to share, so I hold them close for now, turning them over in my hands, looking close and rubbing fingers over textures. I hide them away, letting go but then reaching for them again, tightening my grip, making sense of what I feel.
I love Lake Michigan in the wintertime. There's a different energy to the crashing and breaking, to the winter sky. My last visit home, I stood on the shore alone, letting it blast right through me. It came at me hard, hitting all of my senses. The roar of the wind, the smell of the lake, the bite of the air, the sight of those waves, that sky.
The clouds stretched like cotton, drawn out into wisps so thin, layer over layer, back as far as the horizon, as high above as I could see. And where those clouds met water, there was no flat line, no edge of the earth. Those breaking waves rolled back through the deep, as far as the eye could carry, to a jagged line where waves met clouds stretched thin.
I stood there, alone. Prayers seeping out my skin, not having to say a word because the power on that rocky shore blasted those cries to God right out my pores, leaving me red faced and breathless, wind and water raging in my ears, standing amid the stones.
I walk around with rocks in my pockets. It's been almost a year, but I can't bring myself to empty them.
Collecting them one by one, layered against the winter wind, we walked the shore gathering rocks, tucking them into coat pockets, the weight a heavy reminder of how much we choose to carry with us on our way.
And later, on our drive back home when the top of the luggage box blew off on the highway, flying out behind me and crashing down on the road in front of semis and cars cruising at seventy, our coats stayed put in that box atop the car. They didn't fly out, shredding beneath tires. They were weighed down, held in place by the rocks in our pockets.
Sometimes these burdens we carry can save us. At least that's what I choose to believe -- that we walk around, heaviness hidden in our pockets, and the weight may just slow us down or hold us in one place long enough to think, to feel, or see, or hear, or experience whatever it is that in the long run moves us a little closer to making it out of here alright. That there's a saving grace in having rocks in your pockets, of planting feet on stones on a windy day, the blast of winter air knocking the prayers right out of you; in a red face and a warm heart and a walk so cold it clears your head.
I'm alright with winter. It's invigorating, blasting through my layers and biting my skin.
This post featured on Five Star Friday Edition #88. Thanks for the honor.