Monday, June 11, 2012

The Raven and the Mistrusting Bride

This entry is melancholy.  Do not proceed if you are easily swayed by such emotions.  Or if you'll call and ask if I'm all right.  I'm fine!  It's merely been a reflective day.

I awoke early this morning because there was a storm.  Early morning storms aren't unknown here, but they're uncommon enough to make me sit up and notice.  This one rolled in at 4:00am or so, and I listened as long as I could pay attention.  Seldom do I react to a storm in the same way as the one prior.  This time, instead of being annoyed at the lost sleep, I lay with eyes closed.  I listened to the wind flex my windows in their frames.  I listened to the hiss of rain in the field.  I listened to the percussion instrument of rain in the drainpipe.  And all the while, thunder in great rolling barrages.  

When I had fallen asleep and woken again, it was after seven.  Still overcast and dark, I fumbled around.  There in my social network was a post from a recently-married acquaintance.  In it, she said that while trust and love were her greatest characteristics, they were also her flaws.  Her marriage was based on trust and that trust had been disturbed too many times.

Thanks to the sometimes-creepy detail people will post about themselves, I know she went public with her relationship in August, 2010.  I know she became engaged in December, 2010.  And I know she was married in July of 2011.

And in a little over a year from its inception, perhaps, her marriage will be over.  An exercise in loving not wisely, but too well?  She's an adult and made her own decisions.  She was not coerced into her relationship -- even if it later became an emotional roundabout. 

I remember having conversations with her about life and love.  She was the sort of person who made you feel like she was just inches from having a close, personal relationship with you.  She laughed easily, smiled beautifully, and listened like a champion.  It was easy to feel attraction to that sort of a person.

So the compassion and empathy I feel for her is real.  She made a poor choice, it seems.  But it was indeed her choice, she is headstrong enough to resist anything but her particular way.  She did not get swept in to something beyond her -- if anything, she was part and parcel to delivering herself completely. 

In this moment, she has reacted in ways I respect and disdain.  She has seized the initiative and posted about it publicly.  She has appealed for compassion, with a moratorium on details.  This shows good character and an acknowledgment of the fact that people WILL find out and they WILL talk about it.  But she has set the terms in her "public" space and gained the controlling position.  Good for her.

And she has retreated to her family and her god.  Fully 60% of the comments on her announcement contain some variation of the "I will pray for you" phrase, which I consider the emotional equivalent of putting a "don't be mean" bumper sticker on your car.

She has surrendered to the almighty.  Her life and its direction belongs in the hands of another.  Not the crappy husband (at least, not admittedly after whatever he's done) but the testing god who allowed it all to happen. Surely, the omnipotent He has a plan and her life will be wonderful.  Surely.

To be clear, it's not my design to blame the victim.  She is a good person and certainly deserves a better fate in love and marriage than to find herself attached to someone who cheats and lies.  I wish only that she had acted in a more patient fashion from the beginning, giving everything its time to unfold.  Her declaration from this morning references multiple events that combined into an overwhelming picture.  If only.

But we don't work that way.  We crave the now.  We yearn for the peace of the decided fact.  There are pressures from within and without, from those who mean us ill and well.  We must answer all of those pressures, and sometimes the loudest solution is to go now and do.

*** *** ***

When I parked my car at work, I saw a raven sitting near a bush.  Camera out, I took a picture.  In the after-rain heaviness of the air, the bird sat with eyes blinking.  As I approached, he got up and ruffled his feathers, starting to turn away.  So I stood and used my zoom, taking a less-than-satisfactory picture.  But I got to see a raven!  Distinct from a crow, the beak is the key!

Later this afternoon, I saw the raven again.  Not far from the bush, he was now dead.  One foot extended into the air like a grasping hand.  Driving past, the black beak was parted and a pink tongue lolled out.  Black eyes fixed and unblinking in the summer heat. 

Is the West Nile virus back?  Was it in a bad way from some previous food source?  I have no way of knowing.  The carcass will vanish in the weeks and months to come, picked apart and settling into dust and bones. 

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