I have been thinking all week of bears on shrinking ice floes, how their claws seek purchase in snow, the way they hold onto even the smallest arctic real estate. How home for them must be a kind of desperation and beauty and loss all wrapped up into one. Even if they want to let go, what other place would suit them so well? The answer is none. And so they hold, even as the ground reshapes itself beneath them, even as the ground becomes uneven and unsteady, even as the ground becomes perhaps, in some cases, so hard to navigate.
This is a metaphor of course, even as it is not.
I want to learn to love only the things that will stay, to learn to open my hands and watch all that might leave, all that has already left, all that is in the process of leaving, slip away from me as easily as if I had tossed a small, inconsequential pebble out of a boat and into the bottom of a lake. But perhaps I don’t know how to be soft. Perhaps instead I am only built to be like a bear, fierce in all the ways that I love, fierce in all the ways I try to keep those things I know won’t stay, even when I can see the swiftly shrinking ice beneath my feet, even when I know I must swim or drown. But still, how I had wanted it to hold.
Still, how I had wanted him to stay.