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The Gift of Cold + Warmth

What is the point of a friendship, of any relationship?

I walked behind– and sometimes in front of– my dad today on the Cascade, thinking equally about how I should’ve kept one more layer on, and about this. And here’s my answer in this moment:

We want to know just how far we have to care, how much we may need to give, how to ration energy, attention, love.

Energy and attention may be finite, but love is not. I can love anyone, anywhere. Space and time and requital are irrelevant.

We want to say, You are mine and I am yours to make God smaller. To make God fit inside a church, a ring, a person, a shared schedule, a mortgaged house.

But God, which is to say, love and truth and alignment and Now, is also in the emptiness, is also in the Nothing, the boredom, the sadness, the ache. She seems especially so, because that is when we catch our breath as when stepping out into the cold: we pay attention.

If I am not afraid of the ache, of the echoes of my own thoughts inside my skull, the rippling vibrations of emotions in my body, then how do I love? And why should I name it?

A name is just another ring, a set of documents and insurance policies. It is making the infinite linear, pinned like a sphinx moth on styrofoam.

I walked, and the trees were present. The icicles were real. The cold shifted as the wind wended its way through the canyon. That’s love, what was passed back and forth between us. I couldn’t hold any of it in a basket, no matter how big.

It’s the same with people, and yet– we crave the burrow, the mate, the cache of food to carry us through winter. I think, then, that the dearest love is the gentleness of my large, wild self to my small and forgetful one. Maybe relationship is the same with others, too: compassion, presence, grace– and when we have underdressed or the night is very cold, of bodies close together: the gift of warmth.


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