Sestina for a three-year-old
Happy Adar - the gateway to the gateway to spring!

Dear you, who are feeling sad and afraid --

You know those days when the light seems all wrong, when your skin feels too tight, when anxiety or sorrow clutch at your heels? A sense of heaviness, as though your heart were made of lead. Tears banging at the back of the throat.

Oh, those days are so hard. It's almost funny, how completely your perspective can switch. Suddenly things which seemed manageable, even laughable, when you were feeling okay become more than you can possibly bear.

I could publish this post today, or next week, or a year from now, and someone reading it will be nodding along, thinking: she's talking about me. That's where I am. That's how I am. I don't know whether it will ever get better.

A wise friend told me, earlier this week, that her grandmother used to say that the painful things will always pass. I like that way of seeing the world. Yes: the hurt will pass, and things will get better. Though sometimes it's hard to trust that that's true.

Here's what I want to say, if you're feeling scared, or trapped, or overwhelmed. If, in Mary Oliver's words, "your spirit / carries within it // the thorn / that is heavier than lead -- / if it's all you can do / to keep on trudging --"

I am thinking of you. I'm holding you in my heart and in my prayers. Keep breathing. Be kind to yourself, in whatever ways you can. Indulge your body with a hot bath or a pot of good tea. Indulge your heart; let it feel whatever it needs to feel.

You're going to be okay. You won't always feel this way. We're all adrift on this vast ocean, and when the storms of depression kick up, the waves feel dangerous and endless -- but they will end. The waters will become smooth as glass again.

And when they do, you'll see all the rest of us in our little boats, waving. We'll paddle alongside each other, and lash our crafts together, and share meals and music, and travel together toward our collective destination. You are not alone.